It's spring, and time once again for the volunteers who tear themselves from family, sleep and jobs to risk their lives fighting fires to ask a little something in return.

American Fire Co. No. 1 has launched its annual fund drive, and its volunteers are asking Lansford residents for their help.

The fire company needs about $50,000 a year to pay for fuel for heat and vehicles, utilities, insurance, equipment and maintenance, said Second Assistant Fire Chief Joe Greco.

This year, firefighters have the added burden of needing repairs to the leaking roof of the aging fire station on East Patterson Street. Depending on the extent of repairs, the project could cost between $15,000 or as much as the company's entire annual budget, Greco said.

All it takes is $25 from each household in the borough to pay the bills.

The annual fund drive is crucial. "This is one of our major fund-raising events, other than our stands at the (Summit Hill) Stay-at-Home festival and the Miners' Festival," he said.

Last year, the fund drive raised only about $19,000, with about 28 percent of residents responding.

Firefighters - who are friends and neighbors - help everyone, even those who won't donate a few dollars to help out.

Last year, firefighters responded to 155 calls, from house fires to car crashes to carbon monoxide alarms. They logged 1,317 hours responding to calls, training, performing community service and working to raise money to keep it all going.

The fire company also needs more volunteers for fire fighting, fire police, fundraising and administrative work. Those who can offer help are asked to call (570) 645-7171 on Thursday evenings.