The idiom "to put out the fire" has relevance here, not because of an actual blaze, but because of a neighborly act of generosity by the Rochester Fire Department to the Town of Cayce, Kentucky's fire department.

Catastrophic mid-December tornadoes leveled the Cayce Fire Department and all of its apparatus. Since there aren't any fire hydrants in the middle of rural Kentucky, Cayce was in desperate need to find a pumper tanker that hauls water to remote areas, with capacities of 3,000 gallons, for on-the-spot firefighting.

"It just so happened that we had replaced one last year, that was sidelined," said Rochester Fire Chief Scott Weigel. "Pending the approval of the select board, who voted during an emergency meeting to donate the truck to our brethren in Kentucky, our highway department made some needed repairs to get it ready for use once it gets there."

Getting it down there presented another hurdle.

"The Massachusetts Fire Fighters Association sent out an email asking for cash donations to pay for transportation costs. During that time, we received an incredibly generous offer from Ryco Excavating Contractor of Middleboro, saying they'll deliver the truck free," said Weigel, who estimated the cost at about $7,000.

"That identical kind of charitable response is also coming from all our residents here. There's been a great outpouring of support from our community and from other fire departments across the state, offering hoses, fittings and stuff," Weigel said. "Speaking for all the members of the Rochester Fire Department, we're more than proud to be able to assist our fellow firefighters at this time of need."

Regular phone service to the Cayce Fire Department's business line wasn't operating, however Chief Weigel said he made contact.

"I spoke with Chief (Wade) Adams down there, and he was overwhelmed, humbled and beyond grateful," Weigel said. The truck, expected to begin its trek on Monday, January 3, will put the 21 members of the Cayce Fire Department back in service, according to Weigel.

"It's unlike anything I've ever witnessed. They have nothing and desperately needed a truck. Rochester had one sidelined, and it was just what they needed. What a great way to start the new year," Weigel said.

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