Webber Township hosts open house

LAKE COUNTY — Last Saturday afternoon, the Webber Township Fire Department opened the doors of its beautiful new fire barn and invited the public on a grand tour to inspect the facility. The crowd that gathered promptly at noon was so large that more volunteers had to grill up additional hot-dogs and hamburgers quickly to meet the demand.

Webber Township officials, delighted with the turnout, could not say enough in praise of the recently completed state-of-the-art building, which has been a dream of the township for a long time. “It’s new, it’s modern — and everybody loves it!” fire-fighter Jessica Schaap stated. “It will make our job so much easier.”

There was universal agreement that the old fire barn had a lot of problems. Not only had the ceiling deteriorated to the point where it was actually becoming dangerous, but also the mold build-up (as unhealthy as it was unsightly) had volunteers admitting that it was “not a good environment” to work in.

Fire Chief Cathey Harvey said it all. “We’re so very proud!” she noted. “The fire barn is a dream come true.” The Webber Township Department has at present 20 volunteers who answer on average 80 to 100 calls for help per year.

“We’re truly a family here,” Harvey says. “I have an excellent crew – they all work well together and they give it their all. They have heart!”

The new structure has a very large garage for the trucks, which also houses the trailer that has been equipped with a smoke-machine and a heater to demonstrate fire safety techniques. The trailer is used to educate citizens and is always a popular exhibit that tours various events like last month’s “Spring Fling” around town.

Also renovated were the storage area for protective suits, oxygen masks, hoses, extinguishers and the like, and the lovely new kitchen. All of the modern appliances were a generous donation from the Whirlpool Corporation.

At last weekend’s festive event, a special plaque was dedicated to firefighter Tony Gagliardo, in recognition of his many years of service to the community. Gagliardo was especially enthusiastic about the terrific job that was done by Gary Johnson Builders, which constructed the firebarn. The project was completed in about a year — and actually came in under budget.