HELENA — West Valley Volunteer Fire Department held an open house this past Saturday for their new addition to Fire Station #1 on Forrestvale Road.
The three-quarters of a million dollar addition was completed this past winter. It created a new vehicle bay that now allows for all their apparatus to be stored indoors without blocking any other vehicles, which makes it more efficient when crews need to respond to an emergency.
“We’re trying to better serve the community and better take care of the equipment that they’ve blessed us with,” explained West Valley Trustee Jim Dusenberry.
The addition also improved West Valley’s administrative offices, laundry area and living quarters for volunteers that choose to stay overnight.
West Valley Interim Fire Chief David Hamilton says they were glad to have the chance to show people around and speak with them about what the department does for the community.
“There’s firemen here to explain to them this is a volunteer fire department and there’s 19 pieces of apparatus between three fire stations,” noted Hamilton. “This allows them to actually see what is here and learn a little bit about the fire station and learn what it is about what we’re actually doing.”
West Valley is one of the busiest rural departments in the county and has covered more than 800 calls annually in recent years. They cover around 900 square miles, although much is public lands after their merger with Lewis and Clark County Fire, with approximately 20,000 people living in their coverage area.
Fire personnel also used the open house to give the public a first-hand look at the equipment they use and as a way to speak with people interested in volunteering at the department.
Hamilton says they’re always looking for more people interested in helping their community.
“We are always open for anyone that feels like they want to come down and be a volunteer,” said Hamilton adding, “We’re always looking for more people to respond.”
More information about West Valley and how to reach out to learn more about volunteering can be found on their Facebook page.