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$55 million in state funding for volunteer firefighters statewide

MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Auditor General Eugene DePasquale announced major funding for volunteer fire departments statewide during a visit to the York Fire School. He is releasing $55.1 million dollars to help volunteer firefighter's relief associations. He said tax payers can rest assured that this money will get spent the right way to keep people safe.

“Obviously in our major urban areas we have paid fire,” DePasquale said. "But in a pretty big chunk of Pennsylvania, which most people don't realize, it's about 90% of the state - volunteer firefighters are the people that keep us safe every single day."

It will be distributed to departments in the 2,500 municipalities across the state. 70% of it will go toward training and equipment, while the other 30 percent will go toward insurance and other benefits.

The Fire Chief of Nashville Volunteer Fire Department, Bradley Dunham, in Spring Grove said it will help subsidize their budget, which has been sadly dwindling for years.

"The money doesn't come in like what it used to," Dunham said. "It's harder to raise funds so any help that we can get, whether that's for apparatus, maintenance, training, equipment."

Or even just to help keep the lights on.

"We have to have a building that's structurally sound to keep the equipment in," Dunham said. "We have to have fuel in the trucks to keep them going. And the equipment is getting more expensive to replace every day."

DePasquale said the money will come from the foreign insurance tax.

"Everybody knows the importance of firefighters," DePasquale said. "Every single one of them is a hero. They help keep our communities safe. And this money today is just part of the piece to how they perform their functions."

As for how the money will be distributed, there is a formula. It's based on population and the number of volunteer fire departments.