Open letter to:
Bartow, Frank and Durbin Fire and Rescue Squad
PO Box 267
Durbin, WV 26264
Dear Fire Chief and
In my opinion, the Fire Chief and Officers of the Bartow, Frank, Durbin Fire and Rescue (BFD) Squad, Inc., owe, particularly the people of Northern Pocahontas County and the Pocahontas County Commissioners, an explanation of why they purchased, with public funds, the former Sheets Garage containing three acres in Green Bank, with no public involvement, when they have an existing building and land to expand, within a mile. The purchase, by deed dated February 17, 2017, for $190,000.00, was an exorbitant price for a 30+ year old building that was never designed for a Fire and Rescue facility.
I learned at a January 19, 2017, meeting held at the Green Bank Observatory sponsored by the BFD, the WV Fire Marshal advised Cass Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company they needed prior approval of their building to include a fire retardant wall to limit burn time, before construction of their new building could begin at the Rt. 92/66 Intersection. It was my understanding the Fire Marshal advised that Cass is not allowed to use that building to house fire and rescue equipment.
After seven months of purchase by BDF of the Green Bank site, the activity has been cutting up wrecked vehicles for practice, leaving them, glass and other debris on the property as an eye sore. Also, a publicly owned property is not subject to property tax. Therefore, Pocahontas County tax base will suffer. I believe the apparent “impulse” purchase by the BFD, is not in the best interest of the citizens of Pocahontas County.
This inquiry is in no way intended to criticize the great volunteer fire and rescue folks we have in the Northern end of Pocahontas as their service is vital and much appreciated. Many of these members are called out daily to drive and administer emergency services without compensation. I am personally thankful for their service.
However, I am suggesting that the officers of BFD hold a public meeting presided by the Pocahontas County Prosecuting Attorney and County Commission, within 30 (thirty) days from the date of this publication in The Pocahontas Times, and provide copies of the minutes authorizing said purchase, findings and studies conducted, any notes, memos, economic analyses, that document and authorize purchase. I further believe their financial statements for the past five years should be presented for public inspection.
Charles A. Sheets
cc WV State Fire Marshal