Dalton Fire Company Needs Big Fix

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DALTON -- Members of a fire company in Lackawanna County are getting ready to begin their carnival fundraiser already knowing the proceeds won't come close to covering its bills.

Dalton Fire Company members are putting the finishing touches on the carnival grounds just off Routes 6/11.

Like many volunteer departments, the carnival is the main fundraiser for the year. In Dalton it's more important than ever this year, since the firefighters were hit with a big bill to fix their building.

Every summer for decades, the carnival grounds are lit up and filled with people for the annual Dalton Fire Company carnival.

Fire Company Vice President John Holbert says it doesn't cover the bills quite like it used to.

"Besides running numbers, everyone who has the fancier cell phones is checking the weather! They're checking the weather on their cell phones!"

Firefighters have spent the past month getting the grounds ready for this year, hoping the carnival will bring in more money for 2013 because they need it.

The Dalton Fire Company has a little bit more to worry about than many other volunteer departments because they not only provide a service but they also own the building that not only houses the fire trucks, but also the Dalton Police Department and borough offices.

And it doesn't look like it from the outside, but the building needs a lot of work.

Fire department officials say the building's drainage has failed so the foundation walls are damaged and the borough offices and police department located in the basement occasionally get water.

It may cost the department $100,000 to fix.

Normally, the carnival only raises enough money to cover the company's operating costs.

"This goes a long way toward helping pay those bills, being the fact that we own the building downtown and all this up here, we also have to maintain them," Holbert said.

For now, firefighters have only done some patch work such as damage to the handicapped ramp.  The problems will persist until the fire company can come up with the money to fix the drainage problem. Officials are looking to get state grant money and they may need a few more fundraisers.

"All this stuff builds up and builds up and builds up and it's all to serve the public, that's the only reason that we're there," Holbert added.

Firefighters in Dalton say they're really hoping for dry weather the rest of the week. They say that makes a huge difference in the amount of money they make.

The carnival kicks off Tuesday evening.