W.Va. Fire Station Flattened by Explosive Blaze

A Sissonville firehouse was flattened by a fire this morning , according to The Charleston Gazette.

The fire at the station on 5900 Sissonville Drive was reported at approximately 8:45 a.m. and the structure was fully involved and collapsed a short time after crews arrived.

By the time they arrived, there was nothing they could do to put out the flames.

"They couldn't get in," Fire Chief Tom Johnson -- the department's chief for close to 50 years -- told The Metro News.

"As soon as they got here it was beyond that. They couldn't even gain entry to the building at all."

The equipment and chemicals housed inside the building caused explosions to go off inside.

"And all I kept hearing was 'Boom, boom, boom.' "

The volunteer department's vehicles and gear were inside the station when it burned. Two fire engines, a rescue truck, a six-wheel all-terrain vehicle, communications equipment and bunker gear were lost in the fire.

Damages were estimated at around $750,000.

Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper told The Gazette that the department is one of the busiest in the county.

Sissonville operates three stations covering about 125 square miles.

"We will beg, borrow or steal bunker gear to put them back in business as quickly as possible," he said.

The county owns an emergency truck, which it will loan the department temporarily and arrangements will be made for portable buildings to keep the fire station operating until a new station can be built, according to The Gazette.

The losses will be reported to the fire department's insurance carrier and Carper said county officials will help pay for anything insurance doesn't cover.

Johnson told the newspaper that the loss of the station was like "a kick in the gut" but said the department isn't out of business.

"We're put on hold for a little bit, but we'll make it," Johnson said. "We're going to worry about buying a station and three new trucks."

Departments from Rand, Malden, Chesapeake, Davis Creek, Belle, Tyler Mountain and Sissonville's two other fire stations responded to battle the blaze.