This past weekend was a joyous occasion for members of the Diligence Fire Company in Summit Hill. They got to move some items into their new fire station.

The move is long overdue.

The fire station was originally scheduled to be completed by Dec. 1, 2008. Firefighters initially were realistic in believing it probably would be after Christmas of that year that they would occupy the structure. Never did they think it would be nearly 14 months later.

Full occupancy still hasn't occurred. This probably won't happen for another two or three weeks. A new concrete floor was installed. The curing, and then testing, must occur before the apparatus can be brought into the building.

The structure was basically completed about 10 months ago, but has been vacant because of problems with the floors, air conditioning, heating, and other elements. Not all the problems have been addressed.

The Summit Hill Borough Council finally has agreed to a temporary occupancy permit to let the fire department use the facility.

Since the Spring of 2008 when they vacated their former fire station so demolition of it could occur, the firefighters have been using scattered, temporary facilities. Some items were kept in a Pod. Other things were stored in the Summit Hill American Legion. The apparatus was kept in the borough garage. One fire truck was even stored in the garage of Evans Fuel Oil.

The members of the fire department worked hard this weekend doing cleaning, carrying boxes, organizing some items, and getting acquainted with their new headquarters. It's obvious they were anxious for this to occur.

The borough council still is awaiting receiving state financing toward the construction costs. The borough likely will endure legal costs in getting some outstanding construction issues resolved.

But at least the firefighters have a home again.

Besides working on getting the fire station in order, members are priming for their annual fund drive. The drive consists of letters mailed to residents seeking donations.

Hopefully the residents of the town will respond generously. Certainly the economic climate is not good at the present time, but the people of the community must realize the important role of the fire department, and the expenses confronting them this year.

In essence, it's a new beginning for the fire department. The borough council gave the department an appropriate home. Now the community is obligated to show its support.

By Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com