When volunteer fire companies have equipment issues, it can be a real problem because there isn’t always money available to replace it.
That’s what’s happening to a Centre County department and it could put lives in danger.
The Gregg Township Fire Company has had to call for help at the last two fires they’ve fought because their water pumper stopped working.
The Gregg Township Fire Company says they’re vulnerable without a water pumper truck and don’t want this to end up costing lives.
Jeff Stachowski, moved back to Spring Mills after being away for years. He says it’s home and wants his hometown to be safe.
“We’re concerned about our houses and and our properties and in this small community this fire company is part of this town, it’s the essence of this small community,” Jeff, said.
After the fire pumper wouldn’t pump water at last week’s fire in Spring Mills, the fire company sent it to a repair company.
It’s a 1991 pumper worth about ten thousand dollars. Repairs could cost as much as twenty thousand dollars, that’s if parts can be found. If parts can’t be found they could buy a newer pumper, but that would cost one-hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
Fire Chief Scott Breon says they already have lots of utility costs and also need to replace old fire gear for the fire fighters, which will cost around sixty-six thousand dollars.
“Our outgoing bills are way more than what we have coming in,” Chief Breon, said.
They could apply for a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but there’s still problems with that option.
“It takes a little over a year until you apply for that grant, than once the grant is approved, then you have to go build the truck, and the truck could take anywhere from six months to a year to build,” Chief Breon said.
Keri Miller, Supervisor for Gregg Township tells WTAJ having a fire tax on local residents may not be the best way to raise more money. The township and Jeff would prefer to see the community step up and donate the needed funds.
“This is what we do and the fire company is who we are and we need to band together to try to help them raise the funds,” Jeff, said.
The fire department hopes to hear from the repair company Friday if the parts for the pumper can be ordered and how much it would cost. It’s that, or order a new pumper.