Volunteer fire stations are on the endangered species list in Chesterfield. As professional firefighters have been trained and put to work at state-of-the-art facilities across the county, volunteer stations have taken the back seat to stations manned by Chesterfield’s pros, even though volunteers go through the same training.
But Bruce V. Vecchioni, chief of the Enon Volunteer Fire Department, who recently retired from his position as chief, has made the Enon station an exception. His station of volunteers has positioned themselves as being invaluable to Chesterfield’s firefighting infrastructure. With the station being only a couple of miles from the James River they are often called on to use their fire boat to address emergency issues on the river. Mr. Vecchioni was recognized last week by the Board of Supervisors with a resolution, his third during his many years manning the Enon station, for his many contributions to fire service in Enon.
“When I first visited the Enon fire station back in the ‘90s, it reminded me of where I grew up in the suburbs around New York City and the fire stations I grew up around,” said Bermuda District Supervisor Dorothy Jaeckle after presenting Mr. Vecchioni with his resolution. “I just can’t thank you enough for keeping that fire station going for so long and it’s such a center of the Enon community. It’s so much more than just a firehouse.”
Vecchioni has served as district chief of the Enon station for 28 years. He has been recognized with four Life Save Awards, 14 Unit Citations and was recognized by the Virginia Senate, the Virginia House of Delegates, and Chesterfield Board of Supervisors for risking his life to rescue a citizen from a vehicle accident in a flooded creek.
During the presentation, Vecchioni thanked his family, and his adopted son Bobby Burnett.
“Bruce was mentored by the late Chief Warren Cunningham and between Bruce and Chief Cunningham they have manned the Enon station for over 50 years,” said Dickie King, who hosted Vecchoni’s retirement party at his Kings Korner Restaurant. “Bruce has been a good friend of mine for years and I can attest to his honest integrity, work ethic and passion for anything he does.”
Vecchioni has enabled Enon Volunteer Fire Department to be selected as the Volunteer Company of the Year 28 times.
The Enon station, through Vecchioni, was instrumental in purchasing the first fire boat in the region; the design of brush units, which included obtaining grant funding to purchase Brush 6 and successfully solicited funding contributions for project construction at the Enon Fire Training Facility.
Keeping himself busy at all times, Vecchioni has long been recognized as an important asset with rural water supply operations in light of the Enon area being behind the curve on getting water infrastructure in place. At the same time Enon was a rural community, it also had an industrial component, so the Enon volunteers had to be trained as industrial firefighters as well.
“While he is stepping down as chief, he remains active with the volunteer company and the citizens of Chesterfield and the Enon community,” said Chesterfield’s fire chief, Edward L. Senter Jr.
Formed in December 1949, the volunteers in Enon immediately constructed a two-bay building. The first engine was a 1941 navy truck, which had been converted to a pumper.
According to the Enon Volunteer Fire Department website, “in 1964, the State Highway Department expanded Route 10 between U.S. 1 and Hopewell. The old building was destroyed and a larger three-bay facility was constructed close to the old site. In 1971, a new bay was completed to house a brush truck. Today, Company 6 remains the only fire company in Chesterfield County to be staffed solely by volunteer firefighters. The volunteers operate an engine, tanker, brush truck, fire boat, and first response vehicle.”