Lack of funds causes Centre County fire company to stuggle to replace equipment

Local News

A Centre County fire company needs to replace several trucks and other equipment but finding the money to do that is posing a problem.

Hoses are essential to fire fighting, but the Port Matilda Volunteer Fire Company is down several hoses.They were worn and did not pass inspection — and it can’t afford to buy more. 

“There’s not enough funds to update equipment and apparatus. and that’s where were in a short fall right now,” Port Matilda Volunteer Fire Company Chief Dean Rudy, Jr. said. 

Fire trucks have an average life-span of about 25 years before they need to be replaced and time is up for several of Port Matilda’s rigs. 

Rudy said their engine tanker is 29 years old. Their engine rescue is 26 years old, but is in such bad shape that it needs to be replaced first.

“We have suspension problems, we have body problems, we have pump problems,” said.

They also need washing machines and dryers. While on calls, hazardous materials burn into the air and get their clothing, but waiting to wash them at home can pose a risk to the firefighters.

“There’s absorptions they can get through skin. Inhalation with…materials still on their coats or pants,” Rudy said. 

With a need for equipment, finding the funds can be hard. County commissioners say funding these companies mainly falls on municipalities.

“But if there ever is a municipality that would like to request funds they can always contact us, put a request in and then we can work it through our channels,”  Centre County Commissioner Michael Pipe said. 

Pipe also said that since there are more than a dozen volunteer fire companies they can’t give to one and not the others, so that also poses a challenge when giving funding. 

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