Houtzdale-Supervisors, firefighters, community talk about future of fire coverage

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79 year-old Nancy Brown lives in Sterling, Clearfield County.

She’s worried about her safety after seeing Houtzdale Fire Company’s Facebook post about only having enough funding to serve Woodward Township through December unless the Board of Supervisors sign a contract with them.

“In Sterling we’re kind of a retired community, there’s elderly all up through there and I just hate to think if there was a fire and nobody would come,” Brown, said.

She says there’d be an economic consequence too.

“Is our house insurance, fire insurance going to go up?” Brown, said.

Monday evening, volunteer firefighters from the Houtzdale Fire Company told residents and Woodward Township supervisors that while they’re getting $9,000 a year from the township, they need twice as much to keep up with operational costs.

Jeffrey Arnold Jr. who’s with the fire company says the township needs to levy a tax to pay for fire services.

“We ran the assess value of everybody’s house,” Arnold, said. “On the high end it’s about $35 per household, with the average person paying about 15 to 20 for an entire year for 12 months of fire services.”

Brown says they don’t want to be stuck without a nearby fire company to help, especially with Winter coming.

“It could be very dangerous with the cold weather coming and everybody having their fire places and furnaces on and it could be devastating if something like that would happen and nobody came,” Brown, said.

Supervisors say they’ll discuss one option several residents brought up Monday night, which would be to sign a two or three year contract with the Houtzdale Fire Company and then let residents vote next May if they are willing pay a mill for fire services.

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