By SAMANTHA MCDONNELL
OBSERVER Staff Writer
ANGOLA – Not every day do you see a live fire in downtown Angola and have the ability to take a ride in the fire company’s ladder truck. The Angola Volunteer Fire Company held its annual open house on Saturday giving residents a first-hand look inside the department.
Community members were invited to the fire hall on Commercial Street in the village to check out the apparatus, try on fire gear, learn fire safety tips, have an opportunity to ride in the ladder truck, enjoy children’s activities as well as view live fire demonstrations.
“We want to get the community in here. It’s their equipment, we just serve them,” Chief Charles Carlson said why the company holds an open house. “Without the community, we would not be here.”
He said about 200 people attended throughout the day. He said the “turnout has been amazing.”
As part of the demonstration, firefighters lit two mobile structures on fire to demonstrate how quickly a fire can spread, how a smoke detector works and how a sprinkler system can extinguish a fire. The two mobile demonstration sites were made possible by a state grant. Both fire demonstration centers were constructed by the fire company and are able to be utilized by other departments in the area.
Carlson said the only thing that will have to be fixed will be new plexiglass, which the company bought on their own, and some new paint. The mobile sets can be used a few more times before they will have to be rebuilt. Helping with the demonstrations were Capt. Douglas Streebel who operated the pumper, Capt. Nicholas Dybdahl who operated the hose nozzle, Lt. Tony Corsaro and Lt. Andy John who were also on the hose and Second Assistant Chief Ronald Friend who was a safety officer. Prior to the demonstrations, Carlson gave some fire statistics to the crowd.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency report for 2008 and 2010, there were an average 365,500 residential fires were reported annually in the U.S. “That cost $7.4 billion in loss (per year),” he said.
Most of those fires, Carlson said, were attributed to carelessness and electrical causes. He said 22 percent of homes did not have smoke detectors. This year’s statistics reported the fires decreased by 500,000 but fires started in the kitchen are among the leading cause.
Shane, age 8 and Kayla, age 5, both of Angola, attended Saturday’s demonstrations. Shane said his favorite part was seeing all the children.
“My favorite part was seeing smiles on little kids faces and passing out stickers to them,” Shane said.
Kayla, who watched the fire demonstrations, said her favorite part was the smell of burning wood.
“I like it when it smells like burnt crackers,” she said.
Carlson wanted to thank the Angola Village Board, the Evans Town Board and all the members of the fire company for helping with the demonstrations and the grants. The fire company also has a grant where they are able to install smoke detectors for free to area residents.
“A state grant allows us to go in and install smoke detectors at no cost,” he said.
Another state grant the company received allows them to replace or upgrade car seats for children. There is no residency requirement for the children’s car seats.
The UNYTS mobile blood donation center was also on hand, as were local Boy Scout Troop who were hosting a bake sale and the Evans Police Department.
For more information on the company or to become a member, call the company at 549-3022.
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