Cascade turns out for volunteers

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The Cascade community paid tribute Oct. 13 to the volunteer firefighters who saved their homes during the Waldo Canyon Fire in June. Hundreds of residents, adults and children, shared their sense of community at the annual chili-supper fundraiser for the Cascade Volunteer Fire Department.

This year's event was crucial for the department which, in the aftermath of the fire, is on constant alert for flooding. In addition to donations from the residents, the department got a financial boost with a $45,000 state-funded grant for flood mitigation along the U.S. 24 corridor.

“The fire created the runoff, the drainage and flash-flood issues we're dealing with now,” said Fire Chief Mike Whittemore. “We probably have half-a-dozen areas with homes that are at risk of being damaged or destroyed by flood. Fortunately, a lot of good government agencies are coming in to help. I'm just amazed at the level of assistance we're getting.”

With an aging fleet, the volunteers are focused on replacing its 1978 Type 3 pumper. With $80,000 in reserve and a flurry of donations, the department has its collective eye on reaching the purchase price of $225,000.

“Since the fire we've received more than $70,000 in donations, including a check for $10,000 and another for $5,000, and many for 20 bucks,” Whittemore said. “So now, we're within striking range to buy the equipment.”

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