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Coaldale dedicates new fire truck

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    Coaldale Fire Chief Steve Polischak, left, and assistant chief Kevin Soberick break bottle of champagne on the bumper of 2002 Spartan Aerialscope during the truck’s dedication on Saturday. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

Published September 09. 2018 08:19PM

Two dedications, one which was announced and the other a surprise, occurred Saturday at the Coaldale Fire Company.

The planned one was for the company’s newly purchased, 75-foot aerial, a 2002 Spartan Aerialscope.

The other was a rededication of its building, which was originally dedicated in 1986.

The building remains dedicated “to the past, present and future members of the Coaldale Volunteer Fire Company No. 1,” just as it was at the original dedication.

A new plaque adds:

“This building also serves as a reminder of the leadership and dedication of Ron Polischak. A lifelong member who helped make the department what it is today.”

Polischak was an active, 47-year member of the Coaldale Fire Company and was a past president and past treasurer, holding an office most of those years. He died at the age of 65 on May 13.

He was the father of the current fire chief Steve Polischak.

The building re-dedication was planned by members as a surprise to their chief as a way to honor his father for his years of commitment to the fire company.

The dedications were part of the fire company’s annual Coal Crackin’ Rock the Block festival.

Preceding the dedication, a fire truck parade was held featuring apparatus from throughout the region.

The fire truck arrived in October 2017 but members decided to wait until the festival to formally dedicate it. It was purchased from the South Hill Fire Department in South Hill, Virginia for $150,000.

The new truck replaces a 1980 tower.

Ironically, the South Hill Fire Department has replaced the truck it sold to Coaldale with a 2018 KME AerialCat, 100-foot platform, which was constructed at the KME Plant in Nesquehoning where Polischak is employed.

A new aerial truck costs over $750,000 equipped, which was financially impossible for the Coaldale Fire Company. Polischak said the 2002 model was purchased through the state Fire Commissioner’s volunteer assistance program and a donation from St. Luke’s Hospital.

He said repayment of the loan is planned for 10 years.

About 150 people attended the dedication program, which was highlighted with the christening of the truck by Polischak and assistant chief Kevin Soberick, who broke a bottle of champagne on the front bumper. After the christening, firefighters pushed the new apparatus into the fire station.

The truck was blessed by The Very Rev. James Weremedic of St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Coaldale.

The fire chief said his late father had been involved in making the purchase of the truck.

He said when he told his father the fire company bought the truck, Ronald was told, “You have made the largest purchase in the 111-year history of the department.” Steve said it is now 112 years.

The chief said the new truck was already used at two working fires, one in Lansford and one in Tamaqua. He said of the purchase, “Just in past months it proved that it was worth it.”

Mike Vaughn, fire administrator and deputy chief of the South Hill Fire Department, attended the dedication and spoke about the brotherhood of firefighting.

He said when he first met with members of the Coaldale Fire Company, “it reminded us what true brotherhood means in the fire department.”

“It’s a small world for you to be purchasing our old truck and Steve is working on our new truck,” he said.

Also giving remarks during the program were Scott Cramer, president and assistant chief of the fire department, and Angela Krapf, president of Coaldale Borough Council.

KrapF praised the volunteer firefighters for their dedication to the community.

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