Police officer recognized for assisting at Split Rail fire

BUCKHANNON — A Buckhannon police officer has been honored by the Buckhannon Fire Department for going above the call of duty on a recent big structure fire.

BFD Captain J.B. Kimble recently presented Patrolman First Class Joshua Wilson from the Buckhannon Police Department with a Connection Award.

On Dec. 13, Kimble responded with two other firefighters to West Virginia Split Rail to find flames engulfing the mill area.

While they waited for other responders, the firefighters received some help from Wilson.

“He helped us deploy our hoses and set our supply lines,” Kimble said. “It was like having an extra person – not to fight the fire – but to help you get everything set up.”

Kimble said the fire department wanted to do something to recognize Wilson’s help and came up with the Connection Award.

“It is designed with two fire connectors put together on a stand,” he said. “One is painted red and one is painted blue. One has BPD and one has BFD, so it’s like they are working in unity.”

Kimble said this is just another example of the two agencies working together.

“I’ve had situations where we as firemen have helped the police on calls and he was working as a police officer but helped us,” he said.

Wilson knew a little about what to do on the call. He has been a volunteer firefighter, getting his start with the Beverly Volunteer Fire Department 14 years ago, and having joined the Ellamore Volunteer Fire Department in 2017.

On that particular night, Wilson said he noticed the firemen going out for a call and asked the comm center what was going on.

He followed the fire traffic down to West Virginia Split Rail, thinking they would need traffic control.

Instead, Wilson found himself helping the initial truck on the scene.

“There were a ton of flames showing,” he said. “It was JB, [firefighter John] Brugnoli and one other on the fire truck.”

Wilson started grabbing a hose off the back of the fire truck and assisted Kimble with hooking up hoses and then dragging the attack line to the fire with one of the other firefighters.

As another truck showed up, Wilson helped attach the new hose to the first hose to extend the reach.

Wilson said he was a little surprised by the award but appreciated the thought.

“If you are a first responder, you do whatever is needed to get the situation taken care of,” he said. “I was glad to help out whenever I was needed.

“Whenever we need them, they are there and whenever they need us, we are there for them. We watch each other’s back.”

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