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Fire departments receive grants

Oakboro Rural Volunteer Fire Department hosted North Carolina Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey for a check presentation and video shoot on Thursday.

Causey presented a check for $19,043 from the VFD grant.

Chip Osborne, assistant fire chief, said that Oakboro’s Fourth of July celebration is normally its largest fundraiser. This year, with only fireworks planned, the town plans to sell raffle tickets to help raise funds.

Still, Osborne said the department expects no deficit thanks to its previous money management.

The grant the department received will be used to buy 10 sets of gear, mostly replacement sets for gear that is out of date or will soon be out of date. Sets include a helmet, hood, gloves and more. The grant will also be used for two mobile 800 mHz radios.

Causey had a full schedule in Stanly, visiting the Stanly County Airport and Clayton Homes plant in Richfield after leaving Oakboro.

While at the airport, Causey also presented grants to several other fire departments in the county:

• Badin Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. — $23,015;

• Bethany Community Fire Department — $5,304.50;

• East Side Volunteer Fire Department — $27,702;

• Endy Volunteer Fire Department – $14,976;

• Millingport Volunteer Fire Department — $21,447.29;

• Oakboro Rural Volunteer Fire Department — $19,043;

• Ridgecrest Volunteer Fire Department — $12,155; and

• South Side Volunteer Fire Department — $5,883.39.

Oakboro had received its check earlier in the day at its facility, but the other fire chiefs and board members met Causey at the airport to receive their checks, according to Brian Taylor, chief state fire marshal and assistant commissioner.

In addition to the Oakboro grant, the total awarded comes to $129,526.18.

Firework Safety

While at the Oakboro fire department, Causey filmed a fireworks safety video.

Causey was filmed for a brief introduction before Rob Roegner, senior deputy of engineering for the state fire marshal’s office, did a presentation on different types of fireworks, common hazards and why it’s safer to leave fireworks shows to the professionals.

Roegner held up fireworks intended to be launched from different-sized tubes, showing how a firework put in the wrong kit’s tube — or in a PVC pipe — could cause injuries or fatalities.

Rob Roegner, senior deputy of engineering for the office of the NC Fire Marshal, demonstrates the hazards of fireworks for a safety video his office filmed at the Oakboro Rural Volunteer Fire Department. (Photo by IMARI SCARBROUGH)

He went on to compare consumer fireworks to professional equipment, showing the various safety mechanisms in place for professional shows.

The intent of the video is to show the hazards surrounding home firework shows and to discourage the use of illegal fireworks.

The video will be completed and published shortly before the Fourth of July.

Osborne said that he encourages residents to attend the professional Oakboro fireworks display rather than risk their own home display.

A Facebook post from the page Oakboro July 4th Celebration and shared by the Oakboro Police Department’s page requested on June 3 that attendees practice social distancing at the fireworks display due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The display, normally held at 11:30 p.m., will be at 10 p.m. July 4 this year.

Imari Scarbrough is a freelance contributor for The Stanly News and Press.