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Matt Watson, Tom Wheeler, Augie Capuchino and Sandy Chaille with new Engine 611 - photo Gina Clugston

North Fork Dedicates New Fire Engine At Annual BBQ

NORTH FORK – Over 425 people showed their support for Madera County Fire Station 11 and all our first responders at the annual North Fork Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary BBQ on Saturday, Apr. 28.

This yearly event is the biggest fundraiser for the Auxiliary, making it possible for them to purchase much-needed items for Station 11’s Paid Call Firefighters (PCFs) which are not provided by the County or Cal Fire.

Sandy Chaille and Janice Quistad – photo Gina Clugston

The generosity of the community allowed for a donation to Madera County Fire Department of $80,000 in February toward the purchase of a new Type 6 Engine for Station 11. The County matched those funds, and the new Engine 611 was on display at the BBQ.

A donation of $20,000 from the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation also went a long way toward making possible the purchase of the new engine. This is the second time the Foundation has made this very sizeable donation, and Janice Quistad, whose recommendation prompted the gifts, was in attendance on Saturday, allowing Auxiliary members to thank her in person.

Station 11 Captain Augie Capuchino and former Captain Diann Miller

Madera County Assistant Fire Chief Matt Watson was on hand to dedicate Engine 611, along with District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler, Station 11 Captain Augie Capuchino, former Captain Diann Miller, and Auxiliary President Sandy Chaille.

In addition to the engines and water tender from Station 11, there was equipment and personnel from Madera County Sheriff’s Office, Cal Fire, CHP, CAL OES, the Sierra National Forest and the local ham radio club.

CHP Officer Matt Fowles and K9 Pakito

SkyLife air ambulance landed on the playing fields behind Kennedy Hall so that everyone could get a look at the helicopter and learn more about its mission and the personnel who respond to medical emergencies.

Madera County deputy Drew Kirchert and K9 partner Arco demonstrated their skills in locating drugs, and CHP Officer Jose Chavez and K9 Boj, along with Officer Matt Fowles and K9 Pakito, showed the crowd how a suspect is quickly subdued once those canine jaws lock on.

The Auxiliary served 426 meals on Saturday, sold 45 tee shirts and 10 reflective house number signs, distributed 160 prizes during the drawing and silent auction, and received some very nice donations for the Frank Verduzco Scholarship fund. This amazing community support will allow the Auxiliary to continue providing Station 11 PCFs with all the tools they need.

Make sure first responders can find you when you call 911! Order your reflective address signs today by calling Barb or Sandy at 559-877-7796.

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