After community outcry, local authorities were able to track down equipment to borrow so the Corn Festival's annual kiddie water fights are back on.
Each year, Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District borrows the miniature hose equipment from the Gardner Fire District, but this year Gardner is unable to lend it due to legal issues.
But after word spread of the bad news, Gardner Fire Chief Terry Jensen tracked down South Wilmington Mayor Richard Alderson after hearing they had equipment that could be used, said Morris Fire Chief Tracey Steffes. Once Jensen obtained a phone number for Alderson, Steffes was able to contact him and work out arrangements.
"He worked really hard in finding it for us," said Steffes.
Gardner helps every year, so this was an unexpected issue for which Morris wasn't prepared, Steffes said. They tried to find equipment from other departments themselves, but they were unable to find the type of equipment they needed that would be safe enough for young children to use. That is, until they spoke with Alderson.
"It's very nice of him to give us their hose system (to use)," said Steffes.
Litigation between the Gardner Fire District and the former Gardner Fire Department has been continuous. Although the district has taken over all department duties and hired another fire chief, the parties are still in court over equipment issues, which is why they are unable to lend the equipment for the water fights as they have in the past.