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State $$$ headed to fire departments

Five area departments receive grants

Five Bureau County fire departments are among 193 fire department statewide to receive Small Equipment Grants through the state of Illinois.

Receiving the local grants were the Bureau Fire Protection District, at $25,515; Mineral-Gold Fire Protection District, $26,000; Neponset Fire Protection District $20,476; the Walnut Fire Protection District, $26,000; and the Wyanet Fire Protection District, $26,000.

On Monday, Wyanet Fire Chief Don Prince said the department will use its grant money for turnout gear, including new helmets, boots, coats and gloves. The fire department, which has about 20 members, all volunteer, qualified for the grant by showing its need of new equipment and gear, he said.

Bureau Fire Chief Tim Shipp said this is the first time his department has received this grant. The money will be used to buy nine sets of turnout gear. The Bureau Fire Protection District covers a 21-square-mile radius and has about 20 firefighters in the department, all volunteers.

Walnut Fire Chief Matt Michlig said his department will use the grant money to buy four new airpacks and bottles and also to buy two sets of turnout gear. The Walnut Fire Department has 28 active members, all volunteers, and serve an area of 117 square miles.

In making last week’s grant announcement jointly with Illinois State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis, Gov. Pat Quinn said the 193 fire department recipients are receiving a total of $4 million to help purchase safety equipment, protective clothing, breathing apparatus and other tools for firefighters. These small equipment grants are supported by a small percentage of the sales of all fire insurance sold in Illinois. The departments were eligible for grants up to $26,000, the governor said.

“The heroic firefighters across the state deserve all the help they can get to keep all Illinois residents safe,” Quinn said. “These investments can help make the difference in life and death situations in communities throughout Illinois.”

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