Fire department's addition, aerial truck dedicated
A number of speakers addressed the new additions to the Northampton Fire Station along with the department's latest aerial fire truck at a dedication program Saturday.
As many said, purchase of the aerial truck would not have been possible without the dedicated volunteer firefighters, borough officials and a united community.
The construction project expanded the fire department to eight bays.
Chief Robert Solderich received the green light from borough council and the administration headed by borough Manager Gene Zarayko in 2013 when a bond issue was approved, allotting funding for the 4,000-square-foot addition at a cost of $500,000.
Highlights at Saturday's ceremony at the Lerchenmiller Drive station included a ribbon cutting by Northampton Mayor Thomas Reenock, council President John Yurish and Solderich. It also included the unveiling of a bronze commemorative plaque and bottles of champagne christening the 2009 KME aerial platform truck-4221 and the station addition. At the end of the ceremony, firefighters and officers pushed the huge aerial truck into the bay.
"These are our firefighters. This is their house. This is the station where they belong," Reenock said.
He said the community had a dream in 1974 of a central fire station that culminated in reality in the late 1990s. Reenock issued a proclamation noting the dedication of the addition and an aerial platform truck.
"I thank you all for your dedication," Yurish said to the firefighters, adding he is proud to be a part of a community with such a dedicated group of volunteers.
"It's about effort that leads to team effort," commented Robert Mateff, Northampton director of emergency services.
State Rep. Julie Harhart, R-183rd, said the firefighters are "very appreciated, putting their lives on the line every day."
Solderich introduced the officers and firefighters and pointed out no firefighters have been injured or killed over the last decade.
"I'm proud of all our firefighters," the chief said. "What we have here today is unbelievable, basically a miracle.'"
"They give us solace, peace of mind. They are running in burning buildings while we run out," said Councilman Anthony Pristash, president of the Northampton Area Chamber of Commerce.
Zarayko credited the teamwork for making the project a reality.
The borough's first volunteer fire company was established in 1902. Siegfried once operated as three separate stations – First Ward, Central and Alliance – which merged in 1996 and settled at the present location.