Oakmont to host Allegheny Co. volunteer firefighters convention
If a fire breaks out in Oakmont any night next week, there should be plenty of manpower to fight it.
The borough will welcome firefighters from around Allegheny County as host of the 100th Allegheny County Volunteer Firefighters Association convention all week.
It starts Sunday afternoon and runs through next Saturday, except for an off day Thursday.
Ray Rogers Jr., who is Oakmont Volunteer Fire Department's convention coordinator, said the county convention is not like the Western Pennsylvania Volunteer Firefighters Association convention or the state firefighters convention.
Those conventions include campsites — tent cities where firefighters who come from long distances can stay throughout the week.
But Rogers noted that this event is more low key, involving only fire companies from within the county. Since all are within relatively easy driving distance, there's no need for a campsite and the activities are scheduled only for the evenings, starting between 5 and 6 p.m.
Still, there are activities scheduled that are traditional to the fire service, including a three-day “Battle of the Barrel” and a big parade featuring fire units from inside and outside Allegheny County, he said.
All of which will be bringing visitors to the borough.
“There could be a couple thousand people just coming out for the parade on Saturday,” Rogers said.
A dance and fireworks display is planned after the parade next Saturday.
“It's probably going to be one of the biggest fireworks displays we've ever had in Oakmont,” he said.
The convention will begin Sunday at 5 p.m. with a memorial service for fallen firefighters at the Oakmont Presbyterian Church.
The Battle of the Barrel will take place Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off of Third Street at the parking lot at Riverside Park. It's a double elimination event.
It's sort of a tug of war in reverse, where each team mans a fire hose and, using the blasting torrent of water, tries to push a barrel dangling from a cable overhead, toward the other team's side. The other team is trying to do the same.
“There's 10 teams, five guys on a team, and they usually bring in their families and friends, so we should have about 100 (visitors) a night for the Battle of the Barrel,” Rogers said.
There won't be any convention activity Thursday night.
The association will conduct a business meeting Friday at Oakmont's fire hall. Officers will be elected and a number of awards will be presented, including Firefighter of the Year.
Next Saturday's parade will restrict traffic
Saturday will be the biggest day for of the convention for activities, he said.
The parade will pass along Allegheny River Boulevard from California Avenue, just beyond the Oaks Theater, to Pennsylvania Avenue.
Although the parade will begin at 5 p.m., participating units will start lining up at 2 p.m.
The parade is expected to last two hours, according to Summer Tissue, Oakmont Chamber of Commerce director, who is helping to coordinate it.
Vehicle access to the business district from California Avenue to Pennsylvania Avenue will be closed at 4:30 p.m. for the event.“We never really know what the lineup is going to be until the day of, or the day before, the parade,” Tissue said. “The parade is even a surprise to us because we don't know who is going to be there.”
Rogers estimated that at least 30 fire departments from within Allegheny County will participate. But others from outside the county will be there, too, such as the New Kensington Volunteer Fire Department which is bringing its band along with fire apparatus. Arnold's will be there, too.
Tissue said about 10 to 15 local businesses such as Home Instead, Presbyterian Senior Care and Schultheis Brothers, are building floats for the parade. The Riverview High School Marching Band will lead the parade and there could be other musical units, depending on the weather she said. Also the Kennywood trolley will participate along with several mascots such as “Chip-Chip,” the big squirrel representing Oakmont.
There will be a dance at the fire hall, located at Fifth Street and Virginia Avenue, with a DJ and a food vendor.
About the fireworks
The night will be topped off with the 20-minute fireworks display launched from Riverside Park. Rogers said the company staging the event, Starfire of Carrolltown, told him about 450 six-inch shells will be shot off.Tissue recommends that visitors coming for the parade should try to park along Allegheny Avenue, which runs parallel to Allegheny River Boulevard below the railroad tracks.
“Motorists just have to be alert to the traffic signs and changing traffic patterns,” she said.
As for the costs of the convention, Rogers said the fire department is covering them.
“Most of the money we use is from the program book that we sold ads for,” Rogers said.
Oakmont's firefighters are selling a raffle ticket for a round of golf at Oakmont Country Club for $10 apiece. There are 1,000 being sold and as of Friday, there were about 100 left.
In addition, he said there were a number of corporate donors such as 1-800-Board-Up, a fire restoration service; Three Rivers Fire Equipment; Avon Protection, which sells breathing apparatus; and the Provident Agency of O'Hara, which sells insurance for firefighters.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Freshman arrested in Burrell High School bomb threat
- Bomb threat clears Apollo-Ridge High School
- Hays eagle egg watch continues
- Police end standoff with New Kensington man
- Harrison rape suspect awaiting trial accused of sexual contact with 6-year-old
- New Kensington-Arnold School Board superintendent hangs on as board vote falls short
- Kiski Area Intermediate School band chosen to play at state conference
- OSHA fines East Deer company $70,000 in aftermath of worker’s electrocution
- Nigerians accused of online scam surrender passports, freed from jail
- 3 names removed from Springdale Council primary ballot
- Probation check on Arnold man turns up illegal weapons