HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - County leaders say a new fire department in Hanover will help gain volunteers and save money. The new Black Creek Fire Department in the Cold Harbor district is now open.
One of the biggest changes is there are now 12 individual rooms in the new fire station where firefighters can sleep while they are working their long 12 hour shifts. At the old fire station, there was one room that five people had to share.
Battalion Chief Willie Jones with Hanover Fire & EMS says, "You have one room no bigger than a closet with two bunk beds and a single bed. A lot of people are uncomfortable sleeping around other people, which is a normal thing. Now you have a private room with a door."
These new living quarters are just one of a number of features that bring the Black Creek Volunteer Fire Department into the modern age. This new station is also now big enough for fire and rescue to house all its equipment.
That's a good thing for a department that relies so heavily on it's equipment for water. Black Creek is a mostly rural community with no hydrants, so tanker trucks are a must. The old station was more than 40 years old and some of the equipment had to sit outside because the space was so small.
"They only had two doors and one way to back in," Jones said. 'As you can see at the new station, we can cut down on accidents by driving all the way through, it gives you room to work on the equipment; the other station the bumper the back end of an engine was one inch apart."
Oscar Watson has worked for the Black Creek Volunteer Fire Department for nearly 40 years. He's watched as the original space become way too small. He believes the 50 volunteers here will now be a lot more comfortable.
"It's got a day room with chairs in it. It's just so nice," Watson said.
When this company has lost volunteers, many believe the old building was to blame.
"I'm sure we lost them for not having not having enough room and not having the facilities to do it," he said.
And if you've ever been to the Hanover County Tomato Festival, which is coming up in just a few weeks, that's a fundraising event run by the Black Creek Fire Department; all the money will be pumped back into this new building.