Md. fire company donates pumper truck to Ky. station destroyed by tornado
Other area departments and businesses joined the Reese & Community Volunteer Fire Company in Westminster to send the vehicle, hoses and tools
Katie V. Jones
Carroll County Times, Westminster, Md.
WESTMINSTER, Md. — A custom pumper truck retired from service at Reese & Community Volunteer Fire Company in Westminster will soon be on its way to Fulton, Kentucky, to help a station destroyed in recent tornados there.
On Dec. 10, the Fulton County Fire and Rescue Station in Kentucky was wrecked during a series of deadly tornados that traveled through that state as well as Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. The tornados killed 90 people, including 80 in Kentucky, between Dec. 10 and Dec. 11.
Four fire trucks housed at the Fulton County fire station were also destroyed.
A few days after the destruction, during a board meeting at the Westminster fire company, an idea started brewing.
In March the station had retired a 2000 Ferrara Inferno custom pumper truck with a 1,000-gallon tank. The truck had less than 45,000 miles on its odometer when it was replaced by a younger 2,000-gallon tanker. Reese had put it up for sale, but found that its color — lime green — made it less than desirable. Some suggested donating the truck to the Fulton County station.
"It was an unanimous decision from the floor to help the Fulton company," said Kati Townsley, second vice president of the board and public relations manager for the Reese department. "It really choked me up."
Townsley said that fire departments from around the region, including ones in Landsdowne and Upperco, donated items such as hoses and tools to restock the truck with necessary apparatus, as it had been stripped by Reese in preparation for being sold.
Local businesses are funding transportation costs for the truck to be shipped to Kentucky. A Go Fund Me page was also started to further support the Kentucky station, and has raised $12,000 as of Monday, according to Townsley.
"It's incredible to raise that kind of money," Townsley said. "In fire services, it's a given. In this community, it's a gift."
The fundraising goal is $20,000. "That will be a really nice gift to give them," she said.
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The engine is set to leave for Kentucky in early January and members of the Reese station will visit during the Martin Luther King holiday weekend to provide instructions for the vehicle. They also plan to deliver a steel shipping container filled with more fire equipment and apparatus, as well as new clothing for two of the volunteer firemen who lost their homes.
"It has really changed this community, the outpouring of love, from people we don't even know," said Fulton County Fire & Rescue Chief Wade Adams, in a statement on Reese's website.
The Fulton fire department serves a rural community of about 1,500 in southwestern Kentucky. Currently, fire crews in neighboring areas are helping with emergency coverage as the Fulton department rebuilds.
The only request the Fulton department had, Townsley said, was for each contributing fire department to give them a patch with their insignia on it.
"They have been amazing and very, very gracious," Townsley said. "They are so overwhelmed and grateful."
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