East Spencer Fire Department receives grant funds
By Shavonne Walker
EAST SPENCER — One of the biggest goals for the East Spencer Fire Department is being accomplished, thanks in part to a state fire marshal grant that will help them replace outdated equipment.
The department has been looking to replace 10 air packs, all of which are nearing their lifespan. The department just received a state fire marshal’s office grant that will give them $60,000 worth of equipment.
The grant is a 50/50 match from the town that will cover four new air packs, add five sets of turnout gear, pagers, radios, and a rescue saw. The grant will also help replace some worn out hoses.
“We are trying to get them (air packs) replaced before the end of their life, which is March 2018,” said Fire Chief Josh Smith.
Smith said the department also received $10,000 from the Blanche and Julian Robertson Foundation that will be added to the state grant to purchase more air packs. Smith said they’ve gotten pledges and donations from businesses that should enable them to buy the air packs.
He said the department is also looking at more funding from the state fire marshal’s office through an EMS grant. Since the fire department is a first responders agency and provides basic rescue service, it qualifies for the grant.
Through all of the grants, pledges and donations, the fire department should be able to replace six of the 10 air packs.
“This has been a high priority issue,” Smith said. “Things are going very well with minimal cost to the town.”
Smith is also looking into a Firefighters Support Foundation grant to purchase air packs.
More construction and station improvements are on the horizon including repairing the concrete floors. Smith said the department received a generous donation from an anonymous citizen that will enable them to paint and resurface the floors.
The project is expected to cost about $1,500. The repairs will also include to an upstairs storage area within the fire station. The firefighters, Smith and local businesses, with help from the fire department’s auxiliary, were able to donate funds for repairs.
The repairs are slated to be done by mid- to late-June.
“Firefighters have stepped up to help out to make it easier for the town and citizens to get everything they can for their money,” Smith said.
In fact, residents will have an opportunity to see the changes to the station during a planned open house. The open house/community day will be held Saturday, July 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 207 S. Long St. Although the event is free, donations will be accepted to help offset the cost of the event.
The free event will include a tour of the station and the fire trucks, a meet and greet with firefighters, a dunking booth, food and drinks, the smoke house for children, Sparky the fire dog, and a live vehicle extrication demo.
Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.
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