2006-03-23 / Front Page

Leah gives Class A pumper to Martin's Crossroads VFD

It is Christmas time again at Martin's Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department.

The department recently received a 1973 certified Class A pumper as a gift from the Leah VFD in Columbia County. The truck is fully equipped and holds 1,000 gallons of water.

The truck was given to Martin's Crossroads as the result of a move to change Columbia County's fire protection system from volunteer services to full-time, paid departments.

"In addition to the pumper and other equipment such as hoses, nozzles, and SCBAs (SelfContained Breathing Apparatus), we also received several fullytrained volunteer firefighters from the Leah VFD, with 40 years of experience between them," said Mike Reese, president of Martin's Crossroads VFD. "Columbia County's loss is definitely Martin's Crossroads' gain.

"When we were notified that Leah was going to donate the pumper to our fire department, I was very surprised and pleased - the whole department was," he continued. "The generosity of the Leah VFD is much appreciated."

According to Reese, the Class A pumper will be housed at the Martin's Crossroads VFD's Station #2 which is located at the intersection of the McCormick Highway and Highway 220. "This truck and the additional manpower will put us well on the way to lowering the ISO (Insurance Service Office) rating for our entire fire district. At the present time, we have a split rating of 7/9."

The area on the south side of Chamberlain's Ferry Road has an ISO rating of 7; whereas, the area on the north side of the road has a rating of 9. Fire protection is considered to be better in areas with lower ISO ratings. When the ISO rating drops, so do the insurance premiums for homeowners.

Concerning Martin's Crossroads' goal of lowering the ISO rating at Station #2 from a 9 to a 7, Reese pointed out that an adequate water supply is already in place. "Our second priority was to acquire a certified pumper. Now, thanks to the Leah VFD, we have one of these."

At some point in the near future, the department is also planning to lower the ISO rating in the area surrounding Station #1 from a 7 to a 6, with the help of $104,298 from the Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. The money will be used for equipment, training, and so forth.

When calculating a department's fire suppression rating, the ISO looks at three main areas. They are:

Fire alarms - Ten percent of a community's overall score is based on how well the fire department receives and dispatches fire alarms.

The fire department - This accounts for 50 percent of the overall score. In connection with this category, the ISO reviews the distribution of fire companies throughout the area and checks to see if the fire department tests its pumps regularly and inventories each engine company's nozzles, hoses, breathing apparatus, and other equipment.

The water supply - This part of the survey focuses on whether the community has sufficient water supply for fire suppression beyond daily maximum consumption.

Martin's Crossroads plans to have the ISO re-evaluate Station #2 within 12 to 24 months, Reese said.

Along with Reese, the other officers and members of the fire department are Marc Danner, chief; James Broome, assistant chief; Jim Allen, secretary; Roby Seymour, treasurer; Bob O'Neill and Wally Chadwick, training officers.

Bobby Lee Ashmore; Leyland Carruth; Angela Chadwick; Chris Dunsmore; Colleen LeRoy; Scott Partridge; Colbi Reed; Brandon Reed; Jeff Waller; Jonathan Doss; Charles Hogan; Scott Newsome; Daniel Harrell; William Noegel; Kenneth Dent; Adam Aycock; and Blanchard Norman.

Established in 1971, Martin's Crossroads VFD operates out of two unmanned stations:

(1) The first fire house was originally the voting booth for Precinct 4. In fact, the roof of the structure had to be raised three feet to accommodate the fire truck. This was all accomplished with volunteer labor.

Then, in 1990, the new station, which would become Station #1, was built on Double Branches Road using volunteer labor.

(2) Station #2 was built in 1997 by volunteers. This was a collaborative effort between Martin's Crossroads and members of the Midway VFD.

The past presidents of Martin's Crossroads are Clifford Williams and Bobby Lee Ashmore. The first chief was Harold Holloway, who was followed by Dewayne Reese and Mike Reese.

The department's annual operating budget is around $40,000. Pictured is the 1973 certified Class A pumper which was a gift to the Martin's Crossroads VFD from the Leah VFD in Columbia County. The truck is fully equipped and holds 1,000 gallons of water.

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