Local volunteer fire department in need of donations, volunteers, and supplies

Published 9:19 am Friday, September 6, 2019

One of Carter County’s very own volunteer fire departments called the Hampton Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Department is in need of donations of time, money and even bottled water and snacks.

The all-volunteer firefighting organization was started in 1954 when Hampton High School caught fire and there was no service around to help put it out.

“So a group of gentlemen in the community got together and started doing fundraisers and raised money and bought a Jeep truck with a pump and a trailer and a tank behind it, and organized Hampton Volunteer Fire Department,” said the station’s current fire chief Chris Isaacs.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“Initially, it was housed in an old garage near where the water department is now, and the county at a later date gave us the property our station is on now.”

The stations and its other substation does not receive any official funding and all of its staff are unpaid, however, this does not affect the efficiency or the desire for them to fight fires and assist with rescue work.

“If you are a volunteer fireman or a city fireman, we do the same thing. We fight the same fire,” Chief Isaacs said. “That fire wants to kill us volunteers just as much as it wants to kill them paid guys. It wants to kill our citizens and take out our citizens’ homes just as much it does in this paid district.

“So we are fighting the same fire, we use the same equipment, we use the same training that the city guys do. The only difference is we are not getting paid to do it. We come from a long history. Volunteers are not something that just happened recently and it goes all the way back to the days of Benjamin Franklin.”

According to Isaacs, some of the ways the citizens can help the fire department are to stay engaged with them.

“Watch for those fundraiser mailouts that we [send] out,” says Isaacs. “That is a lot of it. We have to raise $40,000 a year through fundraisers, just to maintain our budget, and that is not to improve any equipment, that is just what it takes to operate.”

Chief Isaacs said they raise funds through certain events like firework sales and get togethers with the community.

Isaacs said that they are getting ready to do a chili cook off fundraiser September 28 at 3 p.m. at the Hampton station. The event will have inflatables for the kids and a gospel and bluegrass band playing music.

Chief Isaacs said that persons wanting to join the department do not have to be in great physical condition as they could help with ancillary tasks such as helping the firefighters at the scene and with clean up afterwards. He said that those wanting to help fight fires will have to receive 100 training hours in addition to 20 hours annually.

Donny Isaacs, also a former chief, said that most of the air tanks are from the 9-11 era and need to be replaced. He said that a grant has been put in to update those tanks.

Finally, if you cannot attend any of the events or volunteer, the department is always accepting donations of bottled water and snacks. You can also join their Facebook page, where they hope to have a donation page up so that citizens can donate as much or as little as they want.