Public Meeting to Address Churchville Fire & Rescue Complaints
A pair of Augusta County supervisors say they want to separate perception from reality when it comes to the Churchville Fire and Rescue. A public meeting Saturday will address the public's concerns about the agency.
Supervisors Marshall Pattie and Tracy Pyles have called the community meeting and will arrive armed with figures and statistics. Pyles believes they'll prove Churchville is among Augusta County's strongest departments, but both men say they're ready to hear from neighbors who disagree.
A three-week span in the Churchville area brought a massive fire that destroyed a million-dollar home, a tragic mobile-home fire that killed four people, and a garage fire that injured two -all that saw Staunton firefighters first on the scene.
Augusta supervisors have heard complaints about Churchville Fire and Rescue during their two most recent meetings.
"These are folks - neighbor helping neighbor - and they're doing it voluntarily. They're a great value to Augusta County, they give us a great service. We need to build these folks up, not be out there taking shots at them," said Pyles. Pyles says the recent complaints are off the mark. Augusta's figures show Churchville has a better-than-county average response time.
"They run some 1,400 calls in a year. They had 64 that they didn't make the first response. The state average is expected to be 90 percent. They're better than 95 percent," said Pyles.
Churchville already has three paid firefighters for daytime coverage, but a former member of the department circulated a petition, asking for paid staffers 24/7.
Pattie says he's heard very few complaints and hopes the public meeting will clear the air. "The purpose is just to get the feedback from the community and listen to them, and also present them with the data that we're looking at... and kind of take that all into account and figure out what's best to do for Churchville, and what's best to do for Augusta County," said Pattie.
The public meeting starts at 10:00 a.m. Saturday at Churchville Elementary School.
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