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Female firefighters arrive at ‘the ideal time’

Marlinton town officials and the local and assistning fire departments got some unexpected help November 10 from 18 award winning firefighters from the women’s prison at Alderson.

The vans carrying transporting those firefighters arrived in Marlinton at around noon on that Sunday.

“They got here at the ideal time,” Marlinton Mayor Joe Smith said. “They were very professional, and they went right to work. The men had been fighting the fire for several hours and needed a break. The Alderson group took over allowing the other firefighters to get something to eat and to just take a break.”

The women assist the Alderson Volunteer Fire Department when requested for mutual aid, but the November 10 fire was the first time the women had fought fire outside of Monroe County.

The group also competes in the annual Firemen’s Rodeo.

According to Melissa Evans of FPC Alderson, the Safety Department provides oversight of the Fire Department which has approximately 40 female inmates assigned to the fire program each year.   These inmates participate in classroom instruction, live burns, and must pass two state fire exams to earn their Fire Fighter Certification.

The Marlinton Fire Department appreciated the assistance provided by the women.

“They stood right there, and worked right with us,” Marlinton Fire Chief Kenny Hall said.

Federal Prison Camp at Alderson is a minimum-security institution. It was the first institution built to house female offenders and remains the largest female minimum-security facility in the federal prison system.

Jaynell Graham may be contacted at jsgraham@

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