Accomack Co. Arsons Have Volunteer Firefighters Low On Resources - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Accomack Co. Arsons Have Volunteer Firefighters Low On Resources, and Morale

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PARKSLEY, Va. - For months, we've been following the Accomack County Arson investigation, and on Thursday WMDT's Alyana Gomez took us inside a local fire company, to hear about their personal struggle as a result of the string of arsons.

We checked in on the Parksley Volunteer Fire Company, in particular, because they've not only responded to more than half of those arson fires, but they also have full-time jobs. Yet this one is the most taxing.

"We've gone beyond the point of excitement. We're at the point of frustration," said Chief Phillip Kelly, of the Parksley Volunteer Fire Company.

Over 70 arson fires set in just four months. They started out small with brush, then sheds. Soon after they escalated to abandoned homes, and even a motel. The remnants of the latest blaze is still smoking. In fact, the only ones that are completely burned out, are the men and women responding.

"Running out of the house in the middle of the night, it's putting a big drain on all of us," said firefighter in training, Jon Morell.

"It's really costing everybody a lot of time from being at home with their families," said firefighter, Vicky Fussell.

Chief Kelly invited WMDT inside the Parksley Volunteer Fire Company to see how they're handling, what seems to be a never-ending nightmare. What we found were limited resources and deteriorating equipment, due to daily wear-and tear.

"Our average set of turnout gear is about $1,400 and we've replaced four sets of gear so far this year," said Chief Kelly.

He also says the doors on one of their trucks were completely ripped off. Their Rehab and Air trucks, however. are still standing.

"We're the only ones in Accomack that have this specialized piece unit, and it's heavily used," he said.

To add fuel to the fire, Kelly says they're spending at least $400 more a week on gas.

"Another expense: bottled water, Gatorade, energy bars, and coffee because we got to keep our people hydrated," said the chief.

They now have an abundance of those items, thanks to community support through donations. One of the small positives stemming from the destruction plaguing Accomack County. Riding around now, Chief Kelly says the burden it's left is palpable.

"You think to yourself is this going to be next."

It's important to note, the Parksley Volunteer Fire Company gets their funding from fire tax money and donations, which Chief Kelly says are running low.

No fires have been set in the past two days, but the alleged arsonist and/or copycats are still at large. A reminder, there is a $25,000 reward for any information which leads to an arrest and conviction.

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