OVFD groundbreaking photo
Tommy & Julia Hutcherson break round for the new fire station. Looking on left to right Ernie Doshier, Janie Jacoby, Teresa & Albert O ‘Neal and Dick Jacoby Photo by C. Leinbach

May 2013
by Connie Leinbach

Ocracoke will have a new fire house in about eight months, following the long awaited ground breaking at the site of a new Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department building along Irvin Gar­rish Highway Monday.

About 60 residents came out to support the event as crew members from Pre­miere Construction Inc. of Kitty Hawk began laying out the foundation. The site of the new building is just under an acre and was do­nated by the Hutcherson family, owners of the Va­riety Store.

“They didn’t ask me for it, I volunteered the land,” said Julia, who is Tommy’s mother, be­fore the two used official ground-breaking shovels. “I knew they needed land and I asked them if this would work. This is a good place for the firehouse.”

Board President Dick Ja­coby, as master of ceremo­nies, thanked the fire com­pany’s board, the building designers and all the vol­unteers who have helped realize this project. Local pastors Ivey Belch and Lau­ra Stern opened and closed the ceremony.

Ernie Doshier, chair of the building committee that oversaw design of the new structure, thanked his vol­unteers. “It’s amazing that a community of this size and the visitors that come here have enabled us to raise the amount of money to do this,” he said.

The two-story fire house will be brick ma­sonry with an asphalt shin­gle roof. One million dollars have already been raised to fund the estimated price tag of $1.2 million, Jacoby said, adding that he was very pleased with the number of folks who attended the ceremony. The new build­ing will amply house the company’s five vehicles in its four bays as one bay will stack two ve­hicles, Jacoby said.

That all the vehicles are inside a heated build­ing may help the fire company get a better insurance rating. Last year, the state insurance office gave the company a 6 rating, down from 8, which Jacoby said is good. “The lower the number, the better,” he said.

Since then, the company purchased a ladder truck, which may further lower the compa­ny’s rating, but it’s not a sure thing. Jacoby said it is up to homeown­ers to inform their insur­ance com­panies of the OVFD’s change in rating, al­though many insurance companies have this infor­mation.

Bingo will continue this summer from early May until the end of August in the current fire house along Back Road, but of­ficials do not know if there will be bingo next summer when they move into the new quarters, said Teresa O’Neal, who runs the pop­ular Tuesday night event.

The OVFD is planning its annual Firemen’s Ball, its annual fundraiser, for Saturday, May 25, in the Oc­racoke Community Center. The day will start off the day with a pig pickin’, fol­lowed by a silent and a live auction, finishing off with live music by three great lo­cal favorites: The Ocracoke Rockers, The Aaron Caswell Band and The Dune Dogs.

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