Fire auction seeks donations

March 2 event supports Pine Grove volunteers

That annual jolt.

The 49th annual auction on March 2 at Pine Grove Fire Department auction is like the cardiac defibrillators the auction helped pay for last year: the needed burst in this case goes to the volunteer fire department.

The yearly fundraiser helps keep the organization well-equipped, and provides a fun event for the community.

It all happens from 9 a.m. until sales are complete, at the fire hall on Van Horn Drive, just off Highway 35 six miles south of Hood River. Anyone is welcome to attend and bid, and buy items from the auxiliary rummage sale.

Donations are accepted through Wednesday. Firefighters will be at the hall from noon to 6 p.m. daily starting Saturday, as they prepare for their only fundraiser of the year. If you want to arrange delivery or pickup of a donation, call auction chair Mike Frahm, at 541-806-1220; Kevin Long at 806-2274 or Ryan Dethman at 490-2521.

Outside the fire hall and filling the bays where the fire engines are normally parked are donated housewares, sporting goods, a cabin cruiser, furniture (including chairs from Insitu) ladders from an orchardist, a wood cook stove, and several bins of unopened packages of tools — sets of wrenches, screwdrivers and ratchets, often two of each, donated by the estate of a recently deceased local man.

The cabin cruiser is an unusual item, but not the first time a large recreational boat has gone on sale. Last year a larger one was in the auction, but on consignment. The cruiser was donated outright, for tax benefits, by a White Salmon man.

“We prefer donations but we do take consignments,” Frahm said.

Frahm said that in terms of donations, “actually we’re ahead of the game, but we get busy this week.” More donations are encouraged; unwanted but useable items of any kind, or overstock merchandise, are welcomed.

The money from the auction will be put in savings, and used as needed to equip the department.

“Nothing has been specified yet, whatever we need to fill in the holes,” said Frahm, in his fifth year as auction chair. “We do a good fundraiser from this so we don’t stick the district with a lot of stuff. We try to help out as much as we can.”

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Last year the auction paid for two small defibrillators, one for Engine 65 and a larger one on the engine tender, which frequently goes to conflagrations, ‘so if one of our people goes down, it’s there to help them,” Frahm said. All volunteers are trained on the smaller defibrillator; only EMTs are qualified to run the larger one.

Another year, the department used auction proceeds to purchase a gas spectrometer that detects oxygen levels in a room where fire or smoke is present.

“There are the costs of the purchase and the maintenance to keep the equipment working is sometimes quite expensive, too,” Frahm said. “We try to spend it as wisely as we can.”

He said that as the auction approaches a half-century, “the two guys who are going to carry it on” are auction co-chairs Kevin Long and Ryan Dethman. Frahm noted that the proceeds had declined somewhat in recent years.

“I’d really like to keep it going,” said Dethman, who is also president of Pine Grove volunteers association. “Most districts don’t do things like this — it’s mostly some sort of food get together — but with that you have to do multiple things, This is our ‘one and only’ that we do every year, and the fact that it’s been going almost 50 years, there’s something behind it.”

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