VFD Chief: Firefighter was “Larger than Life”

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 6:00 PM EDT
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RITCHIE COUNTY, W.Va. (WTAP) - Chad Kilburn joined the Cairo Volunteer Fire Department when he was in his 50′s. He served for nearly 8 years before losing his life this week in a motorcycle wreck on U.S. Route 50.

A position as volunteer firefighter is one that often attracts younger people, although not as many as it used to. But Kilburn brought a lifetime of experience to the job.

“He was formerly involved with the Coast Guard, he was a former paramedic, he just wanted to help, and that’s why he joined,” Fire Chief Zach Foster recalled Wednesday/

And he was involved in modernizing a small-town fire department.

“We started our Rapid Response EMS program, and when Chad started here, he was a big part of that,” Chief Foster recalls. “He was a part of running those calls, he was involved in getting involved with it, and trying to provide that medical coverage to our area.”

Cairo, located 30 miles from Parkersburg, is a close-knit community. It’s located near two larger Ritchie County towns, Pennsboro and Harrisville. A sudden loss of an experienced firefighter is one which not only affects the department, but also affects the citizens he served.

Says Chief Foster: “He was bigger than life. So now, to imagine him in the past is really hard to do.”

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