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Young fire station still finding its way

February 06, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

In 1998, the need for quicker fire and emergency medical response to homes and businesses along the Md. 67 corridor in southern Washington County resulted in a new fire station.

Now, Assistant Chief Curt Fales of Station 8 in Rohrersville said he believes the problem has been eased, but he emphasized it hasn't been easy.

"We still don't have anyone during the daylight hours because everybody has jobs," Fales said. "But there are about 10 of us who live three to five minutes from the station and we respond when we are available."

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The station answered 150 calls in 2003. Fales said now that Station 8 is dispatched along with several other companies, he expects that number will rise to at least 200 to 250 calls this year.

"We run with Brunswick and Middletown in Frederick County" and with Potomac Valley in Dargan, a Jefferson County, W.Va., company and soon, with Sharpsburg, Fales said.

Station 8 has responded to fire calls with its parent, the Boonsboro Fire Co., since it opened, and on first-responder calls in Boonsboro's area when it is closer to the patient.

"We will be medic-dispatched all of this year," Fales said. That was the case for only part of 2003.

Station 8 has a tanker, an engine and a brush truck plus a utility vehicle that goes on medic assist calls.

"You tend to rely on people who don't work, but most do, so we can't schedule anyone for daytime. You can't depend on just when people are off."

When it was dedicated 51/2 years ago, Station 8 had become a reality through a combination of hard work, determination and need. It was the first new fire company in Washington County since the 1970s.

The $515,000, three-bay fire station is on 7.7 acres six miles south of Boonsboro on the east side of Md. 67. The land was donated by the late Robert Millard.

The building has two bunk rooms, with four bunks each for male and female firefighters. It has a kitchen, meeting room, office and lounge.

Half of the gaming money that clubs and taverns turn over each year to the gaming commission goes to the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association for distribution to the 27 companies and to support the association, said Dan DiVito, director of the county's gaming commission.

Since Station 8 is considered a substation, it doesn't get a share of that money, Fales said. While he understands the distinction, he said, Station 8 still has to maintain a building and equipment just as any other station.

Washington County contributes $40,000 annually to each fire and rescue station. Station 8 gets $20,000 because it is a substation, but the county pays 75 percent of the utility bills for Station 8 as well as insurance and workers' compensation for the volunteers, said Joe Kroboth, director of Washington County Emergency Services.

"Here, we depend on groups and individuals to help us maintain the station," Fales said.

For more information on Station 8, how to volunteer or how to contribute, call 301-432-8120.

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