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Watten flea market slated

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The Watten fire department here has been struggling with funding recently and will hold a flea market at the fire hall/community centre there next Saturday (June 10) to help fundraise.

Besides the department's operating costs, Watten also needs money for a new fire rescue truck.

Its existing fire truck was pulled off the road earlier this year because it didn't pass a safety inspection.

Since then, the community has been raising funds for a new one.

Watten realized how difficult it was to work without a fire truck while battling a blaze on Reef Point Road back on Good Friday.

The money raised at the flea market, however, will go towards the department's operating costs, which hover around $12,000 a year.

“If we could raise half [the operating cost] that would be amazing,” noted fire chief Chad Buist.

He's encouraging everyone in the community to come out and support their cause at the flea market.

“There is definitely something for everyone,” he promised.

“A ton of people have been making donations," Buist added. "I have seen everything from aluminium boats and jet skis to hot tubs.”

“People are very generous with some of the donations they have left us with over the years,” he noted.

Anyone who would like to drop off donations for the flea market can do so next Monday to Friday from 5-7 p.m. at the Watten fire hall.

“The only item we've asked people to hold off on are refrigerators,” said Buist, noting there is a cost to dispose of them if they don't sell.

There also will be a barbecue featuring hamburgers and hotdogs, as well as a bake sale.

“Hopefully it's a nice day and we'll have a good turnout of people,” Buist added.

Katie Stearns, a new volunteer with the department who grew up in Watten, outlined why the community should support it.

“You just never know when you're going to need our help,” she reasoned.

“Watten Fire doesn't just respond to fires,” Stearns added.

“We also respond to motor-vehicle collisions, and help with ice rescues in the winter.”

Stearns also stressed the importance of getting a new fire truck.

“Having a new truck that we can rely on to get us to whatever emergency we are called for is important,” she remarked.

“[And] having the new truck within the volunteer fire department will help keep homeowners' insurance down in the Watten community.”

Buist said fundraising for the new fire truck is going well, noting they've raised $6,100 on their “GoFundMe” page.

“The 'GoFundMe' stuff is kind of deceiving, though, because we've had people drop off cheques,” he explained.

Buist added Devlin Auto is in the process of building a new truck for Watten.

“We still haven't paid for it, but were in the process of moving the body from the old truck to the new truck,” he said.

“It's a work in progress.”

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