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Starting Monday, Middleway Volunteer Fire Co. to take calls

August 29, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. -- A new fire department to serve the Middleway area in Jefferson County is ready to go and is expected to start taking calls Monday, officials said Thursday.

Work started to establish the Middleway Volunteer Fire Company following concerns about long response times to fires in Middleway, which is off W.Va. 51 near the western edge of the county.

Firefighters have taken up to 30 minutes to get to fires in the Middleway area, although the average is about 14 minutes, which still is long, fire officials have said.

The chief of the department is Mike Mood, who has served as a captain and a lieutenant for the Blue Ridge Mountain Fire Company and as a police officer in Washington, D.C.

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Mood briefed the Jefferson County Commission Thursday on the department's start and to iron out details on funding for the department.

Each year, the commission distributes funding to the county's volunteer fire departments and on Thursday, it was agreed that about $54,000 would go to the Middleway department this year, fire and county officials said.

Mood said the department has about 12 volunteer members and was able to purchase a fire engine from the Shepherdstown (W.Va.) Fire Department. Another engine was obtained from the county, Mood said.

The engines are being kept in a two-bay storage building on the property of one of the department's members, Mood said.

The building is along Leetown Pike about a mile south of Middleway.

Mood said the department is looking for a larger building in the Middleway area on which to construct a larger building.

The new department is the seventh fire company in the county, and the departments have worked out agreements on what will be Middleway's response area, said Ed Smith, chief of the Independent Fire Company.

Mood said members of the department had to get the same training as paid firefighters.

"The training commitments are huge," Mood said.

The state fire marshal's office gives approval of a new company after regulations are complied with, Smith said.

A ribbon-cutting at the new fire station is scheduled for Monday at 9:30 a.m., Mood said.

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