For the past 20 years, the Hampton Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Department has serviced the entire Valley Forge community. It wants to continue doing so, but the deteriorating fire station is becoming too much of a burden.
Last week when volunteer firefighters came to the station to respond to a call, they found the ceiling had fallen onto part of a truck.
The station is in the basement of a deteriorating building on Highway 19 in Elizabethton. The family that owns the building let the fire department move in rent free after the firefighters saved the building from a destructive fire.
But the building has presented problem after problem for assistant chief Chris Isaacs and his team.
First of all, there are only three functioning lights and one outlet. Isaacs says they need new electrical service from the exterior all the way inside to meet codes. there is no running water after the water line broke underneath the concrete floor somewhere.
There is only one source of heat that heats the area where the trucks are so the water inside won’t freeze in the winter. But the biggest problem comes with the garage doors.
The doors have injured two firefighters in the past. When the firemen come in for a fire, they have to physically come through the door with a key, unlock the door, take a broom to raise the door up so it will clear the top of the firetruck, pull the firetruck out, and then perform the task again to lock the doors back down.
It’s not for a lack of trying, the volunteers have put in plenty of time, money and effort into renovating the building. While they’re thankful for the space, they say it’s time for a change in location.
In Tennessee, any homes further than five miles from a fire station do not have fire protection, so Isaacs says they are looking to stay on the highway. There is property across the street they are interested in purchasing, but it’s expensive – he says they will have to go in debt to buy it.
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