Mayor Scott Edwards addresses the crowd attending the opening of the new Hurricane Fire Station.
The new Hurricane Fire Station on Midland Trail is impressive — four times larger than the station on Main Street which was built in 1975. The new station promises to meet the needs of the community for many, many years.
The ribbon cutting ceremony for the new station on Friday, March 31st, was much more than the unveiling of the new 20,000 square foot facility. The ceremony unveiled a history known only to those who have served the community as members of the Hurricane Volunteer Fire Department over many years.
After recognizing those who helped make the new station possible, Mayor Scott Edwards reviewed the history of the Hurricane Volunteer Fire Department beginning with its establishment in 1908 at a location on Creamery Street. The HVFD moved to 2801 Virginia Avenue in 1957 and then to Main Street in 1975. The Main Street station was literally built by members of the fire department.
Mac McMillion, one of those who helped build the station, related his memories. McMillion moved from Milton to Hurricane and lived in an apartment on Putnam Avenue across the railroad tracks from site of the station.
“Every night, we got together. I learned to thread pipe; I learned to run wire. We did everything. We put sheet metal on the building. They did not have self tapping screws back then. Everybody had a drill with a power cord. There were no battery-operated things back then. You had to drill a hole and run a screw through it,” McMillion stated. The know-how upon which McMillion relied was supplied by members who were steelworkers.
The dedication to serving the community was not limited to fighting fires. “We decided we needed an EMT group,” McMillion said. “In 1975, we started an EMT class. We needed an ambulance. Putnam County did not have any stationed in Hurricane. We bought an old Chevy van and turned it into an ambulance. We worked shifts. I worked Tuesday nights. Manny, many ambulance calls were run out of that station.”
Mayor Edwards reported that some members of the department co-signed the loan for the ambulance vehicle. “They put their homes on the line,” Edwards said.
Edwards served as a member of the HVFD while in his teens and recalls that many of his age spent more time together at the fire station with each other than with their families. Edwards recognized HVFD Ladies Auxiliary head Karen Stover for her service. Edwards said that there was always a meal waiting when he and others returned from fighting a fire, no matter the hour.
Representatives of both United States Senators Manchin and Capito read messages of support for first responders and congratulated the city for completion of the project. The facility can be utilized as a training for all first responders in this part of the state.
State Senator Eric Tarr, City Manager and County Commissioner Andy Skidmore, and Fire Chief Mike Hoffman also addressed the audience.
Members of the fire department conducted tours of the new station following the ribbon cutting.
An open house of the facility for the public will be held Saturday, April 22.