Beckley fire fighter returns home safe from fighting wildfires - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Beckley fire fighter returns home safe from fighting wildfires

Posted: Updated:
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • UPDATE: Power Restored to Over 400 in Raleigh County

    UPDATE: Power Restored to Over 400 in Raleigh County

    Monday, September 1 2014 12:33 PM EDT2014-09-01 16:33:12 GMT
    Emergency crews are responding to a downed tree on the 300 block of Stovall Road in Glen Morgan Monday (9/1) morning.
    Emergency crews are responding to a downed tree on the 300 block of Stovall Road in Glen Morgan Monday (9/1) morning.
  • Update: Names Released in Deadly Crash in McDowell County

    Update: Names Released in Deadly Crash in McDowell County

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:54 AM EDT2014-09-01 15:54:18 GMT
    Fatal Car Accident in McDowell CountyFatal Car Accident in McDowell County
    Two people were killed in a car crash Sunday, August 31. Troopers at the Princeton detachment of the West Virginia State Police said three people were traveling from Cheers in Princeton back home to Northfork when they crashed on Route 52 near Switchback. One man and one woman were killed and one man was sent to Bluefield Medical Center. Troopers told us in a statement made by the survivor, the man said the driver was drunk and driving too fast on wet roads when they lost control of the car.T...
    Two people were killed in a car crash Sunday, August 31. Troopers at the Princeton detachment of the West Virginia State Police said three people were traveling from Cheers in Princeton back home to Northfork when they crashed on Route 52 near Switchback. One man and one woman were killed and one man was sent to Bluefield Medical Center. Troopers told us in a statement made by the survivor, the man said the driver was drunk and driving too fast on wet roads when they lost control of the car.T...
  • Update: New Information Released in Raleigh County Murder Investigation

    Update: New Information Released in Raleigh County Murder Investigation

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:48 AM EDT2014-09-01 15:48:36 GMT
    Joe Collins is arrested on murder chargesJoe Collins is arrested on murder charges
    The Raleigh County Sheriffs Office made an arrest Sunday after a man was murdered in Glen White.Joe Collins was arrested and is being charged with 1st degree murder for the shooting and killing of Larry Totten.The incident occurred Sunday morning at Mr. Tottens residence.
    The Raleigh County Sheriffs Office made an arrest Sunday after a man was murdered in Glen White.Joe Collins was arrested and is being charged with 1st degree murder for the shooting and killing of Larry Totten.The incident occurred Sunday morning at Mr. Tottens residence.
BECKLEY -

Robert Donelow with Beckley Fire Department is one of several firefighters home safe in the mountain state after an exhausting 2 weeks out west.

He and his troop spent about 12 hours a day digging fire lines on a steep mountainside in Montana, Idaho and other states.

"I don't know if I wasn't expecting it but I was not ready for the terrain, it was really steep. A lot of the fire fighting was taken on by helicopters because the terrain was so rugged," said Donelow.

He said for most of the crew, fighting fires like this was like nothing they've ever done before.

"It's hot, it's tiring, it's ice on your tents in the morning and 90 degrees an hour later and the elevation, up and down, it's really hard," said Donelow.

He told 59 News one of his favorite parts was actually getting to interact with some of the residents they helped who got displaced from their homes.

"We camped out in one of the guys front yards and every evening he came down and gave us high fives. They were really thankful and that's really the reason we do it," he said.

Not only did they have to fight in about 90 degree weather every day but the fire fighters also had to add on 50 pounds, 30 in their backpack and another 20 in protective clothing.

Looking back, Donelow said despite how hard it was, he'd go back in a heartbeat.

"It was really fun to be honest, we had guys in our crew from West Virginia all the way to Maine, a lot of good guys from the Division of Forestry and Park Service, but we worked together very well and it was a good time," he said.

Several other firefighters from the Mount Hope Fire Department and the Division of Forestry also returned home safely this week.