Fire department seeks money for damaged equipment

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Members of the North Brunswick Volunteer Fire Department say that last month's massive warehouse fire has left most of the department's equipment badly damaged or destroyed.

The Livingstone Avenue warehouse fire consumed almost 1 million square feet and took nearly five days to put out. Close to 150 fire companies from 11 counties came to fight the blaze.

Battling the fire left fire hoses ruined, gear needing to be replaced and fire engines in need of repairs.

"We have one engine left right now," says North Brunswick volunteer firefighter Rahul Vinayak. "Usually we have two engines and one ladder."

Since so much of North Brunswick's equipment was ruined, the town has had to rely on surrounding towns to help pick up the slack.

"We know it takes a toll on them as well," says Fire Chief Ken Graulich. "We're trying our best to limit [other departments] coming in when we don't necessarily need them."

Because volunteer firefighters raise their own money for their equipment, Vinayak has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help cover the costs of replacing the equipment. Insurance will cover some, but not all, of the costs.

North Brunswick Mayor Mack Womack hopes the public can help raise the funds. "Under the laws of New Jersey, the town is literally prohibited from how much we can give them," he says. "We've got to find ways as a community and as a town to make sure they are able to get that equipment back."

The fire department members say they will take whatever help they can get.

The cause of the warehouse fire is still under investigation.

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