TROY — Lights from firetrucks and a police cruiser flashed brightly from the parking lot of Victory Church in Troy on Wednesday night — not due to an emergency but instead for safety training.

Crowds gathered for the annual Fire and Ice Safety Night, an event that equipped community members with free fire and safety training as well as free smoke alarms, flashlights and ice cream.

Though a scheduled landing of Guthrie Air’s medical helicopter was unable to be carried out due to weather, Troy Police Department and Western Alliance Emergency Services brought emergency vehicles for families to explore, Canton and Troy Fire Departments showed off firetrucks and a smokehouse, Bradford County Emergency Management was on sight handing out gift bags and the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office offered free child identification cards.

Community members were introduced to local first responders and fireman Thad Dibble led a presentation to train children what to do in case of a fire and introduce them to a fireman’s equipment.

Tara Freeman, a long time area firefighter and founder of Fire and Ice Safety Night, stated that the event was established after a child was killed in a fire in Laceyville years ago.

Determined that no one should perish in a fire, Freeman asked Victory Church’s Pastor Josh Payne if she, along with her husband who is also a first responder, could speak to youth about fire safety.

Instead, Fire and Ice Safety Night was created as a large scale community outreach, gathering Bradford County first responders to spread fire safety awareness.

“It’s been an amazing event, it keeps building,” Freeman said. “This church has been amazing, it’s been a dream come true to see this many people in the community get information on fire safety.”

“Fire safety is everything,” stated Payne. “Fire alarms are what keep people alive in the event of fire at night and so for us to be able to partner with our local first responders is a really great partnership because we want to get the word out for people to not only live long and live strong but live safe.”

Payne explained that this year’s Fire and Ice Safety Night held special significance as the event, which is usually held during the spring, was rained out earlier this year and rescheduled for Patriot Day.

“Today being a really special day, 9/11, that’s a big deal and we want to take this opportunity to remember those who have lost their lives but at the same time say thanks to all the men and women who serve our community and do the exact same thing that those men and women did then on a regular basis,” he stated. “We’re both in the business of saving lives, we can’t do what we do unless they do what they do.”

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I am a reporter with The Daily and Sunday Review in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. See a story? Let me know!