New fire hall has open house

HEDGESVILLE – Folks are gearing up for Saturday’s official grand opening ceremony of the new Hedgesville Volunteer Fire Station at 4217 Hedgesville Road.

The event is set for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and it will be open to the public. County and state officials, including U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., are expected to attend.

Providing live music will be the Back Creek Valley Boys, and light refreshments will be available.

The dedication ceremony will take place between 11:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Around noon, a medevac helicopter will land at the station in order to demonstrate to the community just how the emergency chopper process works.

“This is a big deal, it’s a celebration for us,” said fire department member T.R. Keller. “We’ve gone to a new, modern fire station that’s better equipped, and we have more room than we had before.”

The former facility, built in 1956, could actually fit inside the new 21,600-square-foot station.

Though initial talks of the project began in the 1980s, active steps toward completion didn’t begin until a few years ago. The bulk of the construction took place in 2008 and 2009.

The $3 million project was funded primarily by a loan taken out by the Berkeley County Fire Board.

“It’s exciting because it’s our new home, and it will benefit the community,” Keller said. “Once we have the upstairs done, it’s going to be used as a shelter in case of a disaster like a blizzard or a power outage. We have a backup generator so we’ll have power when no one else does.”