Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

June 24, 2013

Northfork Volunteer Fire Department celebrates 65th anniversary with cake, new equipment

NORTHFORK — A Hatfield-McCoy Trail rider with a commitment to helping others traveled to McDowell County this weekend and on Sunday, presented a local volunteer fire department with an All Terrain Res-Q cart that can be attached to an all-terrain vehicle for mountain trail rescues.

“You never really realize there is a need for something like this until you’re in a situation,” Nick Nelson of Columbus, Ohio said after presenting the rescue equipment to the Northfork Volunteer Fire Department. Nelson said a friend of his injured his leg last year while riding an ATV. “We were lucky enough we did not need to be transported from the trail. These firefighters are all volunteers. This is the least I can do to help them out.”

Nelson is a regular visitor to the regional trails. He and Dan Clark of the Elkhorn Inn came to the fire department Sunday afternoon to take part in the department’s 65th birthday celebration. Clark has pledged to provide metal side walls and wheel covers to protect patients as they are transported over the mountain trails.

“The department was actually incorporated in November of 1948,” Gary Dove, president of the Northfork Volunteer Fire Department board of directors said. “We decided to hold our birthday party during good weather when more people could come out.”

Fire Chief Eric Graham said that the department has been doing fund raising for the past several months to raise money to purchase a side-by-side four-wheeler to make trail rescues. “We have had a fireman’s festival, we sell t-shirts and we have done ATV washes to raise money for a machine,” Graham said. “We have raised $11,000 so far, but we need to come up with about $26,000 total for a machine that will be able to do trail rescues.”

The department still does trail rescues with the machinery they have available. The department responded to a total of 409 calls last year, and Graham personally responded to 406 of those calls. “I don’t know how many of those were on the Hatfield-McCoy Trail, but we have had 12 calls on the trail so far this season, and the season just started.” All nine active volunteer members of the department are trained on first aid and CPR, while some members are trained as EMTs.

“We have several more applicants who are ready for approval, so we think our staff will be growing in the near future,” Dove said.

Several people from the community came out to the fire hall to enjoy cake, soft drinks and to examine some of the department’s artifacts.

— Contact Bill Archer at

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