– Emergency services are an important part of the community and are always there when you need them.
Wayne County is fortunate to have many fire companies and volunteers who are working to protect everyone in their communities.
Among them is the Maplewood Fire Company.
Vice President Ed Bodzio said the Maplewood Fire Company is in a unique position.
“There are only four ladders in Wayne County and we have the only ladder in the southern part of the county,” he said. “It gives us a little bit of individuality.”
There are around 24 active members of the fire company and 36 total, which includes fire police.
The Maplewood Fire Company's main coverage area is all of the Lake Henry area of Maplewood. They also provide mutual aid to fire companies like Lake Ariel and Jefferson.
“There's a lot we go to depending on what they need us for,” said Chief Dave Corazzi.
On average the company receives 12-20 calls a month.
The fire company was started in 1961 and was incorporated in 1962.
There is only one station.
“Some of the fundraisers are proving to be less valuable than actually doing them,” said Bodzio.
“The thing is there's so much effort and so much manpower that has to into making a fundraiser work,” Corazzi added.
He also said the cost doesn't usually help either.
“The businesses do give us the best price they can, but certainly they can't afford to give it to us for free,” he stated. “That being said, there's just not a lot of profit in it. People might think 'that's terrible the fire company is looking down their nose at say $100.'
“It's not that. If it takes three days of volunteers' time to prepare, go shopping and everything that comes with it, for the return that's in it, it's hard to justify that.”
Corazzi added that's another issue.
“The area is awash with fundraisers for fire companies, church groups and different fundraisers that are being held every weekend for some needy cause, so it's very difficult to get the community to come out in any kind of numbers to support something,” he explained.
“Ambulance, fire and rescue are something you can't do without and everybody benefits from it. Ultimately in a year's time you've touched somebody in the community, either directly or indirectly, you assist them in some way.”
Corazzi added nothing is getting cheaper and prices continue to rise. He said now it's not uncommon for a fire truck to cost over $500,000.
“New standards that are in place by the government mandate that equipment be replaced every 10 years like our protective gear,” he said.
For example, one breathing apparatus is over $7,000. Corazzi also said OSHA mandates two people always respond in a hazardous environment.
“You can't send one guy, you have to send two, so now just two air packs are $14,000 and that doesn't include the helmet, coat, boots and pants,” Corazzi stated. “Arguably you could have $15,000 to outfit each guy. When you put three days' effort into having a fundraiser and you're going to make $50 on it, it's hard to justify.”
He added you can only go to the well so much.
“Every Tuesday night we train,” Corazzi stated. “We have meetings that have to be done for the administration of the company, then there's calls.
“That all takes time. Add on top of that a whole day fundraiser and out of the month you’ve got a lot of time invested. It's a tremendous commitment on top of asking them to also raise the funds to pay for the fire department.”
Corazzi said they rely on the generosity of the public.
“It's the community that owns the fire company,” he said. “We have the commitment to be active. Hopefully we instill that in new members that come along.
“It's not a hangout, it's not something like that. We come here and we train. We have some fun and have that brotherhood environment, but we're serious about what we do.”
Fire companies do more than just respond to fires and accidents.
They are a big asset to the community and like to show their support by sponsoring various events.
The Maplewood Fire Company deals with financial issues like other companies. These events also provide opportunities for the community to donate to the fire company and help them out.
“There's no dedicated fire tax in Lake Township,” said Corazzi. “Lake Township has two fire departments, Maplewood and Lake Ariel.
“We do receive a donation from Lake Township each year, but we rely solely on our fundraisers that we have and our envelope drive that we send out every year.”
Bodzio said the Maplewood Fire Company does the annual fire safety at Clayton Park, a memorial service at the cemetery, fire safety with 4-H groups.
“We help with trees that are down and when basements need to get pumped,” he said.
“If anything goes wrong in the community, the first people who get called is the fire department,” stated Corazzi, “whether it's a tree down or their basement is flooded or their power goes out, whatever it might be, it seems like there's always something [we do].”
Interested in becoming a member?
You can visit them on Facebook by searching Maplewood Fire and Rescue, visit their website, www.company68.com, contacting a member of the company or stopping by the firehouse.
You can also contact Ed Bodzio by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.