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Chevron offers grants to Fayette, Washington County fire departments

| Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, 7:20 p.m.

Twenty-seven fire departments in Fayette and Washington counties will split almost $50,000 that Chevron U.S.A. Inc. is donating to tri-state fire companies as part of the energy firm's initiative to help fire companies with Chevron gas wells operating within their coverage areas.

Twenty fire departments in Fayette County will share $39,500, with 12 of them receiving grants of $1,000, while others will receive $2,500 or $5,000.

The Tower Hill Fire Department in Luzerne Township was awarded $7,500, the largest grant in the county. A Tower Hill fire company spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Perry Township fire Chief Barry Lynch, whose department will receive $2,500, said the department has not decided how it will spend the money.

The Washington Township Fire Department was awarded $2,500. Chief David Kimball could not be reached for comment.

The Smock Fire Department was awarded $7,500.

Seven fire departments from Washington County will split $10,000.

Chevron awarded the departments $2,500 for each well that the corporation drilled into the Marcellus shale reserves within their service territory this year. Chevron said it will donate $1,000 to the volunteer fire departments with existing Chevron well pads in their service area. Fire departments that serve Chevron office facilities each will receive $2,500.

The money is part of Chevron's $240,000 donation to 90 volunteer fire departments and nine hazardous materials teams in Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia where Chevron operates. The company's 2013 donation is $7,500 more than the 2012 donation.

Hazardous materials teams in Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties will each receive $9,500.

Chevron did not tell the local fire departments how they must spend the money, said Mikal Zimmerman, policy, government and public affairs representative for the company at its office in Smithfield, Fayette County.

The Fayette County Hazardous Materials Response Team will use its money for training and equipment, said Roy Shipley Jr., director of the Fayette County Emergency Management Agency.

Westmoreland County Hazardous Materials Response Team will spend the money on equipment used for emergencies at natural gas well sites, said Daniel A. Stevens, a spokesman for the Westmoreland County Department of Public Safety. The money might be spent on calibration equipment for gas meters, Stevens said.

“Keeping the community safe is why we volunteer as firefighters, and we are pleased that Chevron shares our same commitment,” Stevens said.

In addition to the donations to fire departments, Chevron has partnered with Wild Well Control Inc. to provide training for emergency responders that will prepare them for potential emergencies at well sites. Wild Well handles firefighting, well control and related engineering services for the oil and gas industry.

“The hazmat teams and volunteer fire departments in our operating areas are indispensable to the health and safety of their communities,” said Trip Oliver, manager of public affairs for Chevron's Appalachian/Michigan Strategic Business Unit.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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