Delbarton Fire Dept. receives grant worth near $100,000

Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 3:18 AM EST
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DELBARTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - When firefighters go into a home that is on fire, it is hard to see much past a few feet. For volunteer-run departments such as the one in Delbarton, Chief Robert Hunt says their equipment is getting to be outdated.

“With the air-packs its about safety you have guys coming out here that are volunteer, no pay for this, and their job is just as dangerous as a guy getting paid to do it,” Chief Hunt said.

Safety is the main concern for Chief Hunt. He and his crew are celebrating after a year-long push to receive one of the biggest grants they have ever gotten. FEMA awarded the department almost $100,000 dollars which will go towards potentially life-saving air-packs for firefighters.

“All of our equipment is tested yearly but the newer stuff I feel more confident that when we go into a situation that we are safe,” Hunt said.

Small volunteer departments such as Delbarton are challenged to maintain their equipment on a tight budget. Funds like this will go a long way.

“We would budget maybe one per year that was all we could afford on that 40,000 dollar budget to pay for fuel, break down costs and insurance costs,” Hunt said.

Hunt commends the efforts of his crew for their hard work to get this grant but also for the board of directors who help navigate short budget.

Some counties including Mingo County do not have fire levies which are paid by residents and businesses and open up more county funds to volunteer departments.

Firefighter Jordon Mounts faces the dangers of fighting fires. He tried on the new gear and said he feels safer.

“Ultimately in the fire service we make due with what we have but ultimately having the new equipment it is a piece of mind definitely,” Mounts said.

The upgrades include the ability to use another firefighter’s oxygen if there is an issue, an alarm sounds if a firefighters is still for too long and a rechargeable system.

The department got 12 airpack units, along with other items it additional grants like a new creek pump that will allow firefighters to get to fires quicker where hydrants aren’t available.

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