Genoa gets a nice new fire station, thanks to the volunteers |

Genoa gets a nice new fire station, thanks to the volunteers

by Heidi Alder

A dream has become a reality for the Genoa Volunteer Fire Department.

The new building for the volunteer firefighters of Genoa is almost complete, and there are a lot of people to thank for it.

“It’s been a dream of all the guys since 1984,” Ed Zacharias, assistant fire chief, said. “Now it’s a reality.”

Zacharias has been volunteering in Genoa for 16 years and served as chief for four years.

The firefighters used to operate out of a smaller station built by volunteers in 1951, Zacharias said.

“So, it was tradition that the new station should be built the same way,” Zacharias said.

The ball got rolling when Charlie Crow, Don Minifie and Wally Adams joined in a land acquisition committee.

“In 1984, a property committee was formed to work on getting the lots where the new station is located,” Zacharias said. “Most of the lots were donated to the Genoa Volunteer Fire Department. One lot had to be purchased.”

The Genoa firefighters put up $19,000 of their own money to clear up the last title, so that by 1991 all the property was secured, Zacharias said.

A design committee of Roger Falcke, Steve Hollister and Zacharias sat down in 1992 to work on the plans and designs for the building.

“The big concern was to build something that would blend in with the town and not take away from the old courthouse,” Zacharias said.

In fact, Zacharias said, the new station was set back on the property so it didn’t block the view of the courthouse from the main intersection.

Among those who helped, former District Fire Chief Bill Driscoll was always there for them.

“Whatever we needed, he was always there to help,” Zacharias said.

The building went out to bid in May of 1996 and by December of 1997, the volunteer firefighters moved into their new building.

But the work still continues.

“Every Saturday since we moved in, we have been working to complete it,” Zacharias said. “It’s mostly done, we’re just finishing the second floor. It’s a lot of work, but we’re getting used to it.”

Firefighter Mike Bournazian added up all the hours the volunteers put into the building, not counting calls and drills, for 1998 and came up with 2,000 hours.

“The volunteerism is one point we really want to make,” Bournazian said. “When people call 911, they’re not getting paid workers. We volunteer, and it takes time away from our families and work. The calls never come when we’re ready or have the time.”

Bournazian has been volunteer fire fighting for 13 years, but only two years with Genoa. Even after he moved to Indian Hills he continued to serve in Genoa.

“I wish to remain active here (in Genoa) where I make a difference,” Bournazian said.

There are 10 volunteers on Genoa’s rolls, men and women, and they all have other full-time jobs, Bournazian said.

The Genoa Volunteer Fire Department is one of 11 departments that make up the East Fork Fire District. Altogether there are about 250 volunteers.

“I don’t think people realize the time commitment,” Zacharias said, describing his day that started at 2 a.m. with a medical call and ended at about 11 p.m. after a firefighting drill.

“I just drink a V-8 juice and go down the road,” Zacharias laughed.

“We’re on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Bill Hutchison said. “Eighty percent of the nation’s fire fighters are volunteers.”

Hutchison is serving his second year as Genoa’s fire chief and his 26th year as a volunteer firefighter.

“We average about 75 calls a year,” Bournazian said, “which has doubled from 10 years ago.”

The crew enjoys hanging out in the kitchen, “like any other home,” Bournazian said.

They also feel more attached to it because they have earned and spent their own money to furnish and stock the kitchen.

“The taxpayers’ money goes to building maintenance, apparatus and equipment,” Hutchison said. “The money we raise goes to food, drinks and furnishings.”

The volunteers had their own booth at the Candy Dance and held a benefit dinner last month to raise funds.

The fire fighters will always appreciate their new building that’s almost finished.

“Design-wise, it’s one of the best stations in the state,” Hutchison said.

Mutual hard work and dedication has brought the volunteers closer to one another.

“We’re all a family,” Zacharias said.

n Thank you. The Genoa Volunteer Fire Department, dedicated to the volunteers for 50 years of service, 1949-1999, would like to thank the following people and organizations:

East Fork Board of Fire Commissioners: Jacques Etchegoyhen-chairman, Bernard W. Curtis-vice chairman, Kelly Kite, Donald Miner, Steve Weissenger.

Land Acquisition Committee: Charlie Crow, Don Minifie, Wally Adams.

Property Donations: James L. Campbell, Gardnerville Lodge No. 36 of I.O.O.F., Genoa Lodge No. 15 of I.O.O.F. Fred and Toni Anderson, Carson Valley United Methodist Church, The Botella A. Palen Trust.

Building Design: Steve Hollister, Roger Falcke, Edward Zacharias.

Historical Architectural Review: J.P. Copoulos, AAI

East Fork Fire Chiefs: Bill Driscoll, James A. Reinhardt.

Genoa Volunteer Fire Chiefs Acquisition Through Completion: Don Minifie, Wally Adams, Bill Thomas, Edward Zacharias, Butch Downing, Bill Hutchison.

General Contractor: Eureka Builders, Carson City.

Special thanks to EFFPD staff: Don Stangle Steve Eisele.

A special thanks to the volunteers that gave a year to finish this station: Bill Thomas, Albert Montero, Roger Falcke, Dennis White, Mike Bournazian, Natalie Niederost, Dave Cochran, Bill Hutchison, Edward Zacharias, Joe Cronin, Rod Friedline, Butch Downing.