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75 people attend open house at Chaffee Fire Department
CHAFFEE, Mo. -- The Chaffee Fire Department hosted an open house Saturday to give the community an opportunity to tour the fire station and learn more about fire safety.
About 75 parents, grandparents and children passed through at the station to enjoy hot dogs, bratwursts and cool drinks while fire chief Sam Glenzy described some of the fire department tools and application.
"We wanted to open the station up to the public and let them see our gear and equipment," Glenzy said.
In April, Chaffee voters passed a quarter-cent sales tax to benefit the local fire department. Glenzy was motivated to open the station so voters could see exactly where those tax dollars were going.
On-duty firefighters were there to answer questions, give demonstrations and teach people how to properly put out flames with a fire extinguisher. Adults and children examined the inside of the firetrucks and station, seeing the firefighters' gear and learning about the role the Chaffee Fire Department plays in responding to community emergencies.
The department has 18 active volunteer firefighters who are always on call. Nine of the volunteers have also taken a 60-hour class to become first responders.
Glenzy said he is always looking for volunteers and would like to increase the department's roster to 25 members. During the event, Glenzy spoke to a couple of interested individuals and passed out applications. Glenzy said he encourages people to stop by and check out the station any time, particularly those who might be interested in serving with the department.
"This is something that gets in your blood," Bob Sanders said. Sanders has been with the Chaffee Fire Department since 1971 and participated in Fire Safety Week earlier this month. The department was able to speak with about 360 children from preschool age to second grade about the importance of fire safety.
"We have really stepped up our program," Glenzy said.
Since the department's involvement with the local schools about three years ago, the number of fires involving children has been dramatically reduced. Eight-year-old Ross Jenkins wore a firefighter costume to the event and proudly pointed out his father, assistant fire chief Rob Jenkins.
"I want to be a fireman when I grow up," said Ross, who showed other children around the station.
The Chaffee Fire Department has put an increased emphasis on training and hosts two in-house seminars each month according to the State Fire Marshal guidelines. In addition to local training, the firefighters are sent to Columbia or Jefferson City, Mo., twice each year for even more training through extensions with the University of Missouri.
The department is working toward obtaining a permit from the Department of Natural Resources, so firefighters will be able to participate in controlled burns for practice. Two houses have already been designated for demolition and will serve as ideal settings for hands-on training.
"My guys work hard," Glenzy said. "They are all dedicated men."
222 West Yoakum Avenue Chaffee, MO 63740