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Funkstown Fire Co. awarded federal grant for new fire engine

August 29, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

While the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. celebrated notice of receipt of a $198,000 federal grant, several other companies in Washington County were waiting to find out if they will get their piece of the $360 million pie.

"This money will mean two things to us," said Funkstown Fire Chief Jonathan Gift. "First, we will be able to phase out a 1982 four-wheel drive vehicle with a 1954 pump and a 1967 pumper and then purchase a new fire engine that can respond on wildland fires and other calls."

Gift said the other benefit is that the money raised by the company for the new engine will now be freed up to purchase new personal protective gear and other equipment the company needs.

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The news came over the weekend, Gift said. It wasn't known when the money would arrive, he said.

In its second year, the 2002 Assistance to Firefighters grant program comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Fire Administration. More than 19,000 fire departments applied for grants this year and just over 5,000 will receive money, said USFA Administrator R. David Paulison.

Last year, the only Washington County company to receive funds from the grant was Long Meadow Volunteer Fire Co., which has applied again this year and is waiting to hear. Last year the company received $52,000, which was used for a special medic assist/brush unit, said Chief John Latimer IV.

This year Long Meadow requested $14,000 for hoses and nozzles, he said.

Also awaiting work is the Halfway Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Jeff Ringer said the requested $128,000 would, if received, be used for new turnout gear for the firefighters.

Latimer said he wasn't sure how many other companies applied but apparently only Funkstown has heard back.

Elsewhere in Western Maryland, three other fire companies have learned they will receive the funds they requested.

U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes, both D-Md., announced Friday a total of $339,364 in federal funding to the four companies.

Mikulski "was very supportive, even writing a letter on our behalf to the FEMA administrator," Gift said.

LaVale Volunteer Fire Department in Allegany County got $47,056 for a thermal imaging device; Myersville Volunteer Fire Company in Frederick County received $11,520 for a wellness/fitness program; Oakland Volunteer Fire Department in Garrett County will use $82,788 for new fire hose and nozzles, 20 large air tanks and a new compressor to fill the cylinders.

That brings to eight the Maryland fire departments that have received funding totaling $795,835 from FEMA so far this year, Paulison said.

Fire departments can apply for money for training, firefighting equipment, protective gear, fire prevention programs, and firefighting vehicles.

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