Pine River Fire Dept. holds 10th open house
The Pine River Volunteer Fire Department will hold its 10th annual pig roast and open house Saturday, Sept. 20, from 12:30-11 p.m. at the fire station on Range Line Road. The event is the largest annual fund raiser for the fire department.
The big raffle prize this year is a brand new Polaris Sportsman 570 ATV, valued at $6,400. Funded by an anonymous donor and the fire department, this is the most valuable prize in the event’s history. Tickets for a chance to win the four-wheeler, or 14 other prizes worth at least $250, are $5 each, three for $10 or nine for $20. Other prizes on the list include firearms, a generator, $500 cash, a 41” TV, chainsaw, Packers tickets and jewelry.
Area businesses and individuals have chipped in to provide hundreds of prizes to be given away throughout the day.
“We get a lot of support from both inside and outside the Pine River community,” said Fire Chief John Uttech.
Tickets are available in advance from any fire department member or at the event.
Fire department personnel will be putting on a vehicle extrication demonstration. The safety house trailer will be on hand and Freddie the Fire Truck and Sparky the Fire Pup will make appearances.
Food, including roast pork sandwiches, will be served from 12:30-7 p.m. Tuck Pence will provide live music from 12:30-4:30 p.m. and America’s Party Band will take the stage from 7-11 p.m.
The Pine River Fire Department held its first open house in 2005 to show off its brand new fire station. The event has grown since then and draws hundreds of people.
The money raised each year is used to improve the department, either by providing additional training for members or by purchasing equipment. Funds from the open house have purchased a thermal imaging camera, paid the majority of the cost of a rescue truck, purchased and outfitted a trailer for the department’s 6-wheel ATV, and purchased pulse oxygen meters for the Pine River First Responders.
The department receives funding from the town of Pine River to meet its basic budgetary needs. For additional expenses, the department relies of fund raising and grants.
The department recently purchased a newer tender truck, with at least half the cost provided by fund raising.
Currently, the department is looking ahead to the replacement of its 30-year-old engine. Funds raised through the pig roast and possible grants will help with the estimated $450,000 cost.
“We are trying, if possible, to minimize the taxpayers’ involvement,” Uttech said.
The township initially borrowed $835,000 to start up the fire department. That loan will be paid off soon.
“We’re looking at hopefully next year burning the mortgage,” Uttech said.
The department’s roster currently includes 28 volunteer firefighters and 13 first responders. In recent years, the Pine River Fire Department and First Responders have averaged more than 80 calls annually. That includes fires, vehicle accidents and ambulance calls, on which First Responders assist.
Over the past year, department personnel have attended specialized training on potential agricultural accidents and incidents.
The fire department also offers fire safety lessons at Pine River School for Young Learners and provides fire prevention inspections to businesses in the township.