LAUREL HILL — Almarante Fire District volunteers are celebrating their 30th anniversary with a July 26 open house.
Attendees can enjoy free food, including hamburgers and hotdogs at no charge, although donations are requested.
After munching, they can see some of the volunteer fire department's recent additions.
“We just hit the lottery,” said Mack Wilkins, fire district commissioner. “This department is more prepared than it has ever, ever been.”
The department will unveil 14 new turnout gear PPE, or personal protective equipment, awarded through FEMA.
Chief Charles Carroll filed for the grant in November, which allowed the department to pay just $11,000 for equipment that cost over $112,000.
If maintained properly, the new gear — including new helmets, turnout gear and self-contained breathing apparatuses — will last for nearly a decade.
With the turnout gear, fire engine and new equipment — including a new fire hose, rescue saw and thermal camera — Carroll said the district has no debt other than regular operating expenses.
In addition to displaying the department’s facility and fire rescue vehicles, the open house will feature an inflatable bounce house for children, a fire safety house and a dunking booth.
Children can also expect Smokey Bear, Sparky the Fire Dog and McGruff the Crime Dog.
Bass angler David Howard will display his boat, give fishing tips to children, and give away a $400 fishing trip. Several door prizes will also be up for grabs, including a 50-50 auction.
Overall, the district's volunteers want to show why they are capable of serving the community.
“We want everyone to come and help us celebrate — because we are proud of what we got,” Wilkins said.
WANT TO GO?
WHAT: Almarante Fire District open house
WHEN: Starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 26
WHERE: Almarante Fire District, 3710 Old California Road, Laurel Hill
COST: Donations for food requested