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Turning up the heat to fight fires in Maugansville

April 24, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

MAUGANSVILLE - On Saturday, a slew of cooks will try to help fight fire by creating their own fire.

They'll stoke their grills to raise money for the Maugansville Goodwill Volunteer Fire Co., which hopes to buy a new truck next year.

Grill-Off 2006 is a way "to do a program for our volunteer fire company, to help them with money," said David Imwold, a sales manager for Shawley's LP Gas Co., one of the sponsors.

Fire Chief Phil Ridenour called the community effort "extraordinary." He said some local businesses are supportive, but having them organize a fundraiser strictly for the department is remarkable.

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The department recently bought a new tanker truck for $300,000 and started using it a week ago.

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant covered $225,000. The department paid the remaining $75,000, depleting its reserve fund.

Ridenour said the department has a 1987 fire engine that needs to be replaced.

The expected price tag is $450,000.

Ridenour said the department hopes to buy a new engine next year. Even if it gets a grant to pay half of the cost, the department might have only a small percentage of what it needs, he said.

The organizers of Grill-Off 2006 hope to help replenish the reserve fund.

Imwold said the event got "way out of hand" - in a good way - with people and groups pitching in to help.

Grilling is the heart of the fundraising event.

As of Friday, Imwold said, 20 teams had signed up to compete. He's hoping for 50.

Each team must prepare a main dish and a vegetable dish. The team must cook a dessert on the grill, too.

Imwold said judges will sample the meals and award $300 and a new grill for first place, $175 for second place and $75 for third place.

Randy and Melissa Smith of St. Thomas, Pa., will be a two-person grill team.

Randy Smith, whose company does business with Shawley's, said he's planning on "some sort of kebab" for a main dish and possibly a stuffed tomato for a vegetable dish.

He'll try making funnel cakes this week to see if that will work on Saturday as a dessert.

Imwold said there will be a people's choice award, as well. People can buy "food taster badges" for $5 apiece, entitling them to samples of the prepared dishes.

He said the event will have other elements besides grilling.

The Ruritan club will have a pancake breakfast starting at 6:30 a.m.

There also will be hot air balloon rides, live music and a silent auction.

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