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SFD’s fire, EMS calls near 200 since Jan. 1

By Staff | Mar 6, 2009

Van Stemple stood outside his Ridge Road home Tuesday, looking up at Shepherdstown Fire Department volunteers who had leaned a ladder against his chimney and were lowering a chain into it to clear out flammable material.

“It could have been a lot worse,” Stemple said of the chimney fire he called in to 911 about 10 a.m. Shepherdstown firefighters responded with two trucks, assisted by two additional trucks from Sharpsburg. Fourteen fire-fighters were on the scene.

No one was injured, and the home sustained only minimal damage, says SFD Public Information Officer Marshall DeMeritt.

Stemple said his wife heard unusual cracking and popping sounds from within the walls in the living room, and alerted him. He rushed to the basement and found the automatic damper on his wood-burning stove had malfunctioned and was stuck wide open, allowing the fire to burn much hotter than usual. He was able to shut down the air to the fire before firefighters arrived.

SFD has responded to 75 fire calls and 118 emergency medical calls since Jan. 1. The department has seen a steady increase in calls for service in recent years.

In 2008, firefighters responded to 365 calls, while EMS workers logged 789.

In 2007 Shepherdstown made 308 fire runs and 693 ambulance runs.

Fire calls were logged at 235 in 2006, with ambulance calls at 645.

– For more information about the Shepherdstown Fire Department, visit www.shepherdstown

firedepartment.com

Or stop by the fire hall on W.Va. 45 just west of the four-way stop.