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Marshal Finds 3rd Donor For Hydrant Markers

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – Volunteers from the Sanatoga and Ringing Hill fire companies this weekend will resume a task that’s taken up a few weeks of their summer, but which will benefit all Lower Pottsgrove residents, according to township Fire Marshal Lew Babel.

The crews are tackling the job of identifying each fire hydrant in the township with an antenna-like marker. It will help them and others during emergencies find hydrants buried in winter snow. The idea was suggested by Babel in February (2016), following the end of Winter Storm Jonas. It’s also Babel who found the money to buy the markers – which retail for up to $45 each – at no cost to taxpayers.

Babel, a Lower Pottsgrove native, occasionally jokes that he knows almost as many people as an old phonebook has names. He leveraged those contacts, made some calls, and found two donors – Exelon Corp. and an anonymous second party – who contributed a total of $5,500 to buy 240 markers for hydrants on township-owned streets. Installing them is what kept volunteers busy on warm nights after working hours through July and August, Babel explained.

But Babel was concerned, too, about remaining hydrants on privately owned streets: those usually located in residential communities governed by home owners’ associations. Few claimed they were in a position to support the cost of equipping each hydrant with markers, but the fire marshal said he didn’t want to leave them unprotected. So last month he went back to working the phone, and found yet a third donor who generously paid several hundred dollars more for additional markers.

Babel on Monday (Oct. 3, 2016) told the township Board of Commissioners the volunteers were out again that night, and would continue to work in their spare time though Thanksgiving to install markers on remaining hydrants. “That means we’ll be totally covered, every private and public hydrant. We’ll be in good shape,” Babel happily told board members.

Commissioner Ray Lopez, an active member of Ringing Hill, publicly thanked Babel for his community service.

And about Winter Storm Jonas? Township Manager Ed Wagner offered his own good news on that topic: Lower Pottsgrove last month, he said, received a state reimbursement of $26,491 that covered 75 percent of eligible expenses the township incurred in clearing away the storm’s tons of snow and ice.

Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ Oct. 3 meeting):

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