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Allagash Fire department raising funds for LMTV

ALLAGASH, Maine — To help fight fires in the northern Maine woods, the Allagash Fire Department is seeking donations to make operational a 2002, 2.5 ton, light military transport vehicle the department recently acquired at no cost from the Maine Forest Service Federal Excess Property program.

Once outfitted, the truck also will be available to the forest service and Aroostook Emergency Management Agency for fighting woodland fires throughout Aroostook County.

The Allagash Fire Department currently has two operational fire trucks for road use, but nothing operational to fight off-road fires, according to Fire Chief Mike Cushing.

“Right now if there’s a fire in the woods, we don’t have a vehicle that will be able to go in the woods. The last fire incident we had, the Maine Forest Service had to go,” Cushing said. He added that MFS rangers, due to the large geographic area for which they are responsible, may not be immediately available when a fire breaks out in the woods near Allagash.

“They float around the whole county; sometimes they’re here, and sometimes they’re not,” he said. “They took care of (the most recent) fire. I didn’t have the equipment to go out and help them.’

Cushing sent out a fundraising letter dated Aug. 5 to local land and business owners. The letter also is being shared on social media.

“We have a good group of highly trained and motivated firefighters and want

them to have all the tools necessary to provide security and safety to all of our people,” Cushing said in the letter.

The vehicle is in need of a water tank, emergency lights, tool boxes, and a radio communication system, and it will need to be painted. The total cost is $20,000 to $25,000, said Cushing, who hopes to raise the money through donations so as not to burden the small town of 230 residents with increased property taxes.

Cushing said he is hoping to cast a wider net than the town of Allagash as far as fundraising goes, especially in light of the fact that the vehicle will be available to fight fires anywhere it is needed in Aroostook County.

“This will be available to the Allagash Fire Department, Maine Forest Service and Aroostook Emergency Management Agency,” Cushing wrote. “This vehicle will be used within the Allagash town limits as well as any woodland fire the Forest Service needs it for throughout The County. If they need it down in Houlton, we’ll drive it down to Houlton. If they need it in Van Buren, we’ll drive it to Van Buren. It can service the whole County as needed.”

Cushing said the department’s goal is to have the truck fully-operational within three months.

For more information, contact Allagash Fire Chief Mike Cushing by phone at 207-398-3109 or by email at C2ITAllagash@sjv.net.

To donate, make checks payable to: Allagash Fire Department Fund and mail to:

Allagash Fire Department
Attn: Chief Cushing
1063 Allagash Road
Allagash, Maine 04774

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