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A local fire company badly needed a new engine. How community support made it happen

Why fire departments across Centre County are sounding the alarm

Fire departments in Centre County are facing a crisis. The Centre Daily Times takes and in-depth look at what they are facing.
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Fire departments in Centre County are facing a crisis. The Centre Daily Times takes and in-depth look at what they are facing.

A failing water pump on a fire engine almost put the Gregg Township Fire Company out of commission in early February, but through the help of the Centre County community, the company has a new engine.

The engine, called a “pumper,” had a pump failure during two major January fires, causing the company to call an emergency meeting to discuss solutions, the Centre Daily Times previously reported.

Port Matilda Fire Company donated its 1991 engine to Gregg Township Fire Company after a member of the Port Matilda Fire Council of Governments — a federation of the five municipalities the company serves — suggested it, said Port Matilda Chief Butch Rudy.

“We would like to send a HUGE thank you to Port Matilda Fire Co. For donating this Engine to us in our time of need,” Gregg Township Fire Company wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday. “It saved us from having to come up with a lot of money to replace our old Apparatus when it broke.”

Rudy said Port Matilda had been trying to sell its engine back in February, but no buyers were interested. When a member of COG suggested the company donate the engine if there was need in Centre County, Rudy called Scott Breon, chief of the Gregg Township Fire Company.

Breon used to run with Port Matilda when he lived in the area and Rudy said he knew Gregg Township was having trouble with its pumper. The engine needed some work, but at the beginning of March volunteers from Gregg Township inspected it and thought they could work on it.

“It feels great to be able to help someone else out,” said Rudy. Though his fire company is by no means wealthy, he said, they thought their old engine would be best suited to help another fire company in need.

In a phone message, Breon said the engine was not quite running yet, but would be ready in about a week.

Glick Fire Equipment in Salona made repairs to the engine and replaced the fuel tank, which was donated by Poorman’s Welding in Aaronsburg, said Gregg Township Fire Company on Facebook.

“Thank you’s will never be enough for the people that have come to our aid when we were in dire need,” wrote the company. “We also have to thank our mutual aid companies for providing Engine coverage for us while we are down.”

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