UPDATE Oct 3 7:30 p.m. West Virginia State Fire Marshals say that from all indications, the fire that destroyed the Sissonville Volunteer Fire Department appears to be accidental. There are no signs of arson. The investigation will continue to determine the specific accidental cause. UPDATE 4:15 p.m. by Matthew Earle Representatives from the State Fire Marshals office were on the scene today to continue investigating the fire that burnt down the Sissonville Volunteer Fire Department. Sissonville Firefighters say the fire doesn't appear to be suspicious. The firefighters have set up a temporary fire station at Charleston Auto Towing in Sissonville. Chris Reed, owner, is helping to renovate basement downstairs and trucks will be run from upstairs.
UPDATE 6 p.m. by Sarah Lieu The Sissonville Volunteer Fire Department went up in flames this morning as numerous fire departments from around Kanawha County responded to the call. Robin Slater of Sissonville was driving by when she saw the smoke. "All I heard was a bunch of booms and I saw some black smoke. And as I got down there to Buddy's, I saw that it was the fire department," Robin Slater of Sissonville said. Witnesses say in minutes flames quickly engulfed the Sissonville Volunteer Fire Department. Wanda Taylor was working at 'Buddy's' across the street from the fire station when it happened. "I heard a big boom, but what that was the glass...the glass blowing out. Then after that, there was more, but I think they said that was oxygen tanks," Taylor said. Sissonville's fire chief was on his way to another fire investigation at the time. He describes how he felt when he got the call. "Like you've been hit in the gut.". It was practically falling down when I got here," fire chief Thomas Johnson said. No one was in the building at the time, but the fire destroyed two fire trucks, all their gear, an ATV and a rescue vehicle. "You have a car wreck...that was the truck that comes out. And that has the rescue tools. The jaws-of-life...everything on it," State Fire Marshal Sterling Lewis said. The fire department is reduced to rubble, but its fire chief says they will rise again. "We're not out of business. We're temporarily put in a hole for a little bit, but we'll make it," Johnson said. There's no word on how the fire started, but the state Fire Marshall's Office has been called in to investigate. Fire departments from all across the county descended upon the burning fire station -- but the building had already collapsed. So they rallied around their fellow firefighters to help put out the flames. The State Fire Marshal says he's already received calls from fire departments in other parts of the state asking how they can help. Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper says the county will do all it can to make sure residents are protected. "The county commission about a year and a half ago, for the first time ever, purchased a spare truck just for this type of situation. I've ordered it to be brought out here and to be tendered to the Sissonville Fire Department until they release it," Carper said. A commercial business just down the road from the burned out fire station has offered the fire department an alternate space until they can get back on their feet. The Sissonville Volunteer Fire Department also has all the equipment and tools it needs to respond to emergencies while it works to rebuild.
UPDATE 10:30 a.m. The Sissonville Volunteer Fire Department building was reduced to rubble after a morning fire, according to a report from the scene. Kanawha County officials are working to get a spare fire truck to Sissonville for use as an emergency responder now that the department has been destroyed, Commissioner Kent Carper said. The county also is working to get a portable contractor building to the scene, which will provide a place from which the department can operate. Crews also will work to establish phone service to the temporary building once it is in place, Carper said.
The Sissonville Volunteer Fire Department is on fire, according to Metro 911 dispatchers and a report from the scene. A dispatcher said the fire department building is fully involved and Sissonville Drive near the station is closed. Three fire departments are on the scene, the dispatcher said. We have a crew on the way to the scene and will bring you more information when it becomes available.