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Pennsylvania fire department goes bankrupt to save bingo nights

2/7/2015
A fire department in rural Pennsylvania has filed for bankruptcy in order to safeguard its Friday night bingo games, reports the Wall Street Journal’s Katy Stech.

Madera Volunteer Fire Co, founded in 1922 and serving an area of over 190 square miles covering the towns of Bigler and Knox, went into bankruptcy on Tuesday 30 June.

Officials placing the department into bankruptcy requested that the judge allow them to spend limited money on “bingo games, fuel, propane, telephone services, insurance and other normal and necessary costs of business,” according to documents filed in US bankruptcy in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

The not-for-profit fire department’s annual revenue stands at $280,000, most of which comes from fundraisers such as bingo and poker runs, alongside an annual firearm raffle and community dinners.

Bankruptcy lawyer Kevin Petak noted that fire department leaders had overspent on renovations to the department’s fire hall, which the profits from social events were unable to offset.

The department still owes $2.1 million to the US Department of Agriculture on a rural development programme loan, according the Wall Street Journal.

Madera Volunteer Fire Co. plan to lift themselves out of bankruptcy with redoubled fundraising efforts.

Kevin Petak added the department could diversify into hosting weddings.

Tom Lewis
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