BERLIN – The Berlin Fire Company will conclude Fire Prevention Week with an open house and an all-you-can-eat breakfast this Sunday.
On Sunday, Oct. 11, the Berlin Fire Company (BFC) invites community residents to support the local fire fighters by attending a breakfast fundraiser and touring the fire house in honor of national Fire Prevention Week. David Fitzgerald, president of the Berlin Fire Company, says volunteers will be available to answer questions, show off the company’s equipment and provide demonstrations.
“We’re here to help the community but we also want to promote fire prevention,” Fitzgerald said.
The open house will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Those firefighters who aren’t busy entertaining visitors will be in the fire house kitchen, cooking the all-you-can-eat breakfast to be offered from 7:30-10:30 a.m.
For $9, attendees can eat their fill of pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, waffles, biscuits and cereal. Children under 5 eat free and those under 12 can eat for $5. Carry-out plates are available for $7.
Breakfasts like this one, which take place once a month at the fire house between October and March, are one of the fire company’s primary fundraisers.
“We depend on the community to help us out,” Fitzgerald said.
He says that as the community continues to grow so do the demands placed on the fire company. Fire and EMS calls handled by the Berlin Fire Company have been on the increase. The company’s 50-60 members respond to more than 300 fire calls a year and more than 1,500 EMS calls a year. While the company does have some paid personnel, the majority of its members are volunteers.
“Volunteers are taxed very heavily on their time,” Fitzgerald said.
Of course that doesn’t stop them from doing what they can to help their community. Berlin resident Ryan Nellans joined the fire company three years ago. It’s a cause he feels strongly about.
“We do it because we want something, because we want a better community for our families and friends and children,” he said. “We want that badly enough to get out of bed at absurd hours or enter burning buildings or even scrub pots and pans after a community breakfast.”
Fitzgerald says fundraisers like the monthly breakfasts are important because many people mistakenly assume their taxes fund the department. He said that while it did receive grants from the town and county, the organization faced growing expenses in an economy where fewer and fewer citizens could afford to support it. It also went some time without funding from the Town of Berlin as it struggled to address harassment concerns associated with a lawsuit filed by a former BFC paramedic. Though the case is still moving through the legal system, the fire company has repaired its relationship with the town and is trying to move forward.
In addition to seeking financial support from the community, the BFC and its auxiliary, which meets on Oct. 13, are also working to recruit new volunteers. Anyone is welcome to join.
“Seeing members of our community go out of their way to support us is really crucial to keeping up morale,” Nellans said. “And really, despite the ongoing legal issues, I think that it’s important that the public remembers that we’re far from monolithic. We are just as varied in our lives and outlooks as the community we serve. I think that is something that’s been overshadowed in the last few years.”
For more information on the fire company or its auxiliary, call 410-641-1977.