Fundraising continues for West Knox Fire Department

West Knox firefighters are continuing their fundraising efforts to replace the turnout gear and hoses damaged during an explosion and fire at Safeco in Gray on Nov. 9 and will be hosting pictures with Santa at Corbin Walmart this weekend.

Chief Daryl Baker said photographer Sheila Onkst has volunteered her time and talent and Walmart management has volunteered space outside the store for the fundraiser.

For $10, you will receive two high-resolution digital images on a CD.

For $20, you will receive three high-resolution digital images along with one calendar and one Christmas card.

“You get full rights to the pictures,” Baker said, noting that allows you to make as many copies, enlargements, etc. as you like.

The photo sessions, each of which will last approximately 10 minutes, will be held 2-8 p.m. Friday, noon until 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

In addition, Baker said West Knox firefighters will soon begin selling chances for the department’s annual Big Blue Valentine’s Raffle.

The grand prize is two tickets to the University of Kentucky men’s basketball game versus the University of Florida on Feb. 9 at Rupp Arena in Lexington.

In addition to the tickets, the winner will receive $250.

“That is enough money for room and board, gas and to feed two people,” Baker noted.

The tickets are at center court 11 rows up from the floor.

Baker said the tickets were donated by State Senator Robert Stivers, R-Manchester.

Baker said the chances are $5 each. They will be available within the next two weeks.

“We print 2,000 tickets and usually sell about 1,000,” Baker said.

Tickets will be available from any West Knox firefighter or at West Knox Station One  after 7 p.m. on Monday nights. The station is located in Gray next to the old Lynn Camp School.

More information is available by calling 528-1700.

Baker said of the 12 sets of gear damaged in the fire, department officials have temporarily replaced 10 sets through the use of old gear and assistance from neighboring Woodbine Volunteer Fire Department.

Another set of gear may soon be available thanks to the Stinking Creek Volunteer Fire Department.

Baker said the firefighter in question wears size 3x gear.

“Most firefighters use large, extra-large or 2x gear,” Baker said, adding that 10 other departments have offered extra gear.

The original $30,000 estimate to replace the gear and hoses may have been optimistic.

Baker said it appears a number of the firefighters’ leather boots have also been ruined.

Firefighters are still determining the extent of the damage to the boots, but Baker said each new pair of boots adds about $300 to the bill.

“I hate to do that because they are brand new boots,” Baker said.

Baker said the department has received about $1,500 in donations and more offers are being made.

In addition, Baker said he was contacted by the owner of the Firehouse Subs franchises in Lexington.

The company, based in Jacksonville, Fla. has an on-going fundraising effort through the collection of customers’ spare change. Customers paying with a debit or credit card have the option to “round up” their bill to the nearest dollar.

The company uses the proceeds to fund a $25,000 fund grant given quarterly to a fire department in need.