Published On: Thu, Sep 14th, 2017

Belden Fire Dept. shows off new facility

BELDEN — An impressive display of shiny red fire trucks and other fire equipment greeted visitors as they stopped in at the Open House on Sunday afternoon at the new annex building for the Belden Volunteer Fire Dept.
Approximately 100 people showed up for the Open House put on by the Belden Rural Board and Volunteer Fire Dept.
Guests took time to enjoy the refreshments, do a little visiting with the firefighters and others at the Open House, and had the opportunity to take a closer look at the fire trucks and other emergency vehicles.
The annex is designed to hold the fire trucks and other emergency vehicles along with the equipment. This steel 50X70 ft. building has three large overhead doors.
The three doors were an important part of the building project according to Fire Chief Jerry Gross.
“This has been needed.” Gross said. “With the three doors, we can get out of the building so much quicker. Our response time for an emergency is so much better.”
Robert Patefield, who serves as the sec./treas. for the volunteer firefighters, knows the importance of the new annex building.
“The other building only had one door to get five trucks out when a call came in,” Patefield said.
An office and bathrooms with a shower are part of the annex.
The construction of the annex was paid for through a $225,000 bond that was issued to the Belden Rural Board and Volunteer Fire Dept.
Construction on the building started last September and took close to one year. A few other projects are still underway in the building, Gross said.
“We are still working on it. We want to make a few more improvements,” Gross said. “We are making applications for grant funds.”
The Belden Village owns the land and is involved in certain aspects of the Fire Department.
The annex is connected to the Belden Fire Hall, which is located just east of the annex. The Fire Hall has a meeting room, kitchen and bathrooms.
Local residents can use the Fire Hall to host small events by paying a rental fee. The annex will now be available for larger gatherings.
“We can move the fire equipment out of the building to allow for space,” Gross said.
Six emergency vehicles, — a fire engine, fire trucks, a pumper truck, a tanker, a grass rig, and a Fire and Rescue Suburban — had been moved outside of the new building for the Open House.
The Belden Fire Dept. obtained several of the rescue vehicles through the U.S. Forest Dept. with a lease with a one-time payment.
The vehicles and equipment are government surplus according to Ron Stapelman, Pres. of the Belden Rural Fire Board.
“The Dept. maintains the vehicles. The vehicles can be returned when there is a need to get something better,” Stapelman said. “Being involved with the Forest Service has been a good thing.”

The Belden Fire Department held an Open House Sunday to talk with area residents and show off their new facility. The annex was built to the west of the current fire department. It is large enough to hold all of the department’s equipment, including this all-terrain fire fighting rig.

Used equipment, which included pumper truck; a tanker, used to haul water; and a pickup/grass rig were each purchased from other fire departments.
Equipment for the Belden Fire Dept. includes a generator/light tower that serves two purposes.
The generator, which uses diesel fuel, can be used in the building in case of an electrical outage. The generator, which is portable, can be transported to an emergency call and used to shine light into the area.
The generator, fire extinguishers, hoses and other equipment were obtained through the Forest Service.
A grain bin rescue tube had also been secured for the Belden Fire Dept.
“Hopefully we never have to use it,” Patefield said.
Traffic cones, emergency road signs and other safety items were received after the required number of Belden fire fighters completed classes provided by the Nebraska Dept. of Roads.
A restored hose cart that had been used by Belden firemen years ago was on display inside of the annex during the Open House.
The hose cart would have been pulled up to a water hydrant during a response to a fire according to Gross.
The hose was attached and water could be sprayed on the fire. A bell, which still works, is attached to the wheel of the cart.
The Belden Volunteer Fire Dept. currently has 20 firefighters.
Five younger men, who are under the age of 25, have joined the fire dept.
“We are fortunate to have these guys. At times, it has been hard to even get people to join. They have been a really big boost to the Fire Department,” Gross said. “They woke us up.”
The Belden Firemen may not make a large number of calls within a year’s time but they are prepared and ready to respond whenever an emergency does occur.
The Belden Fire Department makes close to twelve calls per year and provides mutual aid to other departments.