Chili Cookoff a Success

We had another great turnout for the 3rd Annual Chili Cookoff and Pie Baking Contest! Sponsored by the Graniteville Volunteer Fire Company

Congrats to the winners:

1st Place Chili – Randy
Runner Up – Shannon

1st Place Pie – Susan
Runner Up – Michelle

Thanks to everyone who came. We had 8 great chilis, 3 pies and plenty of delicious potluck sides. See you next year!

First Place Chili – Randy
Runner Up Chili – Shannon
First Place pie – Susan
Runner Up pie – Michelle

GVFC receives grant for new turnout gear

The Graniteville Volunteer Fire Company was the beneficiary of a $10,000 grant from the California Fire Foundation in August of 2022. This essential protective clothing was purchased by way of this grant. We are deeply grateful to the California Fire Foundation for their generosity.

Parade and Picnic 2023

Join us on Saturday, July 1st for our annual Independence Day Parade and Picnic. This year’s Parade theme is Hawaiian Beach party 🏝

Fun, friends and free hot-dogs! Raffle to benefit the Graniteville Volunteer Fire Company. Graniteville Fire T-Shirts will also be for sale.

Gather for the parade starting at 11:00am at the Schoolhouse. Picnic to follow. Raffle will take place after lunch. The $5 entry fee for the parade will go toward the prize for best kid and best adult parade entry.

If you can, bring a side dish or dessert to share. If you can’t, that’s okay, come anyway!

Introducing the new Fire Chief Rob Paulus

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Fourth of July parade and came to the picnic. People were very generous with their potluck dishes and there were plenty of hot dogs and food for all. Thank you to everyone who bought a Graniteville Fire Company t-shirt. A special tribute was held for the late Chief Paul Stone. The new Fire Chief Rob Paulus was introduced and he told about his his experience as a former Battalion Chief, and his long association with Paul and the Graniteville Fire Department. He also made a presentation on spray foam as a fire preventative. Welcome to the new Chief.

Paul Stone 1929-2020

I’m sad to share that we lost Paul Stone on Wed, May 27th. He passed away in his home in Graniteville. Paul and Norma’s home was the heart of Graniteville. It was always the gathering place for many wonderful dinners and celebrations. Paul founded the Graniteville Volunteer Fire Company #46.

Paul organized the parade and picnic with the help of the Department and worked tirelessly to get grants, equipment and provide training. Norma is staying with family. Everyone who knew Paul loved him and the heart of Graniteville is broken.

Due to the current situation with the Corona Virus, there will not be a parade or picnic for the 4th of July. Looking forward to carrying on the tradition in Paul’s memory next year.

Paul Stone and his wonderful smile

Ready and waiting / Tiny town’s fire company trains

Published in The
by Doug Mattson

You can get there heading east along San Juan Ridge, but not without thinking you’ve passed it. Or you can drive up the canyon from Washington, leaning into every curve until your stomach does back flips.

But you will get there. You will ask if you’re still in Nevada County. And you will learn what remote means.

Solar, wood and propane power Graniteville. The last business, a saloon, closed 20 years ago. Coins are only good for the phone kiosk on the main drag. Good luck getting your cell phone to work.

Daily newspapers arrive three times a week. In the winter, residents take turns trekking over a head-high snowpack toward the nearest post office, in Nevada City, for everyone’s mail.

Everyone, here, means eight all-year residents.

They live with mountain lions, deer and wild turkeys. They hear coyotes at night, and a bear recently busted a car window reaching for a Pop Tart.

Graniteville is a long way from a lot of things. The hardy say it’s closer to much more.

“I think we’re all modern-day pioneers, and that’s why we enjoy living here,” said Barb Harper, a 20-year resident.

But so much exposure isn’t all good, she and others agree. At 5,000 feet, thick in timber and 40 minutes from the closest fire station, the town sits like sulfur at the head of a match.

“The fuel is terrible,” said Paul Stone, a 72-year-old retiree. “There’s just not the manpower to clear it up, so we’re very vulnerable, no doubt about it.”

That’s why, three years ago, Stone, his wife, Norma, and a mix of all-year dwellers and summer vacationers started the Graniteville Volunteer Fire Company.

Eight strong, they train weekly with hand-me-down and donated equipment. They listen to the scanner and quiz each other.

“Serious nose-bleeding? What would you do?” the Stones recently pondered.

The smallest outfit in Nevada, Placer and Yuba counties, they await the big call that hasn’t come.

“We dread the time that it occurs, but on the other hand, it’s where you gain your experience,” Paul Stone said.

On a recent Sunday, firefighters with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection at Columbia Hill, the nearest station, taught the volunteers how to pull hose from the engine and shoot water.

Easy enough, but the former U.S. Forest Service engine, procured with CDF help, was having pump problems.

Not a big deal, Norma Stone said later. A Forest Service firefighter at White Cloud knows how to fix it.

Parked nearby was a rescue truck donated by the North San Juan Fire Protection District, which also helps with training. Other county fire agencies have pitched in with helmets, hoses and other essentials, and the company also has a heart defibrillator.

The town’s biggest event is its Fourth of July parade. Several hundred visitors buy T-shirts, barbecue and rummage sale items, with proceeds going to the fire company. The plan is to build a barn for its firefighting vehicles and equipment.

County funds provide another $3,000 each year for equipment, medical supplies and insurance.

“They’re truly a group of community-minded local residents who want to do something to protect their area,” said CDF Battalion Chief Rob Paulus, who helped start the company.

Because of its size and isolation, the crew isn’t likely to knock down a big blaze, but no one pretends that’s the objective. Protocol is to radio for help, assess the fire, and let the professional crews know what to expect.

And, if possible, shoot foam or water on the flames.

“Realistically, if it’s a real big fire, they’re not going to be able to put a big dent into it,” CDF firefighter Robert Nelson said during the training.

Later, the volunteers gathered for potluck at the Stones’, a former post office built in the 19th century.

Back then, one of the town’s main functions was breaking up ice along the clogged ditches and flumes that fed water to Malakoff Diggins. But the mines closed, and Graniteville became mostly a cabin retreat. About 40 people live there in the summer.

For Arrin Skelley of Menlo Park, summers in Graniteville are a family tradition begun by his grandparents – except they weren’t occupied learning CPR.

“You know you’re doing something good, and it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “And we’re constantly learning. It’s like being back in school again.”

Tammy Dayton, who lives just outside town, trained with her 2-year-old son, Ricky, in tow. She hopes he’ll become a doctor, but sees him impressed with firefighting.

Bernie Bishop of Oakland has seen the company’s biggest action so far.

Last spring, he and Paul Stone helped Washington firefighters on a 4-acre blaze on Gaston Grade by delivering water. “Being our first call, everything was a learning experience for us,” he said.

The biggest medical emergency came last fall. The Stones treated a man who bit through his tongue after the engine hood of an excavator landed on his head.

“He looked like he was going to go into shock,” said Paul Stone, who drove the victim to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

Meanwhile, the firefighters keep rehearsing their roles. Big fires have, after all, struck Graniteville before.

A blaze in 1878 wiped out all but one building.

Fast-forward to 1987, when a fire stopped a quarter-mile short of town after hopping the Middle Yuba River.

That time, residents opened their homes to crews from across California, Arizona and New Mexico; fire engines were parked everywhere; and heavy smoke permeated everything, Norma Stone recalled.

“To us, they were like gods,” she said, “because they were going to save the town.”