You could say the Wheeling Fire Department was blazing in 2018.
6,885 calls for service and 93 staff members across seven fire stations handling all of it.
2018 was the busiest year in the departments history, despite decreased numbers in staff totals.
“That says a lot about our employees too,” said Wheeling Fire Chief Larry Helms. “They make sure as soon as they get to the hospital, get their rig back in service and they’re ready for the next call.”
Numbers showed an increase of medical calls last year, a total number of 4,460. That’s 65 percent of overall calls and six percent more than 2017. This, strongly associated with the rising drug epidemic.
“Those types of emergencies, we didn’t really realize until the last couple years and actually the last two years they’ve been very high,” said Helms.
While medical calls were going up, would you believe fire calls were actually going down? In 2018, there were only 104 fires in the City of Wheeling. The Fire Prevention Bureau, playing a big role in this.
“They’re out there educating the public about how to prevent fires, how to function safely around your home, that type of thing,” said Helms.