CABINS, W.Va. – Firefighters from across the country are in Pendleton and Grant counties battling a wildfire in the Monongahela National Forest for a second week. On Saturday, they got to sit down to a home cooked meal prepared by some thankful locals.
Ed Fischer and his wife own the North Fork Mountain Inn just three miles from the fire. Fischer ran into a couple members of the U.S. Forest Service Saturday afternoon.
“I asked them if they’d like to have [their crew] come over for dinner that night because we only had a couple guests at the inn,” explained Fischer. “I figured I could handle feeding them. They said there would be about 20.”
Fischer high tailed it home and got to work in the kitchen. That’s when he got a phone call.
“[The forester] said, ‘Can you feed 53?’ And I said, ‘Sure!'”
Fischer put more food on the stove and around 5:30, the fire fighters arrived for a three-course meal that consisted of chili, chicken noodle soup, pizza, garlic rolls and blackberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream. All of it was homemade. He said considering what the crew has done for the community, it was the least he could do.
“This is our way of saying thanks for all the hard work that they’re doing,” according to Fischer. “We realize in many respects they’re helping protect and keep our inn safe.”
At that table were fire fighters from all across West Virginia and crew members from Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee.
The firefighters are working 12-hour shifts. They’d been on the fire line all day. Fischer said the crew looked weary but had healthy appetites. They were extremely thankful for the meal.
In fact, Fischer said the entire community has a great appreciation for the firefighters from out of state and especially those from volunteer fire departments around the area.
“I think it’s one of those things where, in a small community like this, everybody seems to be aware of what’s going on and they are very grateful because they realize we depend a lot on volunteers,” stressed Fischer.
The Fischers have invited the firefighters to come back to the inn for a weekend of relaxation, in the future, at a discounted rate.