Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

March 24, 2014

Oakvale VFD benefits from public water

OAKVALE — To many urban Americans, seeing a fire hydrant in their neighborhood might not be a big deal. However, to the volunteer firefighters of the Oakvale Volunteer Fire Department, fire hydrants in their community can make all of the difference during a structure fire.

For years, the Oakvale firefighters battled structure fires with water they hauled to the residence or water they could draw from a stream near the structure.

Recently, when the department was called to a garage fire at the home of Beverly Ferguson on Kellysville Road, firefighters were able to hook on to a fire hydrant and battle the blaze. The garage was a total loss, but the firefighters were able to prevent it from spreading to an apartment beside the garage and to the Ferguson home, according to Morris Clyburn, secretary/treasurer of the Oakvale Fire Department.

“We saved a house and a little apartment,” Clyburn said. “This was the first time the Oakvale Volunteer Fire Department used fire hydrants at an actual fire scene in the Oakvale area.” The fire at the Ferguson garage was on Feb. 28. Since that time, the department has used the fire hydrants to battle five more house fires and three brush fires.

In August 2013, the Oakvale community gathered together for the dedication of Phase IV A of the Mercer/Summers Water Project that brought clean public water to 370 households in the Oakvale area. Clyburn expressed thanks to the local, state and federal government agencies that made the water project a reality. He also expressed thanks to the Oakvale Public Service District, members of the East River Ruritan Club, and area residents who supported the project.

“This is why it’s important to keep pushing for the completion of Phase IV B of the project and complete the loop into the Elgood and Cheesy Creek area,” Clyburn said. “Hope-fully, Oakvale residents will soon see a new ISO rating that will help with their insurance premiums.”

Clyburn said that in addition to having water to battle structure fires, the Oakvale firefighters are thankful for the ongoing support they receive from the East River Volunteer Fire Department and the Glen Lyn, Va., Volunteer Fire Department for providing mutual aid.

— Contact Bill Archer at

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