Fire company receives donation
Developer gives check for $750,000 to East Whiteland Volunteer Fire Association
EAST WHITELAND >> In a time when volunteer fire companies are struggling to raise funds and retain volunteers to provide protection coverage to ever-growing developments, the $750,000 donation presented to the East Whiteland Volunteer Fire Association was a very welcome sight.
Brian O’Neill, a prominent developer in the Philadelphia region, presented a check for $750,000 to the volunteer fire company Wednesday evening at the township’s board of supervisors meeting.
O’Neill said he made his donation to recognize the service firefighters and other first responders provide to their local communities. “We love supporting firefighters because they’re selfless,” O’Neill said. “I couldn’t think of a greater thing than to support our fire company.”
“You gotta love a first class fire company,” he added.
Gary Sheridan, president of the fire company thanked O’Neill for his contribution, saying it would
help the company pay for its new fire station they opened in July 2015.
“This is a nice part of the construction loan,” he said, referencing the cost required to build the new fire department.
Sheridan said a donation of this size is unusual.
“It’s almost unheard of,” he said. “It’s the largest we have ever received.”
Developing an area increases the burden fire departments shoulder. New developments increase their serviceable area, call volume, and equipment maintenance. O’Neill is currently developing land in East Whiteland.
When asked why he donated the amount he did,
O’Neill said “they told us what they needed, and we gave it to them.”
According to Sheridan, the fire company handled around 200 fire calls a year, and zero ambulance calls.
Now in 2016, he said the company handles roughly 700 fire calls and 1,000 ambulance calls.
“We’re actively asking developers to contribute (to fire departments),” Sheridan said.
East Whiteland’s new fire station building cost roughly $4.7 million. Prior to moving into their new station, the old one had been in service since 1958.
Construction on the new building began in November of 2013.
Brian O’Neill donated $750,000 to the East Whiteland Volunteer Fire Company Wednesday evening.