Ellamore VFD marks 40 years

ELLAMORE — The Ellamore Volunteer Fire Department is celebrating 40 years of service to the community this year, and current and past members will celebrate with an open house Sunday.

When the department was first established in 1977, its original location was an old school bus shed along Route 151, said Former Chief Mike Higham.

“The department later received a dollar-a-year lease on a 60-year-old building that was part of an abandoned sawmill located on a back road on the banks of the Middle Fork River,” Higham said.

That location was not ideal because it was not centrally located and was a tight fit for the trucks, he said, but officials with the department were pleased to upgrade from their former location.

During the 1980s and 1990s, several floods caused damage to the station along the river — totaling more than $30,000 — which prompted the department to find a new location.

“It was realized at that time that response times over a large portion of Ellamore’s fire district would improve significantly if the department was relocated to a site on the main road – more central to the population being served,” Higham said.

In 2010, the department moved to a new station on Route 151, and Higham said this move has helped improve the EVFD’s response time by 10 minutes for 90 percent of the department’s service area.

“Besides making Ellamore and the surrounding area a safer place to live, residents have benefited, to a great degree, from decreased home insurance rates due to improved (Insurance Service Office) ratings,” he said

“Residents of the adjoining Buckhannon and Washington fire districts, to which Ellamore VFD provides automatic mutual aid, have also benefited from the reduction in the response time,” Higham added. “In addition, as many as 30 additional homeowners have become eligible for a significant reduction in their fire insurance due to their proximity to the new station.”

In 40 years, EVFD has grown from a 1950s vintage pumper — housed in a school bus shed — to a modern fire station which now houses a “state-of-the-art” fire apparatus.

From 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, the fire department will host a 40th anniversary open house at the fire station. During the celebration, past and current members of the fire department will be recognized for their role in the growing legacy of the department.

Refreshments will be available for all first-responders, public officials and community members who attend the social function.

Higham said the charter members of the EVFD were Abe Gower; Lew Goff; Doug Davis; Lester Booth, the second fire chief; and Brownie Watts, the first fire chief.

He added Bob Grandusky, Sharon Grandusky, Kenna Robertson, Linda Gower, Francis and Patty Light, Red Gower, Ray Queen, Loren Davis, Keith Norman, John Quick and Virgil and Mack Koon all played important roles.