LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — Inside the garage of the firehouse, a 1956 pumper and ladder combination fire truck from Glasgow Volunteer Fire Department is the newest addition to the Fire Station 4 Airbnb on Rivermont Avenue.

The restored truck still runs but didn’t fit inside the Glasgow department so the Woodland family opened up his home to it recently.

Tim Woodland and his wife, Shannon, purchased the circa-1905 fire station at 1210 Rivermont Ave. adjacent from the Exxon station at the corner of Bedford Avenue in 2018. The couple has been renting out the bottom as a short-term rental since May 2020.

“We took off like grease lightning,” Woodland said. “People were sick of being isolated and kept inside and they wanted to get out. Lynchburg is a great place for hiking and outdoor activities and it really took off.”

The Woodlands, who moved to the area in 2017 from the Tidewater region, moved into the upstairs portion of the 7,700 square-foot, two-story structure in the fall of 2018.

Behind the fire truck are donated fire helmets and gear that he encourages guests to try on and take photos of to share with him, which he then hangs on a wall in the garage.

Woodland, who retired after 30 years with the Chesapeake Fire Department, drove past the station on Rivermont for the first time and “nearly snapped” his neck.

In its glory days, the firehouse ran two teams of horses and fire apparatus into area neighborhoods.

The fire station was in use until September 1991 when a new Fire Station 4 was built at 410 Birch Street that same year less than a mile away.

The city sold the vacant fire station to Tony Gambone in 1993 for $20,000. Gambone, an electrician, rewired the entire building and lived there.

In 2004, Nancy Marion purchased the building for $90,300 from an auction, according to Lynchburg GIS, and did the majority of the painting and renovations inside.

For the next 14 years, the building was occupied by the Marions, who lived on the second floor for a few years before building lofts to rent out to their children and eventually to college students.

Today, Woodland primarily uses the downstairs for Airbnb rentals but occasionally has opened the garage for weddings and other small events. The Airbnb can sleep three people but can fit more with an air mattress, he said.

“The Airbnb is set up to look like just an old firehouse,” Woodland said. “It even has a log book for people to write in and leave notes. People just love the space.”

He said little work was done to the firehouse except some painting, new ceiling fans and new light fixtures.

The living space with 13-foot ceilings also is known as the middle bay, where horses originally were housed. It also is home of the 65-foot hose drying tower.

A large firehouse kitchen sits adjacent to the living space, as well as a full bathroom with firefighting memorabilia.

The Lynchburg Fire Department has equipment, parts of an old fire truck and photos at the Airbnb for guests to enjoy.

“Things are here to be handled, taken out of the cabinets to take a look at and to be enjoyed,” Woodland said.

Other memorabilia includes firefighter patches from all over the country that have been donated to Woodland, helmets, photos, the original phone from the firehouse and one large sign hanging above the bed that a buddy of Woodland donated to him after he closed his restaurant.

The vast majority of guests don’t tend to use the kitchen, which still is in its original state, Woodland said.

“Most people are here for one night,” he said. “People are traveling south to north or north to south and Lynchburg seems to be a great stopping point.”

He said he gets a lot of parents of college students who come to stay while visiting their children.

There is a 1950s television on top of the refrigerator making it look exactly the way it would have when the firehouse was in operation.

The cabinets are original but Woodland added a new sink and faucet, as well as a double oven.

Woodland said his wife Shannon did most of the landscaping outside with a garden, bistro table, towering trees and a fence separating guests from the business of Rivermont Avenue.

“We just hope people enjoy the space,” he said.

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