The Summit Park Volunteer Fire Department in Harrison County, West Virginia, is being investigated to determine if the fire department is in compliance with state law. The investigation was requested by the family of the late Nutter Fort volunteer firefighter, Michael Garrett. Garrett was killed February 1, 2014, while responding to a communications tower collapse in the Summit Park area.
The Summit Park Volunteer Fire Department was previously investigated and as a result was decertified in December 2013. The certification was reinstated after their workers’ compensation was renewed. The Summit Park Volunteer Fire Department was required to provide a current roster of employees. It’s difficult for inspectors to make sure everyone is who they say they are and that the have the training they say they have. Another concern that was brought up regarding the volunteer fire department is that the secretary of state revoked their status as a business in November of 2013. According to West Virginia Fire Commissioner, Rick Scott, there has been no communication between the Secretary of State and the fire commission, so they wouldn’t know about the status of a business being revoked. The Summit Park Volunteer Fire Department has also had financial issues in the past, and the County Commission President would like to see some control in the business.
After last week’s fire commission meeting, the Harrison County Commission is considering pursuing court action that would ultimately close the Summit Park Volunteer Fire Department. Enacting new standards for the funding of local volunteer fire departments was also discussed at the fire commission meeting.