By Matt de Simone
The Botetourt County Board of Supervisors accepted the dissolution of the Glen Wilton Volunteer Fire Department & Rescue Squad last Tuesday at the monthly meeting.
County Fire & EMS Chief Jason Ferguson read a resolution to the board adding that he was first approached by the Glen Wilton chief approximately two months ago following an attempt to possibly merge Glen Wilton and Eagle Rock emergency staff. Ferguson and rescue staff then discussed matters with the Glen Wilton station and discovered that the department didn’t have the number of volunteers within the community to recruit “new energy” into the Glen Wilton station. Ferguson suggested the departments reach out to County Attorney Mike Lockaby to draft the dissolution information, which they did.
Ferguson made it clear that it wasn’t the county emergency department’s intent to “shut down the facility.” He noted operations is the “key” to this situation—how the county handles emergency response to the community.
“It is not the intent of myself or our department to shut down the facility,” Ferguson noted. “It’s our intent to find ways to maximize its use with volunteers… It does not make logical, fiscal sense to staff the facility. Obviously, we’re in the process of doing some things with getting the Eagle Rock truck online from the 24/7 perspective as far as the career staff ambulance crews (are concerned). After the first of the year, the intent is to bring Eagle Rock and Iron Gate to the table, along with the remnants of the Glen Wilton members, to discuss how we best cover that area in the future.”
Ferguson felt that the incorporation’s dissolution “is a business matter” and that it won’t impact the response in the area as it is “minimal” in the Glen Wilton area. He added the “good news” on the matter is that the department has no liabilities and can use “a sum of cash” transferred to the county to reinvest into future operations. The department currently has a fire engine, tanker/engine, brush truck, utility truck, and a pick-up truck. The chief noted that he plans to “downsizing” the fleet in the facility to “right size” it for future responses, making sure there is an adequate amount of apparatus to serve the Glen Wilton community.
Fincastle District Supervisor Richard Bailey thanked Ferguson and the Glen Wilton staff for maintaining the facility and said he is hopeful for the future of the facility.
The Glen Wilton Volunteer Fire Department & Rescue Squad, Inc. was formed in the far northwestern corner of Botetourt County in 1965 to provide fire and eventually emergency medical services for the citizens of the greater Glen Wilton community. Throughout their decades of dedicated volunteer service, the organization has been part of saving countless lives and suppressing fires of all kinds.
Over the last decade, this organization has struggled with maintaining a level of volunteerism necessary to consistently serve the community all day, every day in a prompt fashion. To further support the community during emergencies, both the Iron Gate and Eagle Rock Volunteer Fire Departments have been automatically providing assistance to the Glen Wilton area for over three years.
In mid-October, several members of the Glen Wilton department met with the Chief of Fire & EMS for Botetourt County to discuss their intentions to dissolve the corporation, given that they wish for the county to directly handle all operational components of the Glen Wilton station and associated calls for service.
After engaging with their departmental attorney, the Glen Wilton department took formal action to pursue the dissolution of the organization, asking to transfer its real property and both tangible and intangible personal property to the county. The department does not currently have any associated debt service or other liabilities that the county would be asked to consider.