Historic Hose Company No. 4 moving out of longtime Harrisonburg fire station

Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 11:37 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Harrisonburg and Rockingham County’s oldest fire company will soon be moving out of its longtime home. Hose Company No. 4 will be vacating the fire station on Rock Street that it shares with the Harrisonburg Fire Department.

Despite its station being located in Harrisonburg Hose Company No. 4 serves areas of Rockingham County just outside of the city.

“Hose Company No. 4 was formed in the 1800s and they were located in the city, at that time actually it was the town of Harrisonburg and then it became the city of Harrisonburg. Over time they affiliated much more strongly with Rockingham County and they are now identified as a county volunteer fire company,” said Harrisonburg Fire Chief Matt Tobia.

Hose Company No. 4 has been serving the area for over 130 years and has done so out of the Rock Street fire station since the 1970s but in a few months the volunteers will move their operations and apparatus to Rockingham County’s fire station on Port Republic Road.

“It’s important that we be able to recognize and be respectful of our history without being bound by our history, that’s an important point. The second thing is that we look forward to a continued relationship with Hose Company Number 4,” said Tobia.

The city of Harrisonburg owns and operates the fire station on Rock Street that has housed Hose Company No. 4 for decades. However, in recent years the fire company has primarily run its operations out of the county’s Port Republic Station.

“Over the course of the last several years, we’ve actually utilized the volunteers I think no more than about eight times where they have been able to staff personnel and a fire engine to be available for calls. They have handled a small number of calls but they have not been an active part of our response model in the city,” said Tobia.

Tobia said that Rockingham County Fire and Rescue had previously asked for continued space at the Rock Street station but after the completion of its newest fire station on North Valley Pike, it notified Harrisonburg that it would no longer need space at the Rock Street station.

“It seems like this is an appropriate and natural time to allow the volunteers from Hose Company Number 4 to focus on providing service to County residents from their primary response location which is the fire station on Port Republic Road,” said Tobia,

Tobia added that the Port Republic Station which was completed in 2020 has already been the official home of Hose Company No. 4.

“The volunteers have dedicated space for both their administrative and operational officers as well as fire apparatus and they also use that facility as a fundraising location with a big social hall and a big commercial kitchen,” he said.

The city does have future plans for the station on Rock Street. It has asked the volunteers to be out by July 1st at which point it will begin planning to replace the station.

“Some capital funding has already been committed to doing so and it is our hope that within the next five years, we would be able to demolition that existing fire station and rebuild a modern fire station on the same footprint,” said Tobia. “We expect that that new fire station is going to have a slightly smaller footprint because it’s our goal to move from what is currently a two-story fire station to a one-story fire station.”

WHSV spoke with the President of Hose Company No. 4 who said that the company is declining to comment on the move from Rock Street at this time.