MAHANOY CITY -- Fire funds are usually set up for people who have lost their homes or businesses. Now one has been established for firefighters whose fire company was ravaged by flames over the weekend.
Just about everywhere you turn there is charred equipment inside the Washington Hook and Ladder Company in Mahanoy City. The biggest tool in firefighting is the ladder truck. It's worth about $400,000.
Officials say most of the damage is where the batteries are housed although a final cause hasn't been determined. The quick moving blaze hit the fire company early Saturday morning and at first there were some concerns.
Frank Mummey and another fire company member were cooking in the basement for the county-wide fire convention. Mummey said they left about two hours before the blaze erupted.
"If it started up here while we we're down there, we would by toast. We wouldn't be able to get out. They thought we were down there and they knew we were the last ones in there, so they were worried about us."
Howell Davis is the fire company president. Davis said the blaze made some firefighters feel helpless.
"When you come in and can't do anything, you can't fight the fire because the gear is inside."
Some homes were evacuated as a precaution that the fire would spread.
Lori Edjar cried because of the ordeal.
"It's just, I don't know, I can't explain it, it's just everything's horrible!"
Assistant Fire Chief Mike Matunis explained the firefighters who have helped the community countless times now need a helping hand.
"There is a lot of stuff here we'll never get back. The insurance money is going to pay for some things but it is not going to pay for everything. We need help."
A fire fund has been set up to assist the firefighters. Checks can be made out to the Washington Hook and Ladder Company and deposited at any M&T bank.