Grand Opening of New Fire Station is Bittersweet

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LITTLE MEADOWS -- Folks who live along the Susquehanna and Bradford County line have a new fire station to help keep them safe.

Fire trucks from around Susquehanna County and even New York paraded from the state line down Pennsylvania Avenue to the grand opening of the new fire station for the borough of Little Meadows.

To make this a reality, folks at the Little Meadows Volunteer Fire Company and Rescue Squad tirelessly raised more than $500,000.

“We have had chicken barbeques. We have had pancake breakfasts,” fire company president Mary Shaughnessy said.

A $350,000 check from Talisman Energy paid for the remainder of the $875,000 project.

Firefighters said they really realized how inadequate the old fire station was during the flood of 2011 when victims came seeking shelter.

“It was awful, just awful. It tore me up to see an elderly woman sitting there shivering, and we couldn't do anything to help her because blankets was all we had at that time,” said Shaughnessy.

The new station can serve as that shelter and has room for more fire trucks and community events. All those pancake breakfasts were held at Whitetails bar.

While the grand opening is a celebration, for this family of first responders, it is also bittersweet.

“My nephew was the chief here and died unexpectedly in 2014,” Shaughnessy said.

Chief Chip Barnum, who dreamed of the new station, never got to see it. He died from complications of diabetes at the age of 38.

“[It’s] very, very hard. He would love to be standing by his brothers and sisters,” his sister Jan Krupinski said.

Outside the station is a memorial to the chief, but family members say if you want to feel his spirit, just come inside.

“Absolutely everywhere. He's here,” Shaughnessy added.