Community rallies around firefighters who lost firehouse

Author: , Reporter, @CatherineH_WFMZ, chawley@wfmz.com
Published: Jun 09 2012 08:00:00 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 11 2012 03:26:47 PM EDT
HELLERTOWN, Pa. -

Nearly three weeks ago, a deadly accident led to a devastating fire at a local fire company. And Sunday morning, that company is beginning to start over as hundreds came out for breakfast and to help rebuild.

Folks lined up early outside the Leithsville Social Hall in Hellertown, Northampton Co.

"The doors open at 8," explained Chief Thomas Barndt, SeWyCo Fire Co. "We opened them at 7:30 because they were already lined up."

The queue stretched out the door. Some people waited an hour to get in.

"We're over 650 and it's not quite 11:00 yet," said Sal Ghazi, president, SeWyCo Fire Co.

The turnout is double what the Leithsville and SeWyCo Fire Company normally sees at the monthly breakfast, organizers said. The firefighters working the event kept busy all morning, even running to the store to buy more food.

"This is a volunteer fire company," said Ghazi. "We do this because we support our community and this in turn is just showing the community supporting us back."

The money raised at Sunday's fundraiser lays the foundation for the department to start rebuilding.

Nearly three weeks ago a car was t-boned by a dump truck and pushed into the Leithsville firehouse. The crash killed a man and started an intense fire that destroyed the building and three fire trucks inside.

"Our first priority is to replace the pieces of equipment because we do have another station we can house them," explained Ghazi.

Then they'll start building the new firehouse.

"They're there when we need them so just to show support, it's a really horrible thing that happened," said Noreen Resetar.

And it wasn't just the community. Firefighters from other companies came out to help their brothers.

"It touches you, it makes you feel real good about everybody," smiled Allentown firefighter Jason Janis. "Makes you show that they appreciate what they do for the community."

The department hopes their determination sends a message to all the people who have helped.

"We're here for you and we are gonna rebuild," said Barndt. "We're gonna be stronger than we ever were."