DELAWARE WATER GAP — Volunteer firefighters in Monroe County are fighting to keep their fire house running.
The Delaware Water Gap Fire Department has had its current fire house since the late 1960s, but since it was built not much has been updated.
Now the repairs aren’t just needed, they’re critical.
The fire trucks are ready with gear lined up for the next call but volunteers says they fear the next alarm could be for their own station.
“It’s hard knowing that the firehouse is falling apart on us and there’s nothing we can do about it,” said Delaware Water Gap Fire Chief Brad Miller.
Chief Miller says this fire house has some major hazards. The building’s heating system is from the 1960s and barely functions. The wiring is old and needs updating and that caused a spark in one of their boxes just a few weeks ago.
“That’s something where you don’t want to get a call responding to your own firehouse saying it’s on fire,” said volunteer Michael Smith.
Tile is ripping off the floor and rodents have chewed through gear, even through some of hoses.
The problems aren’t just inside the firehouse, they’re outside, too. Just a few weeks ago, the wind caused a gutter to fly off the firehouse and there’s still visible damage from Hurricane Sandy.
“To let it get to this point of disrepair is, you know, somewhat disheartening. There’s no question about it,” said volunteer John Siptroth.
Siptroth has served with this department for more than 45 years and says now more than ever, his fellow firefighters are working to rally the community for support.
He’s going door to door with a different kind of fundraiser, an online one called Go Fund Me.
“Without their support, we’re not going to be here, and with us not being here, their insurance rates are certainly going to go up considerably. So we need to work in harmony.”
At least one Delaware Water Gap business is on board already.
“There’s been several times where if I had a customer have a problem, they were here within minutes. So I really need them here,” said Ken Austin, owner of Sycamore Grill.
Fire crews in Delaware Water Gap are hoping to raise about $10,000 to kick start some of these much needed repairs.