CGVFD starts GoFundMe to buy new firetruck

Published 7:00 pm Monday, April 22, 2024

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Staff Report

The Cumberland Gap Volunteer Fire Department has started a GoFundMe to raise money to purchase a new fire truck.

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The department currently has just one fire engine that is capable of extinguishing fires, Chief Jordan Jones told WATE.

“That’s our biggest issue right now. There was a fire last summer and we had our engine in the shop in Knoxville,” he said. “We had a fire in our first due response area and we didn’t have an engine to send. Luckily, we got in contact with Harrogate Volunteer Fire Department and they were able to send an engine over for us as well as Speedwell and North Claiborne Volunteer Fire departments.” 

CGVFD is made up of LMU medical students who volunteer there to help out the town. There are about 25 certified volunteer firefighters who can respond to calls, but a reliable truck is vital to the community.

“It will definitely increase our response times and make the community safer,” Jones said.  “It’s really vital for our firefighters running into instances on scene where we can’t really function as fully as we need to. You know, it’s dangerous and my biggest thing is wanting to keep my firefighters safe.”

The fire department is hopeful that a Community Development Block Grant Program can help them get a new truck. Chris Oelgoetz is a consultant with the town who is helping the fire department write their grant application. Oelgoetz explained that the grant is available for communities to apply for a number of things, including fire trucks, but the fire department and community need to raise an amount to match part of the grant.

For Cumberland Gap, the local match is set at 13 percent. So for every dollar they are able to match, the fire department will be able to request approximately $6.69 in grant funding. In total though, Oelgoetz estimates the fire department would need between $250,000 and $350,000 for a new truck. To raise the local match portion to apply for the grant, the fire department has started the GoFundMe. As of Monday, the they had received just over $4,000 of their stated goal of raising $20,000

The town of Cumberland Gap has a population of less than 500, but Jones said the community is incredibly supportive and he’s hopeful the grant will help raise enough money for a new fire truck.

“The community support is always great for Cumberland Gap. Everyone gives what they can. It’s a  really homey place. And it’s almost like family down here,” he said. “They’re given all that they can, but sometimes it’s just not enough and we just need a little bit more.”

In the event the VFD’s application is not funded, all money raised will go toward upgrading equipment needed to support the firefighters.