By: Wayne Allen Wallen@communitycommon.com
June 18, 2012
Due impart to damage caused by the F-0 tornado that toppled the Otway Fire Department Storage building in March, the State Fire Marshal presented to the department a check for $15,000 Saturday.
The Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of State Fire Marshal has a grant program, in which we distribute $1.6 million in grants to mostly volunteer fire departments. About half of that money we designated for training reimbursement grants, Larry Flowers, State Fire Marshal said.
He said the department received a training reimbursement grant for $4,900 a couple of months ago.
About the time chief (Gamble) applied for a $3,500 equipment grant for some boots, the tornado visited Otway. I contacted the chief and encouraged him to reapply because of the unique situation. As a result, we were able to increase that equipment grant to $15,000, Flowers said.
Otway Fire Department Chief Rick Gamble called the occasion a good day for the Otway Fire Department and its members.
The betterment of the fire department is everything Ive ever wanted. Weve had our fundraisers, weve tried our best in the past to do everything we possibly could. We thank the lord for everything we have and everything thats being added to us now. Its a great day for Otway Fire Department and all of its members, Gamble said.
He said the equipment grant will be used to purchase new protective gear for the firefighters.
Gamble said the village signed a contract last week with a company to design a new fire station. He also said the insurance company agreed to pay $91,000 for the damage caused to the departments storage building.
According to Gamble, the department has received some bids on what it would cost to rebuild at the site of the former storage building. With some bids as high as $180,000, Gamble said the department would need a loan for an additional $100,000 to $150,000 to rebuild.
Once the new station in constructed the current location of the fire station will be sold.
Several fire departments from across the region have donated items from equipment to fire trucks.
A volunteer fire department in Uniopolis, Ohio in Auglaize County donated a 1983 pumper tanker truck. The department recently received a 1984 E-One Engine donated by the Madison West Virginia Volunteer Fire Department.
Two fire departments in northern Kentucky near Cincinnati donated fire turnout gear including gloves and boots.
According to Otway Mayor Suzanne Nichols, the donated fire trucks and equipment will not fit in the departments current facility and are being kept at the homes of members for storage.
Gamble is hopeful construction will begin on the new station later this year or early next year.