Volunteer fire department voluntarily shuts down

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 1:20 AM EST
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COTTAGEVILLE, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Firefighters run into danger when most of us run away, but on Tuesday one volunteer fire department took a time out to regroup and work to meet state standards.

Merwin Miller lives by the Cottageville Volunteer Fire Department, he is used to hearing constant sound of sirens.

“It used to be every time there was a accident, a fire, a brush fire you could hear the trucks go out of here you don’t hear that anymore you don’t see them leave out of here,” said Miller.

It has been a quiet 24 hours because Chief Morrsion with the Cottageville Volunteer Fire Department said they voluntarily suspended operations so they can work to fix some issues with their equipment.

This is to address equipment-related issues found during a visit and evaluation by the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office.

“I live here in Cottageville all my life and never once has it shut down,” said Cathy Hartley.

Jackson County 911 has arranged for Ripley and Ravenswood to help cover calls.

Rebecca Hoff said it is still unnerving because Ripley is eight miles away and Ravenswood is 12 mile away.

“You can’t change the geography they are further away this is closer my house is right there,” said Hoff.

Jackson County’s Emergency Services Director Walter Smittle said in the past few weeks Ripley and Ravenswood have actually been answering more calls in Cottageville.

Cottageville’s chief said like many volunteer fire departments his 19 members also have regular paid jobs that sometimes prevent them from being on scene.

“For a community that is used to having a fire department so close to us to hear it is closed down for an unknown period of time is a little shocking,” said Hoff.

Chief Morrsion with the Cottageville Fire Department said he hopes to get the department pack up and running soon but there is no specific timetable.

“God forbid anything is going to happen serious because we don’t have a fire department where we have to wait 15 minutes or more for Ripley to get here,” said Hartley.

Community members said this is the first time the department has ever shut down.

“While it seems like there are some problems now we care about them and those members of that fire department are members of our community too,” said Hoff.

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