Wilsonville Fire Department family

Published 3:37 pm Monday, June 14, 2010

When there is an emergency, the volunteer firefighters in Wilsonville handle the situation while staying calm, collected and in control.

Summertime is tough on volunteers because they are all very family-oriented and involved with family and other community activities. Still, they have all figured out how to make it work, and have very few turnovers.

The firefighters, meet every Tuesday night to practice drills, clean up, and study to stay knowledgeable on the newest safety precautions.

Their weekends and nights are busy, as they go out of town to Hazmat school, train more at Fire College, and do class work.

Jason Ingram is captain, and a Birmingham firefighter, who is a certified instructor for some of these classes. They have an average of 100 calls a year.

The fire department originated and got their first fire truck in 1961. Although many changes have been made since that time, one thing that has not changed through time is the unique way they all work together and remain so close.

Davey Edwards, fire chief since 1984, has also run the BP station in Wilsonville for 32 years.

“That’s our family business. Daddy opened it up in 1956,” he said.

Edwards has been on the department since 1978, but he grew up observing his father, who was the previous chief. Charlie Marks was a charter member of the fire department then, and he is still there.

“We are very fortunate that we don’t have a lot of turnover,” Marks said.

Rodger, another fireman, is the water system superintendent in town. Jonathan Davis, works in Columbiana, but lives in Wilsonville and is very involved at the station. Mark Bray is chief of the Southeast Shelby Rescue in Columbiana, which works closely with the Wilsonville fire department handling more of the medical end in situations. They are a big part of rescue. Bray also teaches CPR lessons. Lamar Vick is the police chief in Columbiana, and lives in Wilsonville, taking part in the fire department. Jim Blackman has been a part of the station for more than 30 years, as well as several other members.

“Most of the people we have had for at least 15 years,” Edwards said.

Two weeks ago, the first woman volunteer joined the department. Janice Blackman is the assistant chief’s wife.

They have 1989, 1999 and 2007 model fire trucks, which were some of their first big changes. Before them, they had two trucks — a 1951 model and a 1964 model. The equipment has changed dramatically over the years.

“The town of Wilsonville has really backed the fire department up for years,” Edwards said, expressing gratitude.

“We still have the first truck that the town ever bought,” he said.

The department has two stations — one on each side of the railroad track since there is always the potential of the track being blocked. There are 22 volunteers currently, who run each of the stations. They all keep pagers on them at all times, and are always on call and ready if a situation arises.

“We all have a special relationship. John, Mark and I went to school together since the seventh grade. Since we graduated together 32 years ago, there probably hasn’t been a week that I haven’t seen him,” Edwards said.

The Wilsonville Fire Department is one big family hard at work for others.