By Mark Squibb | Vol. 12 No. 5 (March 7 2019)
The Riverhead Fire Department has received over $14,000 in government funding to help secure four new breathing apparatuses.
Fire Chief Earl Kielly says the department applied for the emergency funding about three weeks ago after the current apparatuses failed a flow test.
"That means that they're not up to standard to use inside during a fire; they're outdated... say we had a major fire tonight; we can't use those breathing apparatuses in the house," he explained. "It's a tense situation."
Riverhead mayor Shelia Lee told the Irish Loop Post that securing the new equipment was crucial.
"It's critical that we get those breathing apparatuses as quickly as possible... waiting is dangerous, because what do you do, tonight, if someone was in a situation where they were trapped in a house and you couldn't go in? If I'm home in bed in the nighttime, I want to have the comfort of knowing that if something happens and I can't get out, please God the fireman will be able to get in."
The regional department serves Riverhead and nearby communities including St. Mary’s, Mall Bay, and Gaskiers – Point La Haye. Lee estimates they serve a population of about 1,200.
Kielly says the department does have two up-to-date apparatuses on loan.
The estimated cost for the four apparatuses is $30,000.