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Hancock firefighters excited over building addition

February 17, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

HANCOCK - The Hancock Volunteer Fire Co. has experienced a lot of changes in its 77-year history, including recent additions and improvements to the building on Fulton Street.

A new bay was added, bringing the number of bays to three so the hall can hold six pieces of equipment. The new upstairs has a meeting room, two bunkrooms with showers and storage.

"For years we have been storing equipment in members' barns - now it's all here where it belongs," Capt. Greg Yost said.

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A commercial kitchen is expected to improve attendance at bingo and make the building more attractive for other organizations to use, for a fee.

Some of the volunteers stay overnight in the bunkroom so they can respond to fire calls with no delay, Yost said. Hancock has 15 to 20 active volunteers and no paid personnel.

Downstairs, the former kitchen was converted into a breakroom and office space was provided for the company officers, who previously had none.

"We've been squirreling away money for many years, which gave us a good down payment for this," Yost said. The company borrowed the rest and will pay it off with proceeds from future chicken barbecues, other dinners, expanded bingo and other fund drives. Yost said the hope is that the debt will be paid off within 10 years.

The first fire company building was at the other end of the property from the time the company began in 1928. When the current building was built in the mid-1960s, the old building was razed.

The company is getting an engine tanker that was ordered in November and is expected to arrive in July.

"We got a $274,500 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2004," Yost said.

The total cost of the new vehicle is $367,000, with the volunteers making up the difference.

"The last time we had a new piece of equipment was in 1989," Yost said. "It will replace a 1980 truck which is giving us a lot of maintenance problems."

This year will bring new emphasis on community-based programs through the fire company, Yost said.

Volunteers plan to start Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) classes in February to train people in what to do in emergency situations.

A junior fire company will be formed to help keep the supply of fire company volunteers steady. "We have applied for a grant to get that started," Yost said.

Currently 16-year-olds can join with guardian consent.

"We also want to do a DVD on fire prevention for the elementary school," Yost said.

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