Fire Department rescues chief, seeks donations - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Fire Department rescues chief, seeks donations


Friday morning, a house caught fire in a small McDowell County community, but the victims of the fire were no strangers to the Fire Department. The Volunteer Fire Department in Davy found itself in an unusual situation yesterday, having to rescue none other than their own Fire Chief, Terry O'Neal.

Assistant Chief Ronald Parks says Chief O'Neal was at the station, when they got a call from the chief's girlfriend. "She said, 'Tell Terry to come up. The house is on fire in the attic. So he went out the door to go up to his house." 
O'Neal first tried battling the fire by himself, but quickly realized he needed help. "Tried to do what he could. Then he paged us out. He pages out us, Roderfield, and Welch."
Parks describes the scene when the fire department arrived. "Smoke was coming out both sides, and fire was coming out on either side." So a pretty big fire?
"Yes sir."
While battling the blaze, Chief O'Neal suffered smoke inhalation and some first degree burns. But First Responder Shilo Hammonds says it could have been worse. "Oh, it COULD have! To our understanding he was pulled out of the residence, for his own safety. And was brought to Jan-Care Ambulance, that was on-scene for standby. And was flown to Pikeville Medical Center."
The chief's girlfriend and two children, ages nine and four, made it out safely. But the house and all their belongings are a total loss. At the fire station, a collection has been started. Hammonds says, "Clothes, blankets, toys. The biggest thing is... we're just a small little town, and when something like this happens, everyone tries to come together."

Chief O'Neal returned home to Davy just this afternoon. The fire department says a local church is providing a home for the chief to stay in. If you would like to make a donation to O'Neal and his family, you're encouraged to contact the assistant chief at 304-656-7485.

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