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Bingo funds buy special helmets for firefighters

March 06, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION

Two local fire departments will soon have specially designed helmets which allow firefigthers to see through smoke, thanks to a $30,000 donation from Bingo Island.

Since last July, Bingo Island has been running a special game every night to raise money to buy three of the helmets, which will cost $85,000.

Saturday night, the Washington Street bingo hall reached its goal of raising $30,000 for the helmets.

Antietam Fire Co. now has $75,000 for the helmets, enough to allow them to order the equipment, said Robert Daveler, Antietam's special projects coordinator.

Barbara Dunlap, one of the owners of Bingo Island, said the fund raising took longer than she expected, but patrons were generous.

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"It's because of the patrons that we made it," said Dunlap.

One of the helmets will go to Daveler's department and the other two will go to the Hagerstown Fire Department, Daveler said.

The device is a helmet-mounted camera that allows firefighters to see in pitch-black smoke. Bodies appear as white shapes when firefighters use the camera to search through smoke-filled buildings.

Other fire departments in the Tri-State area have bought the helmets, including the Martinsburg, W.Va. Fire Department and the Franklin Fire Co. in Pennsylvania.

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