MARTINSBURG, W.Va.  — Berkeley County Fire is now recognized as the first career county fire
department in West Virginia.
The department was notified of the official change in status on Oct. 14 by the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office
after the county met a number of requirements for paid fire departments in the state.’The county council announced the designation on Wednesday in a press release.
“This is a big deal for us,” Berkeley County Office of Emergency Management Director Randy Lilly said.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Baker Heights Volunteer Fire Department were recognized Thursday by the
Berkeley County Council and Berkeley County Administrator Alan Davis for being willing to work with Berkeley County to
obtain the official designation, which opens up a number of additional grant opportunities for the county fire
Berkeley County Council members thanked Lilly and Berkeley County Fire Chief Marty Roberts for their determination to
obtain the designation.
“I know there were several hoops for you to jump through,” said Berkeley County Councilperson Eddie Gochenour, who
served as the first county Fire Chief and led the effort to assure immediate fire response throughout the county before
being elected to County Council.
“You had the patience to do that and thank you for getting that nailed down – good job.”
Roberts advised the County Council on Thursday that approximately five counties in West Virginia have contacted
Berkeley County Fire about establishing a paid county fire department.
“Our mission to the residents and visitors of Berkeley County to prevent injury and loss of life due to fire and accident
and prevent loss or damage to their property and environment,” according to Roberts. “We pledge to respond to all life
and property threatening emergencies within Berkeley County and attempt to effect rescue of human life, first, and then
aim to control fire or hazards and conserve property and the environment.”
About Berkeley County Fire: Organized in 2010, Berkeley County Fire currently provides 21 full-time paid firefighters to
augment the volunteers at the County’s five volunteer fire departments at Back Creek Valley, Baker Heights, Bedington,
Hedgesville, and South Berkeley. The county fire department also is equipped to respond for Swift Water Rescue and
also is the designated West Virginia Hazardous Materials Regional Response Team for seven eastern West Virginia
counties (Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan, Hampshire, Hardy, Mineral and Grant).