Many rural communities in Iowa struggle to come up with money to keep their fire departments stocked with up-to-date equipment.
Some are raising cash at this time of year through haunted houses. In the small eastern Iowa town of Garrison, Fire Chief Marv Trimble told KCRG-TV their haunted attraction was especially helpful when a severe storm hit seven years ago.
“In 2011, our station was pretty much blown down when the derecho went through here on July 11,” Trimble said. The fire station was not only rebuilt, it was expanded. “We put a little over $100,000 addition onto our station and it was mostly paid for by this haunted house,” Trimble told KCRG.
Nearly every member of the Garrison Fire Department helps out each year whether it’s scaring visitors, selling tickets, or cooking food. The event, called “Garrison’s Haunted,” is the department’s biggest annual fundraiser. This year, Trimble is hoping the attraction will bring in around $12,000 to help pay for some Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses (SCBA) — devices that allow firefighters to breathe in fresh air when they’re knocking down a fire.
Garrison’s Haunted opened last weekend and will reopen this Friday and Saturday, running from 7 to 11 p.m. both nights.