KEYSER - County personnel from the fire companies of Fountain, Fort Ashby, and Keyser who are trained in swift water rescue recently answered seven calls involving emergency situations of flooding in Hampshire, Hardy, and Jefferson counties.

By Jean Braithwaite
Tribune Correspondent
KEYSER - County personnel from the fire companies of Fountain, Fort Ashby, and Keyser who are trained in swift water rescue recently answered seven calls involving emergency situations of flooding in Hampshire, Hardy, and Jefferson counties.
Because of this situation, Mineral County sheriff Jeremy Taylor presented a request at the county commission meeting for the purchase of a rescue-type boat, saying that the recent amount of rain caused the severe flooding conditions in the three Eastern Panhandle counties and along the Potomac River.
He said that the Mineral County volunteer firefighters were “in Jefferson County for 28 hours” assisting with water-related emergencies.
Taylor said during the time with assisting with the dangerous high rising river, “There were actually four rescues.”
He added that with the help from Mineral County, there was something lacking and that was having a rescue boat available from the county when the standards of water rescue procedures are to have two boats in the water and two on standby.
Taylor gave an example of a few tense moments in Hardy County when, “One of the rescue boats capsized.”
An application for a grant for a swift water rescue boat is now in progress and the approval for the request may not be known until this fall.
During the meeting, the county commission gave approval for the purchase of an additional boat and if the grant is approved, this would make two in the county, with one housed at Fountain Fire Department and one at the Fort Ashby Fire Company.
Commission president Jerry Whisner said the two boats have the cost of $20,000, as he said that there “could be issues” with flooding from the Potomac River in the community of Patterson Creek, and the boats would be needed in that area.
He also said that during an emergency drill held last year in Keyser’s north end,  a water rescue boat was used to evacuate people in that area across the Potomac River into Maryland.