Hundred Fire Department Will Receive New Truck
The Hundred Volunteer Fire Department will have a new truck on its fleet, thanks to funds provided by the Wetzel County Commission.
President of the Hundred VFD, Johanna Lemasters, appeared before the commission alongside Wetzel County Office of Emergency Management Director Ed Sapp on Feb. 16 to make a request on behalf of the department.
Sapp spoke of the importance of the department, stressing that over the past two and a half months, the department has been paged to emergencies 44 times.
One recent call, regarding a hazardous material in Littleton, resulted in damages to three of the force’s vehicles.
Lemasters stated that the hazardous material incident started around 9:25 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 5. She said a tanker had went over an embankment in Littleton. The tanker was carrying approximately 8,000 gallons of profanel – unrefined propane that is more flammable.
Lemasters said she has always worried about the specific spot where the tanker wrecked, especially considering school busses travel the road. “There is no place to go there, except over the enbankment,” she noted.
The tanker nearly hit homes when it landed; furthermore, the driver had to be rescued from the vehicle.
“That began the four-day long event,” Lematers expained. “It taxed the volunteers that we have. We do have mutual aid, but we have a very small volunteer group.”
Besides the wear and tear on the volunteers, Lemasters noted that the situation wore on the department’s vehicles. On the second day of the response, the department’s 1992 Chevy minipumper’s wiring caught fire. On the third day of the response, the department’s main pumper quit running.
“It was our baby; it was purchased used from a department in Pennsylvania a couple of years ago. It had to be left on the scene in Littleton for three days until someone could come and repair it.”
On the fourth day of the response, the department’s pickup quit running.
“We don’t have any four-wheel-drive vehicles now,” Lemasters noted. “With the terrain we live on, we really need a four-wheel-drive vehicle.” Lemasters explained such a vehicle can also be used to transport firemen and additional equipment into calls.
“Last weekend we had a fire, and unfortunately, a person did not make it out of the fire,” Lemasters noted.”
“The road was right in Hundred, but the fire department had a rough time getting equipment there. To get portable pumps and manpower to some locations, a four-wheel-drive is needed,” she added.
“As you gentleman know, we are hard strapped,” Lemasters explained to the commission. “The pickup truck ran a lot, to refill generators, haul materials back and forth, and haul portable pumps during floods.”
Lemasters informed the commission that the department’s pumper truck has since been repaired; also, the department is anticipating a donation of a used Dodge Durango from the county’s sheriff’s department. The Durango has a brush guard, as well as drawers, which Lemasters noted would be good for EMS and first responders. She stated that the Durango would be beneficial for the department until they can acquire a truck.
However, “there are things we have to haul that will not fit in a Durango,” she explained.
As for the department’s mini-pumper, Lemasters noted that someone would have to look at the wiring. “It had fire extinguisher sprayed on it to put the fire out, so who knows what kind of damage that did,” she explained.
The commission approved the purchase of a 2016 Dodge 3/4 ton pickup truck for the fire department. The truck will be purchased for approximately $27,000 on a state bid from Stephens Auto and the funds will be taken from the commission’s contingency fund.