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Sharpsburg fire company gets $38,000 grant

November 30, 1999|By DAN DEARTH

SHARPSBURG ? The Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Co. has been awarded a $38,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to purchase an emergency generator, Fire Chief Darryl Benner said.

Benner said the office of U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., notified him Wednesday that the fire department would receive the money. Mikulski's office did not release the information publicly until Thursday.

As a condition of the grant, the fire department will have to pay $2,000 toward the purchase of the generator, Benner said.

"To be able to be awarded any type of grant money nowadays is exciting," he said. "It's very competitive ... We're just tickled to death we received this. It will allow us to provide uninterrupted service to the community."

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Benner said the fire department hasn't had a generator for about 20 years. When a storm knocked out power in the past, firefighters had to manually lift the bay doors so the trucks could respond to calls, he said.

"We've been escaping the bullet for all these years," Benner said.

The fire department will shop around to find the best value, he said. If everything goes well, the generator could be installed before the spring.

Benner said grants of this nature are a big help to the fire department, considering it relies heavily on fundraising to operate.

Melissa Schwartz, a spokeswoman for Mikulski, said the grant was awarded through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. Since 2001, Washington County fire and Emergency Medical Service departments have received more than $5.7 million from the program, she said.

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