Vickie Carpenter – Photographer
The Otto Fire and Rescue Department (OFRD) recently held a Technical Rescue Victim Management class at James Paint and Body Shop in Otto. The class was under the direction of Travis Scruggs who is employed at the Cherokee Fire Department and is also an instructor for Southwestern Community College.
The training exercise consisted of a three- car pile up with the extraction of two individuals trapped in the vehicles. Members of the fire department were given the chance to cut up a black Toyota sedan that had fellow firefighters trapped inside for the training exercise. Junior members were also given the chance to work on their skills with the Jaws of Life
and cutter tools. It was the first time some of these members have had the chance to use these extraction tools. OFRD conduct classes periodically through the year to maintain each members’ rescue and fire certifications and for any new members.
OFRD was started in 1978 in the back of Wanda and Roy Henson’s family owned convenience store known as “Tyler’s.” Numerous volunteers were involved in building the fire house and the Otto Community Building where the fire department is now located. Ben Durfey, a firefighter from Miami, was instrumental in getting the fire department up and running. Roy Henson was the first fire chief and remained chief for 28 years until he retired. Doug Cabe was chief for 12 years before he retired, and Terry Rholetter was chief for seven years until he suffered a burn in a recent job-related accident. Kevin Fountain is the current chief.
OFRD has recently acquired one of the original trucks that was used when the department first began. The 1953 Diamond T., was sold more than 30 years ago. The truck will be used for parades and the occasional car show. The last car show the truck was in was Fire on The Mountain in Cornelia, Ga.
OFRD has property on 441 and members are looking into the possibility of starting construction on a new building in the near future. The new building would meet the needs of the firefighters and
help them better service the community, according to Chief Fountain. Entrance onto the highway will be greatly improved by the line of sight coming out of the firehouse into oncoming traffic at the new location.
OFRD regularly offers other services to the Otto community. The department teaches First on the Scene classes for the community about every four months. The class teaches how to stop bleeding, hands-only CPR, tourniquet application, Epinephrine administration and Narcan administration.
A blood pressure and glucose monitoring station will soon be set up for the community to come and get checked. Days and times will be
listed on the Otto Fire Facebook page.
Volunteer positions are open for people ages 14 and up. For more information on becoming a member or a volunteer, call (828)342-3473.