Paw Paw is building a new fire hall
The Paw Paw Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Service is planning to build a new fire hall. The 80 foot by 80 foot fire hall will be constructed on their current lot on Moser Avenue, which is 1.41 acres.
The new fire hall will be a one-floor steel building with a metal roof and seven bays, said Paw Paw Fire and Rescue safety officer Jason Hiett. It will have a kitchen and a dining hall that can seat 175 people.
The fire hall will also have male and female bunkrooms and showers, a living area, a radio room, laundry room and storage. It will also offer an in-house system where all the lights and bells will come on to alert them if a call comes in, he said.
The estimated cost of the building is $663,000, which is being loaned in full to the fire department by the Bank of Romney, said Hiett.
The Paw Paw Volunteer Fire Department would like to have the outer structure of the building up by October 1 so they can continue the inside work over the winter, he said. They hope to complete the building construction by January or February, 2008.
A required public hearing was held on Monday, July 16, but no one attended. Hiett said that they have let the community know about their plans to build a new fire hall over time and that people were very supportive of the project.
Bays, building issues
The old fire hall bays aren't high enough for modern fire trucks, said Paw Paw Mayor Ken Crites, who is a former Paw Paw fire chief and EMT firefighter. They have to let out the air out of the fire truck tires to pull the vehicles into the building.
The right side of the old fire hall has caved in numerous times because of a load-bearing issue since the second floor was never finished, said Hiett. The walls are cracked and the roof also leaks, he said.
The rules and regulations for fire departments are constantly changing, said Crites. They have great, modern equipment and they don't want to fall behind in meeting requirements or needs.
A growing population
Paw Paw hopes to one day have a paid fire and rescue staff at this building, said Julie Kidwell, town recorder and former mayor. The area population is growing, she said.
Right now they don't have a paramedic, said Crites. They call one in from Winchester, Berkeley Springs or Cumberland, if needed. A couple of people are potentially training to be paramedics, said Crites.
Paw Paw has several huge subdivisions to cover, such as Pin Oak, Avalon and Eagle Mountain, and also responds to calls in the tri-state area through mutual aid. Half or more of their calls are from out-lying areas and they get ambulance calls all the way to Fisher's Bridge.
"County lines mean nothing to us. People and a home are more important," said Crites of their mutual aid response.
All the county and neighboring county fire departments work together a lot through mutual aid, said Kidwell. All of their fire and rescue volunteers work hard and are very well trained, said Kidwell.
Hiett is also working with Crites and the state fire marshal to help rid Paw Paw of blighted properties.