Denver hears from fire official

By on September 19, 2012

By: ALICE HUMMER Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

John Weaver, Denver Volunteer Fire Company vice-president, explained the benefits of keeping Denver Fire Company, a healthy, viable organization, at council’s Sept. 10 meeting.

Without a local company, response times would increase and everyone’s fire insurance rates would go up. Insurance companies base rates on many factors, including proximity to a fire station and type and age of apparatus.

"When I started in the fire company, we had 27 calls per year in the ’70’s; last year we had 318," said Weaver. "During the Sept. 2011 flood, we had over 1,000 public service calls."

"Training hours per year for a volunteer fireman total approximately 2,860 hours," he said. "A full-time job is equivalent to 2,020 hours per year. If you consider men are spending two to three nights per week at the firehouse, and responding to calls 24/7, is it any wonder why volunteers might balk at joining when you say that they are also expected to put in so many additional hours for fundraising?"

Data supplied to council indicates that 41 percent of residents contributed to the fire company’s annual drive in 2002. In 2011, the residential response was less than 30 percent. Business response in 2011 was 26 percent.

"Denver lost some good contributing businesses, such as Weave Corporation, who also supplied manpower for daytime calls," said Weaver. "While companies allow volunteers to leave work, men lose pay for the amount of time they are gone. A fire tax would even out the responsibility of citizens and businesses to keep the fire company healthier financially," he said.

The company replaces one of their three pieces of apparatus every seven years. Medium priced fire equipment is upward of a half million dollars. Currently equipment is in service for 21 years prior to replacement.

In addition, the fire station needs nearly $100,000 worth of repairs.

"We try to have our men patch things and keep things going," said Weaver. "Right now we need a new roof, and our old heating system needs attention."

"What distresses me personally," Weaver said in a telephone interview, "is the lack of community involvement. We hold bingo, community picnics, work at Denver Fair, hold chicken barbecues, a potpie supper and flower sales. We appreciate the people who patronize these and wish that there were more. We always welcome volunteer helpers at these events."

While no decision was made regarding increasing the annual contribution, or a fire tax, council members agreed that something needs done in the 2013 budget to help the fire company.

Other 2013 budgetary considerations outlined by Mike Hession, Denver Borough manager, included: probable increased water and sewer rates, annual debt service of $48,000 for property at 1975 N. Reading Road formerly targeted for a community center and the unknown increase in police costs, which are 46 percent of the budget.

In other business, council:

? Authorized advertising the sale of 521 Poplar Street, a distressed property. Bids will be opened Sept. 24.

? Approved the Nov. 22, 8 a.m., Jim Naumann 5K Memorial Run, contingent on coordination with Denver Fire Police.

? Approved installing a "Children at Play" sign in the alley between Main and Walnut streets and between North Second and North Third Street.

? Approved extending yellow curbing at the intersection of Walnut and North Third streets. Trucks aren’t able to turn safely due to parked cars.

? Learned the new business, Courtyard Cafe on Main, opened Sept. 11. Hours are Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

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