MONETA, Va – After serving the community for more than 40 years, the Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department is finally getting a home of its own.
“We’ve been around for 40 years however, never had a home we’ve never had our own station,” Chief Todd Ohlerich said.
Thursday the Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department broke ground on the future site of the department’s very first station.
“This will help tremendously with central location because right now we’re storing our equipment at different locations all across the lake,” Ohlerich said.
American Electric Power (AEP) donated the land to the department in 2005, and while the project has hit some road bumps along the way it is being completely funded by community donations.
“It took a little bit longer since we are funding it ourselves through the community support 15 years later we’re able to build be where we are today and build this building,” Ohlerich said.
While the department does rely on boats instead of trucks, it responded to more than 400 calls in 2020.
“We do help a lot of people you know Smith Mountain Lake is very unique, we are the only one in the country that has an all-volunteer Marine base ISO certified Fire Department,” Volunteer Ray Talley said.
The department hopes to have the building complete by the end of the year continuing to keep the Smith Mountain Lake community safe.