Calvary Presbyterian Church and the Newburgh Fire Department welcomed community residents and supporters on Saturday, October 22 to their Fire Prevention and Safety Fair to celebrate the church and the department and to enjoy a day of community and learning about fire safety.
Calvary Pastor J. Edward Lewis, said he was grateful to have this opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate the church community and fire personnel, in light of the fires that happened on Lander St. several months before and at Calvary in 2020. “We want to honor your [City of Newburgh Fire Department] work, because very often, first responders do not get much thanks,” said Lewis. “We are grateful that they were able to come and help us.”
On March 5, 2020, the church was subject to a fire that had broken in the late hours of the night. Lewis was reported to have arrived on the scene and witnessed fire crews combat the flames in hopes of containing it as quickly as possible. The fire did not reach the inner sanctuary but the fellowship hall was consumed by the flames and has been under construction since. Smoke and soot had also filled in the inner sanctuary which led to the cleaning and restoration of the prized organ which made its return several months ago.
During the afternoon, several elected officials and candidates also made guest appearances at the fire prevention fair as well and conversed with community members. “Whenever any of our departments get a chance to come out to the community, it’s important to make that engagement,” said Councilman Anthony Grice. “I’m really happy about this event.”
“Right now we’re promoting community safety and fire prevention. The more information we get to the community, the more safe our community becomes,” said Councilman Omari Shakur.
During the event, Kate Clarke, one of Calvary’s parishioners, was seen handing out information about fire prevention to both children and adults and also led the children in a fire prevention workshop in the church. A fellow firefighter, she was grateful to not only educate the community but also meet the community and discuss fire safety. “I am so grateful to the Newburgh Fire Department for teaming with us to do this,” Clarke said. “I’m so glad there’s so many community organizations coming out to support fire safety as well.”
Several organizations that were reached out to by community member Deborah Danzy included the NAACP, American Red Cross, the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club, the Orange County Department of Health and the Newburgh Free Library. Each of them made appearances at the event and offered additional information and resources to those who stopped by their booths. Additional funding for the event was made possible through the Awesome Newburgh Foundation.
From the late morning into early afternoon, city residents were able to meet with various fire personnel from the city, touch a truck, eat some cooked hot dogs and play outdoor games and children and adults received an additional fire prevention seminar. Firefighter equipment was also on display for people to inspect.