Nancy Run Fire Company, which has existed in Bethlehem Township since 1931, is used to running. Manned by forty volunteers, and with no paid staff, this fire company responded to 819 calls last year. It has grown from a department that existed mostly to put out agricultural fires, to one that responds to motor vehicle accidents, automatic alarms and even assists the City of Bethlehem. As its service expands, so does its need for space. On June 20, Chief Jamie Hauze and firefighter Tom Kocsis told Bethlehem Township Commissioners of their plans to add about 3,000 sq ft to a 10,000 sq ft facility, located at the intersection of Easton Avenue and 7th Street. Pricetag? $1 million.
Although Kocsis doubts that cash-strapped Bethlehem Township would offer much in the way of financial support, he and Chief Hauze came prepared with tiny models of Nancy Run firemen, which mysteriously appeared on the dais of Commissioners. They even had flash drives of their presentation, embedded in tiny fire extinguishers.
Unfazed by the tiny Nancy Run fireman crawling before him, Commissioner Jerry Batcha reminded both Hauze and Kocsis that Bethlehem Township Volunteer Fire Co. just did their own expansion, and at twice the cost estimated by Nancy Run, with no financial assistance from the Township.
Kocsis told Commissioners a number of local businesses have pledged financial support. In addition, Easton Assassin Larry Holmes and former Mets Ace Jack Fisher have both agreed to do signings to help raise money. The fire company is waiting for 501c3 status from the IRS, at which point contributions will be tax deductible.
Commissioner Tom Nolan, who is Bethlehem Township's representative on the Northampton County Gaming Authority, pledged to work with Nancy Run to secure an impact grant. Last year, Bethlehem Township received no impact awards.
After the presentation, Cheif Hauze stated that Nancy Run Fire Co. mans three fire engines and one 100' ladder truck, which is already 20 years into a 25-year life expectancy. After that, it loses its certification, and must be replaced at a cost of about $900,000.
Suddenly, the mini-firemen began trash talking to Commissioners, unhappy with the lukewarm response. This really unnerved both Batcha and Nolan.
Township Manager Howard Kutzler wrestled the minis on the floor and began stomping all over them, but when Commissioners left the building after the meeting, they were greeted by this:
It ended like a Chuckie movie. Very sad. There are now four vacancies on the Bethlehem Township Board of Commissioners.
The Gaming Authority is next.