The Deerwalk VFD was started by a group of dedicated citizens living in the unincorporated communities of Deerwalk and Dallison in eastern Wood County, WV. Other from around the area also attended the organizational meetings. The organizational meetings were held prior to the actual operational start up of the department in the local community building. The community building originally was the Hackett Country Store which had to be moved for the new intersection of State Rt. 31and US Rt. 50 a four lane highway which was built between Parkersburg and Clarksburg, WV. It used to be located beside the Hackett home and across the road from the Elmer and Norma Marshall residence. As a result of those meetings the Deerwalk VFD was incorporated on Oct. 4, 1976. James Hedrick provided a location near his home in Dallison for a two stall garage to be built that would house the department’s only two trucks, until a permanent location and fire station could be built. The members with help of the community built the two stall fire station over the course of a couple of weekends. All materials and labor were donated by area residents and a few local stores and businesses. That old wood frame garage still stands and is in use by the Hedrick family today. The first fire truck for the department was purchased from Blennerhassett Fire Department in Wood County for $1500. It was a 1946 Dodge with a 500 gallon per minute pump and carried 300 gallons of water. The first water tanker was a post World War II era Army International six wheel drive truck. The members built a 1600 gallon steel water tank and placed it in the rear bed of the truck with one large 8” valve to dump water and a water fill hatch in the top to fill the tank. The Deerwalk V FD used those trucks for the first two years out of the two car garage in Dallison. William Archer was the first fire Chief; he was a paid firefighter on the nearby City of Parkersburg Fire Department. He offered and was elected to be the first Chief and initially train the other members in fire fighting tactics and safety.
The first fire gear were some old long heavy rubber fire coats and some rubber knee high rubber boots, and helmets donated from other area departments just to get us going. The Deerwalk VFD fire protection district was formed from areas that were not currently being properly served by the adjoining fire departments many miles away. The early fire calls were dispatched by the Wood Counties Sheriff office over a pager system that worked off of the radio frequency for the entire county. A specific set of frequencies were assigned to the Deerwalk VFD, so we would know when a call was for our department. The tones would “open” radios, so we could here the location and type of fire or emergency call.
As soon as the first fire station was built the task of finding property for a permanent site was started. Local elected officials and others were instrumental in obtaining a permanent lease for a portion of WV Department of Highways R/W near the intersection of WV State Rt. 31 and US Rt. 50, now Robert C. Byrd Highway. Local surveyors, Paul and Arden Marshall donated their time preparing drawings for the legal agreement and plans, for grading the property to make it suitable for building a three bay fire station. One of the charter members at the time was a member of the local National Guard Engineers Battalion and was able to get the Guard to provide a bulldozer and other equipment to grade the site. The new concrete block station was built in the summer of1978 and the department moved to their new location later that year. The membership in those years floated around 20 members some would quit and others would join. The 1946 Dodge pumper was replaced by 1979 American LaFrance Commercial Pumper purchased with an Assistance to Communities Block Grant. The cost was $44,500. We used both pumpers for a couple of years until the 1946 Dodge was sold to a local businessman for use in parades. The old tanker was used until 1975 when a new Chevrolet chassis was purchased and the old water tank switched over to the new chassis. Over the years we have added an additional two bays, meeting rooms, exercise area, and a day area to our station. After William Archer retired as Chief, Jim Hedrick was elected Chief, he had served as an Assistant Chief prior. When he retired Victor Patterson was promoted from Assistant Chief to Chief and served until his retirement in 1997. In 1997 Paul K. “Kim” Marshall was elected Chief and is still serving that capacity today.
Currently the Deerwalk VFD has 25 members, all with at least Firefighter 1, Haz Mat Operations level, and first aid level training. We have 2 paramedics and 7 certified EMT’s. We are only, at the time of licensing, 1 of 3 Advance Life Support First Responder volunteer fire departments in the State of West Virginia. We cover 48 Square miles of rural eastern Wood County, WV operating out of one station, with a 1996 Pierce Commercial pumper, a 2010 Pierce Sabre Rescue pumper, a 1991 2075 Gallon tanker, a 2005 Chevy 3/4ton all wheel drive medical/rescue truck, and a 2008 Ford F550 all wheel drive brush truck. For the first 20 years we handled on average around a hundred calls per year. Beginning in 1996 our call volume starting increasing to around 130 calls per over the last 4-5 years. Last year our call volume increased to 176 calls. A large part of the increase are medical calls and also ATV related rural rescue calls, since 80% of our area is open woodlands and country gravel roads, we have a tremendous amount of ATV usage. We have over 50 miles of rural trails and off road type trails. Also have 3.5 miles or the rails to trails hiking and biking trail with limited access and no access for vehicles. In our primary fire protection district we provide coverage for the following critical infrastructure:
– Columbia Gas Transmission High Pressure (250 PSI operational, 400 PSI max) Gas line
– 765 KVA high voltage electric transmission line to the Willow Island Power Station
– Verizon local landline switch in Dallison, WV
– 6 miles of US Route 50-4 lane highway traffic count 8400 vehicles/day (WVDOT)
By written agreement we also provide mutual aid assistance to neighboring fire departments for the following critical infrastructure:
– 26 miles of I-77 22,000 vehicles/day average traffic count per WVDOT
– 18 miles of US Route 50 9,000 vehicles/day average traffic count per WVDOT
– US Government Public Debt Buildings
– Wood County Airport
– 20 miles of the Ohio River including Belleville and Willow Island Locks and Dam
– 2 Major Hospitals
The Deerwalk VFD is proud to continue its high level of training and provide professional service to our residents for many years to come.
We’re located at:
- Phone:(304) 679-3925