Mastersonville Fire Departmentbreaks ground for new station

By on May 24, 2017

“Turning the dirt” for Mastersonville Fire Company’s new fire house are (left to right) Eric Shields, Ralph Heffley, John Beers of Paul Risk Construction, Robert Fulkrod, Larry Groff, Jere Swarr, Bob Kulp, Butch Montgomery, Kathy Spesak, Fire Chief Jeff Siegrist, Dennis Sowers of SGS Architects and Engineers, and Matt Shenk. (Photo by Rochelle Shenk)

The cool, sometimes drizzly day didn’t dampen the spirits of Mastersonville Volunteer Fire Department members and others who gathered May 6 to celebrate the groundbreaking for a new $2.3 million fire station.

The 12,586-square-foot building will boast six bays, office and storage spaces, a training room, fitness room and an underground cistern. It’s being constructed on a 10-acre site at 2121 Meadow View Road. The site is across the street from the current fire house. The existing 13,773-square-foot building at 2166 Meadow View Road was originally constructed in the early 1950s and has had several additions.

Mastersonville was organized as a fire company in 1949. Charter member and 68-year fire department veteran Bob Kulp explained that the fire company was organized to fill a need in the community.

“We had a barn fire on my family’s farm. The closest fire company at that time was Manheim. The barn burned to the ground before they could get there. Some of our neighbors lost barns in a similar fashion,” Kulp explained, “We started talking and decided that our community needed a fire company of its own.”

Other long-term fire company members were also in attendance including Ralph Heffley, with 61 years of service; Robert Fulkrod, a fire police member who retired last year with over 58 years of service; Larry Groff with over 52 years of service, and Kathy Spesak, who’s served the fire company for over 45 years.

“I don’t think the general public understands how blessed we are to have our volunteer firefighters, so I thank you for your commitment,” said state Rep. Mindy Fee.

Fire company president Matt Shenk also recognized building committee chair Troy “Butch” Montgomery for his tenacity over the past 15 years as the fire company considered the best course of action for its aging fire house, which has several issues, including a roof that should be replaced, an engine bay floor that’s cracked from the weight of apparatus, and space issues with apparatus.

“This has been a group effort; it wasn’t just me working on this,” Montgomery stressed.

Mastersonville Fire Company personnel pose with some of their vehicles on the site of their soon-to-be-build fire hall, 2121 Meadow View Road. Shown (left to right) are Matt Shenk, president; Jeff Siegrist, fire chief; and Butch Montgomery, building committee chair. (Image provided by the fire department)

In preparation for a building project, the 10-acre tract at 2121 Meadow View Road was purchased in 2008 for $276,000. To help make this 15-year project a reality, Shenk said that a number of local businesses and community members have already offered discounts on materials and labor or donations in-kind of services to help contain costs.

“It really is a community effort,” he said.

“This building represents some of the beauties of our area — volunteerism and working together,” Rapho Township supervisor Jere Swarr said.

Funding for the fire house includes $300,000 from Rapho Township’s fire capital fund, a private bank loan and a loan from PEMA (Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency). SGS Architects Engineers Inc. is the architect, and Paul Risk Construction is the general contractor. Site work began the end of April. Estimated completion of the building is spring 2018.

Mastersonville’s service area is 23-square miles. The fire company responded to 425 calls for service in 2016.

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at RAASHENK@aol.com

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