Hot plate in Pinetown

Published 10:21 pm Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tomorrow, hundreds of people will convene at the Pinetown Volunteer Fire Department to throw their money into the till. At the department’s annual fall fundraiser, a donation buys a plate, or 10, of barbecue and chicken, homemade coleslaw, potatoes and hushpuppies. But according to some, that donation will get you much more: the best barbecued chicken you’ve ever tasted.
“Everything is cooked on charcoal … the combination of charcoal and vinegar-based sauce — it’s just an awesome combination,” said Pinetown Fire Chief Fred Tetterton.
Tetterton said he and the other volunteers are prepared for the onslaught of 700 to 800 people expected — 1,200 plates should do it, but they’ve been known to sell out early.
Tetterton said a handful of volunteers head things up, a handful of the firemen help with the cooking and the community pitches in with home-cooked sides and bake sale goods, as well as with the donations that give the department a little leeway to purchase new equipment each year. Proceeds from this year will also be used to pay down debt on last year’s purchase: an E-One fire truck, a full-line pumper with a 1,250-gallon tank and a 1,250 gallon-a-minute pump. It’s the first truck out on every call now.
Pinetown VFD was called out 52 times last year, to fires and other emergencies throughout its large territory in northern Beaufort County. With 44 firefighters on the roster, the department has a large pool of volunteers able to respond to the call of duty.
“We’ve got such a large area to cover and folks are looking for a way to help out in the community,” Tetterton said, when asked about his roster’s high numbers.
That civic-mindedness was in evidence last year — those 52 calls tallied in 2011 don’t take into account the call to help the community in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. Pinetown VFD spent the days immediately following the storm cutting trees off homes and roads and clearing roadways. The Red Cross served meals out of their fire station; some of those meals, the department delivered to hard-hit Pamlico Beach. When the firefighters were through with the Pinetown cleanup, crews headed over to Aurora and Blounts Creek to help there, according to Tetteron.
“Everything we do is strictly volunteer,” said Tetterton. “I mean, that’s the biggest driving force — getting involved and helping out where possible.”
Tetterton has volunteered with the department for 19 years, and been chief for the last five, but tomorrow he’ll be found helping out behind the grill between 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.
“We’ve got plenty of food to sell — come out and come early,” Tetterton said, issuing the invitation to all of Beaufort County.
Pinetown Volunteer Fire Departments is located on North Boyd Road, near the intersection with Main Street, in Pinetown. Plates are sold by donation.