Firefighters Get Gift of Water

NORTHMORELAND TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A volunteer fire company in Wyoming County is looking forward to life on the job being made much easier, thanks to a grant from UGI Energy Services.

The Northmoreland Volunteer Fire Company has to take trips to streams and ponds in the area just to fill up its water tanks. Within the next year, that will no longer be the case. That grant money will be used to build a new water tank right next to the firehouse.

The sound of rushing water down a creek is peaceful to many, but volunteer firefighters at Northmoreland Fire are happy they won't have to go by a natural water source anytime soon.

"Wow. That's what we said, wow."

That was the reaction when UGI Energy Services announced it would be providing Northmoreland Fire Company with a grant of nearly $50,000.

The money will go towards a brand-new water system the fire company will use to fight blazes. Currently, volunteer firefighters must take tankers to local ponds or streams to fill up.

"When you're in such a rural area, such as this, water is not readily available. They have to be mindful of where they're responding to, where water supplies are, whether it be streams or ponds. This project helps them have a more local supply of water," said Dante D'Alessandro, UGI Energy Services.

"This year, it's not too bad because of all the rain we've had, but you get years when it's dry, there's no water in the creeks, the ponds are low. It's hard to get water," said Northmoreland Volunteer Fire President Jim Gilpin.

Northmoreland Fire covers five counties -- Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wyoming, Bradford, and Susquehanna. Instead of traveling to fill up its tanker, volunteers can just come out to the parking lot. A 25,000-gallon tank will be underground within a year.

"It is a huge sense of relief. It allows us to protect our high-hazard areas by laying a supply line to the residences and businesses in town," said Northmoreland Chief Chuck Story.

You can only imagine what navigating a massive tanker by a stream would be like in a snowstorm. Northmoreland Fire adds that the water system can also be used by other fire departments in the area.

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