KAMP Ambulance shares heating woes with commission

KINGWOOD — A discussion about a training facility for fire departments and an emergency funding request by KAMP Ambulance for its south station were the two main topics of discussion at the Tuesday meeting of the Preston County Commission.

In 2021, KAMP Ambulance added a second station located in the southern end of the county. It began as a temporary station in Newburg. It later moved to Fellowsville after the Fellowsville Volunteer Fire Department purchased the old Mountaineer Ambulance building and allowed KAMP use of the building, according to Shawna Knotts, vice president of KAMP Ambulance.

Knotts asked the commission for its help in replacing the current HVAC system. She said the AC unit has been recharged multiple times during the summer months. There are also problems with the furnace — it has been fixed three times since the beginning of the year.

“Early Friday morning our crew ended up losing heat. The temperature was 54 degrees in the building. Thankfully, we were able to get hold of an HVAC company,” she said.

Knotts said Snyder Heating and Cooling found the air return duct work is much smaller than it should be, which is causing the furnace to overheat — making it unable to produce any heat. Knotts said it was also found that there were no filters in the furnace, which caused a lot of dust and debris to get into all of the furnace’s open parts.

“There is a black residue in the vents, which could be just dirt or carbon monoxide residue. We were advised either way it should not be like that,” she said, “The furnace was also wired to bypass a safety switch that would shut off the furnace if it would start to overheat. Unfortunately, due to years of neglect, which was done way before the fire department purchased the building, the entire HVAC system has to be replaced.”

Knotts said KAMP signed a contract with Snyder Heating & Cooling on Monday to have the whole system replaced, including the vents. She said it was something that couldn’t be put off.

“In order for us to have crews at our south station we have to make sure they stay warm or cool depending on the season. We also need to have the proper working equipment,” she said.

OEM/E911 Director Duane Hamilton said the fire department gave the building to KAMP so there would be ambulance service in that area. He said it saves time getting to patients, because the ambulance didn’t have to come from Kingwood.

“We will need to see where we can pull money from,” Commissioner Hunter Thomas said. “We’ll have an answer next Tuesday.”

Commissioner Samantha Stone said she recently walked a piece of property with members of the fire association and they thought it would be feasible to use that property for a fire training facility.
A fire training facility is used to teach firefighters and other first responders safety procedures, firefighting tactics, firefighting PPE, extinguishing and cooling tactics, pre-incident planning and more.

She said it would be a good place for a burn building, since it is not close to the population.

Stone said the area would be located past the 911 storage building in an area that couldn’t be used for any other purpose due to the terrain. She said the property does have water and gas lines going to it.

Stone added it would be a benefit for all county departments, and could become a regional training facility.

“The next step is finding out what it will cost. The fire association has two-thirds of their money. There is a lot we can do,” Stone said.

In other business, Stone said she has been visiting local schools to talk to students about county government. She has spoken to students about what the county commission does, and let eighth-graders know about a 500-word essay contest the West Virginia State County Commission website is promoting. The essay is entitled “How does my county commission make life better for me?”

The student who wins first place will receive $500 and their teacher will receive $500 for school supplies. The second and third-place winners will receive $300 and runners-up will receive $50.

Stone said submissions close at 5 p.m. April 19. Entries should be submitted through the CCAWV website: https://www.ccawv.org/essaycontest.

“I am going to have a pizza party for the Preston County school that wins first place,” Stone said.

The next meeting of the Preston County Commission will be 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.