By Carol Vaughn —
Tasley Volunteer Fire Company moved into its new firehouse Saturday morning, marking the start of a new era for the company, which was established in 1926 and was the first known self-organized fire company in Accomack County, according to a 1997 newspaper article.
“Our guys sat down on Feb. 1, 1926 in the old Bill West store and had a meeting and pledged money to start a fire company. They bought a 35-gallon hand-drawn cart and four fire extinguishers; that was how it started,” said Don Amadeo, Tasley VFC president, who has been a member since 1984.
Fire company members and elected officials broke ground on the new, 10,500-square-foot station in December 2018, after purchasing the land more than two years before.
Parts of the old station, which is around 2/3 mile away from the new one on Tasley Road, date to the 1920s.
“Fire apparatus has been stationed at this property since 1926. A lot of history here. Truly a bittersweet time for many of our members,” said a post on the fire company’s Facebook page, captioning a photograph of the old station.
The new station’s shell was constructed by Diamond State Pole Building of Delaware, according to Amadeo.
He said company members did much of the finishing work on the interior themselves to save money.
“There was definitely sweat equity put into it,” he said.
“We call it a ‘fire house’ as opposed to a ‘fire station’ because a ‘house’ to us symbolizes a ‘home’ and thus a family,” another post on the company Facebook page said, adding, “That’s what all our brothers and sisters here are — a big family, one that has worked hard and long and finally achieved their goal and can enjoy the fruit of their labors.”
The new firehouse is across the street from the site of the former Whispering Pines Hotel — among the more notorious of more than 70 Accomack County fires set in 2012 and 2013 where the Tasley volunteers — along with volunteers from other fire companies throughout the county — fought blazes later determined to have been set by convicted arsonists Charles R. Smith III and Tonya Bundick.
It wasn’t long before the first emergency call to be answered from the new firehouse came in, Saturday at 5:43 p.m.
Fire company members are planning a car show at the new firehouse Aug. 15, and plan to hold an open house at the new building in the future, once restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic are eased.
“We appreciate everybody’s support for the whole lengthy process,” Amadeo said.