Littleton Fire Department gets federal funds

Posted Feb. 19, 2010, at 9:34 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:33 a.m.

LITTLETON, Maine — The Littleton Fire Department will make a much-needed equipment purchase now that it has received a significant grant from the Department of Homeland Security.

Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud announced on Thursday that the volunteer department would receive $212,707 in federal funding.

The money will come from the DHS Assistance to Firefighters Grant program and will be used to purchase a pumper-tanker truck to replace the department’s 30-year-old fire truck.

“That [30-year-old] truck was our initial attack vehicle,” Fire Chief Dwight Cowperthwaite said Friday afternoon. “We have been trying to replace it for some time. I have applied for funding for the past three years.”

The chief said the department has to provide a 5 percent match for the grant. He said that the grant money plus the 5 percent from the town should cover the total cost of the vehicle.

“I am happy not only for the department, but for the town,” he said.

Cowperthwaite said he has visited other fire departments to look at different trucks and speculated it would take a few months before the new truck is purchased.

The Stockholm Volunteer Fire Department received $8,550 from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program. The money will be used for operations and safety. The Lamoine Fire Department also benefited from the program, garnering $14,598 for operations and safety.

Michaud praised the release of the DHS funding.

“Investments in our firefighters will improve public safety by providing the best training, equipment and facilities we can offer,” said Michaud. “With additional resources, first responders can better serve the needs of our communities.”

The funding for the Littleton and Stockholm fire departments came right after the announcement of similar funding for the Allagash Volunteer Fire Department. Allagash firefighters received $39,900 in Assistance to Firefighters grant program funding last week. Sen. Susan Collins announced the news of the funding and said she was pleased to hear about the allocation.

“Our career and volunteer firefighters are among our bravest public servants. The Assistance to Firefighters grant program is an extremely critical source of funds for our fire and rescue personnel,” said Collins. “Since the creation of this program, Maine fire departments have been awarded more than $50 million to help purchase new, used or refurbished vehicles and to obtain equipment for firefighting, interoperable communications, chemical detection and other purposes that are essential to first responders.”

The Assistance to Firefighters grants are awarded to fire departments across the nation to increase the effectiveness of firefighting operations, firefighter health and safety programs, emergency medical service programs, and fire prevention and safety programs. The grants also can be used to purchase new fire equipment.

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