PLYMOUTH TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A nonprofit group from Luzerne County is donating firefighting equipment to Ukraine.
That equipment was once used to save lives in the region. Now the hope is that the same fire equipment might help save lives in Ukraine.
“Believe me, if they are bombing some civilian and we have this stuff, somebody saves lives. 100 percent,” said Ivan Dobani, a Ukraine native who moved to the United States 20 years ago.
Dobani is now helping coordinate relief efforts for his homeland and this day brings him to the former Tilbury Fire Department near Nanticoke.
It closed several years ago and its equipment remains at the department.
A nonprofit group called the Tilbury Community Center now owns the equipment.
“It’s all outdated for American use, NFPA standards. Over there it works, they need stuff that works and all this stuff works great,” explained John Rinehimer, chairman of the Tilbury Community Center.
The nonprofit group is working with Nanticoke Fire Department to get the fire gear to Ukraine.
“We’re going to donate all of our equipment we purchased through the relief association: Helmets, coats, boots, hoses apparatus to the Nanticoke Fire Department for purpose of donating to Ukraine relief efforts,” said Rinehimer.
The Tilbury Community Center may best be known for its annual Horror Hall in West Nanticoke. Funds from the popular Halloween haunted house are donated to local civic groups.
“Well, we run Horror Hall, what we’re doing right now. The biggest fundraiser, a good portion of our donations go to PA Wounded Warriors and other small organizations around Nanticoke and Plymouth,” Rinehimer explained.
The mission for local firefighters and those around the world is the same: Save lives.
“There’s always a brotherhood with all the fire services across the world. We’re just glad that we are able to help them in this tough time that they are going through,” stated Chief Mark Boncal of the Nanticoke Fire Department.
For Ivan Doboni understands the impact this fire safety gear will have in Ukraine.
“You know any supplies like this? Ukraine you know have fire department and everything’s not quality like you guys have. He will be very, very, happy,” said Doboni.
The folks at Tilbury said they got the idea about the donation after seeing a report that Wilkes-Barre City Fire Department donated fire gear several months ago. It should be on the ground in Ukraine in about 6 weeks.