"We need to do a fundraiser, we need toilet paper," said Russell Hauck Jr, volunteer firefighter and Fire Police Captain with Citizen's Fire Company of Middleport. Even though his statement was said in a comical manner, his statement still reflects the struggles local fire departments face when trying to raise funds for new equipment.
That is the current issue faced by volunteers and firefighters of the Citizen's Fire Company of Middleport.
"A new set of basic firefighting gear (helmet, goggles, hood, coat, gloves, bunker pants, boots) costs just over $2,500," added Hauck. Volunteers added that their current pumper truck, a 1984 mack Midliner, is always being repaired.
Even though we have two fire trucks (brush and tanker truck), both are in need of immediate and expensive repairs," said Melissa Strausser, Assistant Chief. "To make things worse, it is almost impossible to find parts for these old trucks."
"We desperately need a new pumper truck," said Todd Amos, President and secretary. "A new truck will better serve Middleport and surrounding communities." He added that it is getting more and more expensive to keep all their gear up to date with federal and state regulations.
The company, which covers all of Middleport and assists in other surrounding communities, has responded and assisted with structure fires, brush fires, motor vehicle accidents, providing landing zones, traffic control, fire alarms, CO calls, controlled burns, search and rescues and so on. They added that several members are also DCNR qualified.
"We have our sights on a new pumper truck," said Amos. "All we need is $17,000 (which is 5% of the $308,000 required via a Federal AFG Grant).
The new truck would replace the companies old pumper, and offer improvements in water tank size, pump capacity, gear storage, safety and reliability. It would also require less firefighters to operate.
To support the company, fire company volunteers hold fundraisers throughout the year, such as block parties, Bingos, boot drives, Chinese Auctions and so on.
"The community and borough council are very supportive via our fundraisers," said Fire Chief Darren Borger. "95 percent of our company's income is derived via fundraisers."
To make a donation to the fire company, mail any donations to P.O. Box 219 Middleport PA 17953. Make the check out to New Truck Fund.
The fire company, founded in 1907, will be holding a fundraiser this weekend in hopes of raising donations for a new truck. The event will consist of a block party, games, music and rides from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday. The second day of the event, Saturday, will consist of the same events, to include an apparatus parade at 2 p.m. and fireworks at dusk.
"Fire companies are similar to my job, we live pay day to pay day," added Hauck Jr.