By CHAD ABSHIRE
MATEWAN - A variety of topics were discussed at last night’s meeting of the Matewan Town Council, with the Matewan Volunteer Fire Department taking center stage.
Matewan Fire Chief Mike Preston told the council that his department had received notice of its recertification from the state fire marshal’s office, which greatly pleased the council and those from the public in attendance.
The certificate that was awarded read that the MVFD “had successfully proven compliance with all requirements set forth in CSR 87-6, as promulgated by the West Virginia State Fire Commission to be recognized as a certified fire department within the State of West Virginia.”
It was dated for April 13 of this year and will remain valid until April 13, 2017.
A letter from Fire Department Services Division Supervisor Tim Provaznik was also sent to Preston, congratulating him and his fire department on their recertification.
“This letter is to confirm to you that after their meeting on April 13, 2012, the West Virginia State Fire Commission voted to recertify the Matewan Volunteer Fire Department,” the letter stated. “It is dedicated people like you and exemplary fire departments like yours that are at the core of protecting the citizens and property of the State of West Virginia and your effort and hard work are sincerely appreciated.”
After that, Preston told the council that he’d like to build a temporary building near the current firehouse due to overcrowding, saying it was difficult for all the vehicles to fit the way that it is current set up. His estimate for the job was $10,000.
Although, the real goal of his was to build a completely new firehouse, Preston said. However, he said that wasn’t realistic at the time.
Councilman David Smith asked Preston: “Is that the best way to spend $10,000? We only have X amount of dollars. Do we have any other issues we need to address first?”
He also asked if adding a temporary building would hurt the historic look of the fire department and surrounding neighborhood.
Preston said he wasn’t sure what else was greatly needed outside of an extricator.
“I know your best interest is the best interest of the town,” Smith said.
The chief also said that he had some new recruits who had been on the force before, and that he needed equipment for them.
“Well, we have to get that,” Mayor Sheila Kessler said.
She suggested that Preston make a list to “let you examine everything you have and see what you might need,” and that they schedule a work session, similar to how the water department in town was dealt with.
A few months ago, the water department made a list of priorities which were went over at a work session.
“Make a list of everything needed, projected for the next five years,” Kessler said, “Then call the state fire marshal to see about the temporary building. Then we’ll have a work session.”
The topic will be revisited at the next council meeting.
“We appreciate your work,” Smith said to Preston.
An article on the rest of last night’s council meeting will appear in tomorrow’s edition of the Daily News.