The tables recently were turned, and it was Bellefonte’s fire companies that got a helping hand.
The Logan and Undine Fire companies received a $189,050 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency last week.
The companies will use the grant to install sprinkler systems in the two fire companies, according to Don Holderman, the borough’s assistant manager.
Bellefonte Fire Chief Tim Schreffler said the companies previously had been denied when they applied for a grant to install sprinkler systems.
“We have applied, but didn’t get it in the past,” Schreffler said. “But we understand there is more than just Bellefonte. Others have applied for grants, too, and we feel we’re very fortunate to be accepted at this time.”
Schreffler said there is no timetable for when the sprinkler systems will be installed, because engineers need to determine how the systems need to be located in the buildings.
He also said there is a percentage the company must pay to have the sprinkler systems installed, but that it will be a “small amount.”
Schreffler said he hopes the community follows the company’s lead.
“We’ve had some major fires in Bellefonte, so we encourage our districts and businesses to install sprinkler systems and to protect themselves as much as they can,” Schreffler said. “I think this shows that we’re very serious about that and that we believe this is a necessity,”
Schreffler said no one is immune to fire and cited the destruction of Undine Fire Company in 1964 as an example. The only salvageable item from the 1964 fire was a bell that is now in front of the current station.
“A lot of years ago in the ’60s, the Undine Fire Company lost their department due to a fire, so no one is immune to one,” Schreffler said. “We all carry the same risk and same probability of something occurring, and we believe this is a giant step forward in our mission to protect the community.”