I never thought I’d be among those who write in from time to time with praise for this or that local emergency response outfit. But then I never thought I’d get a call at 4 a.m. saying a wall of fire was approaching my house in Castleton and looked like it might engulf it at any moment. (I was in Arlington at the time.) Did I want the caller, a neighbor, to break into the locked house and save anything in particular, he asked? No.
By the time I got there 90 minutes later, the fire was out and everyone had left. The brush and grass fire, which was sparked by power lines brought down by the wind and a dead tree, burned two acres but was arrested 20 yards from my house. Firefighters from Castleton, Amissville, Sperryville and the Department of Forestry responded. “There were a whole army of them, with trucks,” my neighbor said.
A tough and dedicated army as well. For hours before responding to my fire, the workers had fought a similar fire nearby on Turkey Ridge Road and a larger one near Scrabble. The wind was howling, it was dark and cold and the hour late. Much later that morning I found Taylor Berta, one of the firefighters from the Castleton Volunteer Fire and Rescue, wandering around the burn site checking for hot spots. She told me she hadn’t slept all night.
So what advice would I offer others with property in Rappahannock County? Support your local volunteer fire company.