WILLIAMSON The Mingo County Commission agreed to repair the roof of Kermit Volunteer Fire Department's Marrowbone Substation at its meeting Wednesday at the Mingo County Courthouse.

"It's a bad situation we're in up there. The building we're stationed in now is an old building, it needs a lot of work," Kermit Fire Chief Wilburn "Tomahawk" Preece said. "The roof is really leaking bad We're in a situation now to where I can't store anything there. It's damp and moldy, and it's just causing us a lot of problems."

Preece also said the building needs other repairs, such as fixing large holes in the bricks at the rear of the building that causes heating and cooling issues. He said it is costing his department around $500 or $600 to heat just that substation alone.

Preece said if a solution isn't found to fix the issues, he would have to pull his trucks out of the building, leaving the surrounding community without adequate fire protection and raising the insurance of the residents in the surrounding area. He said he has tried fundraisers and other ways to raise money, but they are still struggling.

Commissioners Greg Hootie Smith and Thomas Taylor approved the request to buy supplies and pay the labor to fix the roof. It is estimated the roof will cost approximately $6,000 to fix.

The building also houses the nonprofit organization Southern West Virginia Families Community Center, which opened up the ability for the county to fund the repairs for the roof.

Smith asked Leigh Ann Ray, county grant coordinator, to look into possible grant money that might be available to construct a new building to house the department.

"Funding has been terrible in the county, and the budget has been cut the past four years," said Smith, who chaired the meeting as president pro-tem after President Diann Hannah had a family emergency prior to the meeting. "This commission has worked diligently for this fiscal year to try to provide some outside funding. What we have categorized as a priority is our fire departments and our first responders. It doesn't matter if it's a fire, flood, missing person or a car wreck, the first person that usually responds in our area is a fireman."

Additionally, the county commission awarded the Town of Delbarton with $1,000 in financial assistance for the 24th annual Delbarton Homecoming.

"We have also tried to set aside $1,000 dollars per community for a special event, and we are doing that for the Delbarton Homecoming," Smith told Albert Totten, president of the Delbarton Homecoming.

The county commission also voted to cover the annual insurance fee for the Beech Creek Community Park in the amount of $993.

The Beech Creek Community Park is located at 10 Park Drive Beech Creek Road, Matewan, and is open seven days a week between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Jarrid McCormick is a reporter for the Williamson Daily News. He can be reached by email at jmccormick@HDMediaLLC.com.

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