Buildings in Bigfork are getting higher, and Bigfork Fire is trying to catch up.
“If we had to rescue someone from a third story, we couldn’t reach them,” says Chief Chuck Harris. “Rather than waiting ‘till we have an incident, we want to prepare.”
Currently, Bigfork Fire has a 35-foot ladder they fold off the top of their truck. In June they test drove a 105-foot ladder truck. Harris says the longer ladder allows them to reach the top of taller developments, and hard to reach homes on steep slopes or with bad street access.
The cost, however, could be as high as $700,000 for a brand new ladder truck, or as low as $500,000 for a used one. Regardless, the price is beyond the budget.
Harris says the Fire Department plans to sell off one of the trucks and “pray for a loan,” to offset the cost.
Recently Friends of Bigfork Fire started up to help raise funds for equipment. BFD volunteer and FOBF President Joyce Mitchell says firefighters need the longer ladder so they can get up to the roof, vent it, and send the smoke and fire out before they can send people in, otherwise “the best we could do is water down the surrounding buildings.”
FOBF is putting together a golf fundraiser for September 14th; “Niner-Niner”. There’s room for 72 golfers to play Eagle Bend’s 9-hole course twice. It starts at noon and runs until 5:30 when everyone can head over to the Pavilion at Harbor Village for Burgers-Brats-&-Bands. It costs $99 to play, $9 to eat and dance, and businesses and individuals can contribute or sponsor the event. Mitchell says golfers can reserve a spot through her, or the Eagle Bend pro-shop. She can be reached at 837-1800.
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