This is the last option our department has. We have tried everything in our power to get help. We understand that everyone is in bad shape right now because of the economy. But our department is in really bad shape right now. We have had to go from having a paid staff to changing it to a fully volunteer department. We have two firefighters here 24/7, my Lieutenant and I. We run all types of calls. The reason we are here 24/7 is because if no one answers on a medical call within 4 minutes we lose our medical response, which will cripple our district due to the response time unpredictable response time that EMS has. So my Lieutenant and I have put our life on hold to help our department out. The other paid firefighters couldn't afford putting everything on hold, which is understandable, but they still help when they are not working to give us time to relax. Our department has 4 trucks: 1971 American Lafrance Pumper (refurbished in 1980), 1973 American Lafrance Pumper (refurbished in 1980), 1995 F-350 Brush Truck, and a 1991 Coca-Cola Truck as Service 1. We spend thousands of dollars keeping these trucks running and up to par with what we do now. That is the main reason we, the firefighters, have had to withdraw our pay. I am sure by this point you are wondering why we don't just sell the trucks and buy newer and more reliable trucks. Well, the fire department has a bad reputation from the previous staff.
The Arkwright Area Fire District was first established in 1964 after the Arkwright Mill was built. The Chief that took over our department in 1997 is the cause of why we are struggling so bad now. Him and his mother(a previous commissioner) took out a government loan on our two fire trucks that I mentioned earlier. It was a total of $285,000 and we currently have a yearly budget of $83,000. Which breaks up to $25,000 towards the loan payment, roughly $10,000 to $15,000 to repair our trucks and the remaining amount pays the bills. We have enough money to barely get by right now and the trucks we have are not wanting to continue doing the job they were built to achieve. This loan is hurting us more than we expected. We can't do anything with the trucks until it's paid off. We have certified and dedicated members but our equipment is out-dated and falling apart. We have the heart for firefighting. To us, just like many other firefighters, it is not only a job but also our life. The brother/sisterhood we build is hard to find anywhere else. Our department does have a bad past that is hurting us. But we are not ready or willing to give up. We are fighting to keep this department open. We have a new Chief that has done a lot for this department to change the community and neighboring fire departments view of our department but our equipment is bringing us back down. The Arkwright Area Fire District as a whole is asking our fellow brothers and sisters for your help. Anything you can do to help us keep our department open and running will be greatly appreciated.
Our Information is: Arkwright Area Fire District
1070 Southport Road
Spartanburg, SC 29306
Fire Chief: James B. Owens
Deputy Chief: Mark Bailey
Assistant Chief: Josh Simmons
And I am: FF Omar O. Kablawi
Thank you for your time! We greatly appreciate anything our brothers and sisters can do!
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04-15-2009, 12:56 PM #1
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- Spartanburg, SC, USA
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