Less than a day after fire damaged the Groveton Volunteer Fire Department’s station, Chief Ken Kisow was swamped with phone calls and emails offering loaned equipment to replace boats and trucks the fire damaged or destroyed.
The June 20 fire destroyed the Robinson station’s water rescue team equipment and many of the 19 members’ personal belongings.
Damaged beyond repair were a pickup truck, the air/light support truck that carried gear, recharged air tanks and lit up fire scenes and the UTV — a six-wheeled, off-road vehicle where the fire appears to have originated.
Surveillance video shows flames starting in the area of the UTV’s batteries. Investigators erected a plywood box around the remains of the UTV until it can be determined exactly why it burst into flames while parked in the unoccupied garage.
Kisow got many offers that he was grateful for, but unable to accept. He has run out of space and already has gotten temporary replacements for all the equipment the department lost. An online GoFundMe fundraiser had gathered nearly $3,300 as of Tuesday afternoon, while other donations were mailed to the station.
“I think the outpouring of support and the speed at which the GoFundMe account went up were impressive,” Township Manager Jeff Silka said. “It just shows Robinson Township takes care of its own.”
North Fayette supplied food to the volunteers. And the nearby Forest Grove fire station loaned Groveton a fire engine until Sunday, when Groveton got back the engine that volunteer Steve Campbell crashed through a stuck garage door so it could be used to fight the fire.
The township’s other fire departments, Forest Grove and Moon Run, were on standby to cover for Groveton.
Thanks to the loaned equipment, Groveton is back to answering calls.
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