Land purchased for new firehouse

Published 3:37 pm Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Cartersville Volunteer Fire Department has purchased four acres of land on Route 45 in Cartersville to build a new firehouse.

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The dream for more space for programming, services and fire trucks has been one of the 30-plus volunteers with the department for many years.

The property was purchased from Penny Baber. “They did us a big favor and gave us a good deal on that,” Cpt. Gene Shores said. The property is located at the intersection of Routes 45 and 607, Jennings Road, according to Chief Tom Perry.

The current firehouse is wedged between two businesses with little access and space to move fire trucks and apparatus in and out of the small buildings they’re housed in.

“A long time ago,” Perry said of when the current building was constructed, “and we have three fire

trucks in a two-bay building. We have to move one fire truck to get a certain fire truck out,” Perry said. “And the front part of the firehouse we cannot use with these trucks because they’re too big. They won’t fit.”

The current firehouse is about 2,000 square feet and was built in the early 1950s. The department was founded in 1955.

“You have to move two trucks out to get the third one out. So, it’s impractical anymore,” Perry said.

The existing building doesn’t have its own water or septic system, according to the volunteers.

“If you step out of the building you’re on somebody else’s property,” volunteer firefighter Barron Williams said. “It has no parking, and it’s hard to get trucks in and out of the station.”

“It is literally surrounded by two other businesses with no access,” Perry said.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea and one we’ve dreamed about for a long time,” said Wilson Shores, a charter member and founder of the volunteer fire department.

The design of the new building, according to the department, is 100 feet by 80 feet. Sixty feet by 80 feet will consist of the bay area where the vehicles will be housed, while 40 feet by 80 feet of space will be living quarters.

Williams said the location would better serve the Cartersville area. “We’ll be able to house people … We’ll have a bunk area with a kitchen and whatnot,” he said.

The new building will help in fundraising and recruitment, along with better serving the community, Williams said.

Within the department’s 30-square-mile response area, volunteers must serve and protect areas that include the James River, the railroad, the tank farm and the new Cobbs Creek Reservoir, which could include water rescue.

The state has given the department access to special foam apparatus that will better allow volunteers to respond to an incident at the tank farm or railroad. “We’re going to be able to house that here,” Perry said.

Volunteers hope to have the building finished by April.

“The majority of this building is being put up though money we already have,” Perry said, adding that the department is hoping for additional funds through donations from the community.

The Cumberland County Board of Supervisors voted to grantee a loan up to $150,000 to finish construction for the facility on Tuesday, according to County Administrator Vivian Seay Giles.

“They’re not loaning the money, it’s just they will … guarantee it with the bank,” Giles said.

The cost of the project, including land and expected building costs, is between $300-350,000.

The department plans on performing a lot of the contracting itself work to save money.

For more information, to volunteer or to donate toward the project, email, call (804) 375-9423, write Cartersville Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 38, Cartersville, Va., 23027 or visit the department’s Facebook page.