Community remembers former fire chief


RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — Family and friends of a former fire chief are taking time to honor his memory following his passing.

“Bruce had one of those demeanors that, as I said, he had high expectations and he cared deeply for the fire service,” said Bobby Palmer, a representative for James’ family.

He was a devoted firefighter, husband and Chief. He served with the Bradley-Prosperity Volunteer Fire Department for 42 years. During his tenure, he helped the fire department grow to be a lasting presence in the community.

“Chief James helped develop substations for Bradley-Prosperity, he developed a station two, station three, station four,” Palmer said.

Palmer served with Chief James for sixteen years. He says his expectations were high and it motivated him and others to better serve Raleigh County. Above all, Palmer said Chief James was ready to help anyone, no matter the emergency.

“A member of the community would call up to the firehouse and be like ‘Hey, can you help me with this?,’ I’ve got this problem and Bruce was always one to be like ‘Yup, we’ll be right there,'” Palmer said.

He said the fire community came together to honor Chief James’ memory after his passing Sunday, September 19, 2021.

“Within a matter of a couple hours, we were able to gather dozens and dozens of emergency vehicles and fire service personnel, volunteers from throughout the county,” Palmer said. “And what we did was we were able to provide him an escort from the Hospice House to the Funeral Home.”

The funeral service for Chief James will be held Saturday, September 25, 2021, at the Family Worship Center in Beckley.

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