GLASGOW – An open house to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Cave City Volunteer Fire Department is being planned for October.
The event will take place from noon to 5 p.m. on Oct. 20 at the fire station along North First Street. The public is invited to attend.
Kevin Jandt, fire chief, said he was caught off guard by this year being the 100th anniversary for the fire department.
“I always knew the established date,” he said, but it didn't dawn on him that this year was the 100th anniversary of the fire department until someone asked him how the fire department was going to mark the milestone. “I think it's pretty good to have been going that long. Most everybody is excited.”
Federal, state and local dignitaries have been invited to attend the open house.
“We haven't gotten a response back as to whether or not they will be here, but we have sent the invites,” said Cave City Councilwoman Beverly Ford.
Ford attends the fire department's meetings on a regular basis.
“It averages about 100 runs a month and that's pretty high for a local volunteer fire department,” Ford said. “Most of your paid fire departments don't do that many runs. They are really serious about keeping the citizens of Cave City safe.”
The fire department has made more than 700 runs for the year, a lot of which are medical runs.
“We run close to 800 a year but we're probably going to end up pushing it way up there because the last couple of months we've been close to running 90 to 100 runs a month,” Jandt said.
Cave City has several hundred thousand visitors during the summer months coming through town and Jandt thinks that may attribute to the high volume of runs the fire department has been making the last couple of months.
Ford wanted to see just how busy the fire department was, so she had alerts sent to her cell phone, which shows her it is responding to medical runs constantly.
“Being so close to the I-65 corridor is why I think they stay extra busy,” she said. “I just don't think they receive enough credit for all that they do.”
The fire department has 31 members on staff, and three junior firefighters who are undergoing training to become a firefighter once they turn 18.
“Those guys hold full-time jobs, but yet they give untiring service to the community,” Ford said. “I'm just proud of those guys. I go to their meetings and I get to enjoy them. I didn't know a lot about the fire department and they take the time to show me about the trucks and how they operate, what they have to have, and they communicate with me about what they are doing. I'm hoping we can really blow this out of the water, celebrating them for their 100th anniversary.”
The fire department is selling T-shirts in recognition of its 100th anniversary and money generated from the T-shirt sales will go to help fund the purchase of equipment.
“We're looking at needing some turnout gear,” said Kevin Poynter, battalion chief for the fire department. “I'm actually looking at getting another set of Jaws.”
By “Jaws” he is referring to a Jaws of Life tool, which is actually equipment that includes cutters, spreaders and rams used to free car crash victims from wreckage.
“That's probably going to be coming up the next couple of years,” he said.
Instead of purchasing a hydraulic-powered tool, Poynter said he would like to see the fire department purchase one that is battery-powered because they can outwork the hydraulic-powered ones two to one.
Poynter has also mentioned to city officials about the need of another fire engine to replace an existing one.
“That's going to be down the road too,” Poynter said.
The fire department currently has four fire engines and one rescue truck. The oldest fire truck the fire department has is a 1946 Chevrolet, which is primarily driven in parades and displayed at other community events.
“We've got a new medical rescue truck that has been ordered or is in the process of being ordered, so hopefully, we will have a new medical truck here before long,” he said.
The fire department receives about $11,000 a year in state aid and the city of Cave City pays for its fuel and the fire station's utilities. The fire department also receives a little more than $8,000 a year from the Barren County Fiscal Court. The rest of its funding comes from cost recovery from insurance companies the fire department receives for responding to wrecks and from fundraisers.
“We do a couple (of fundraisers) a year,” Jandt said.
The fire department will be partnering with the Caverna Kiwanis Club to do a pancake fry during Cave City Proud Days later this month.
“Our big one that we try to work on is the Haunted Woods coming up the first weekend in October that we run through every weekend in October,” Jandt said.
The money from the fundraisers also goes to support the purchase of equipment for the fire department.
Cave City Mayor Dwayne Hatcher praised the fire department for all the hard work it does.
“Obviously, they are doing things right to be in existence for 100 years,” he said.
Hatcher said the firefighters are really dedicated to Cave City and the surrounding communities and hopefully that dedication will continue for many years to come.