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Carthage fire department to restart its firematics drill team

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CARTHAGE — After becoming a member of the Carthage Fire Department, a young firefighter began planning to reestablish the Nighthawks firematics drill team.

“I saw the pictures on the wall of the old Nighthawks team and a lot of the guys were interested in racing,” said Cole V. Pacella, the firefighter spearheading the effort. “I grew up watching firematics. My grandfather was on the old Carthage Nighthawks team, and it would be my honor to get the Nighthawks competing again. This will not only bring our department closer together, but allow veteran Nighthawk members to see their old team on the track again.”

Mr. Pacella said he hopes to have the team up and running for the upcoming drill season, which will include the 2014 Northern New York Volunteer Firemen’s Association Convention to be held in June in West Carthage.

Since the events involve climbing ladders, coupling hoses, hose control and teamwork, firematic drills are considered training exercises, Fire Chief Sean P. McHale said at a Carthage-Wilna Fire District commissioners meeting.

Mr. Pacella has been recruiting team members, acquiring equipment and seeking financial sponsorship. Fire departments including Great Bend, Lowville and Deferiet have supported the reinstatement of the Carthage Nighthawks and given the team equipment.

“They’ve been fantastic,” Mr. Pacella said. He noted that mechanic Mike Harris, a member of the Copenhagen Cubs team, “has been a great help.”

The upstart team even reclaimed the “old Nighthawks racing ladder from the Theresa department,” Mr. Pacella said. The Nighthawks also have acquired hoses, nozzles and a portable hydrant. The team hopes to purchase from a Lowville man a firematics “B” truck that is fully operational.

The Carthage drill team has about 20 members, with 10 to 15 who actually will compete.

In appreciation of financial support, business logos will be placed on the racetrack or on the team shirt sleeves. Those giving support of $500 or more will be offered the option of displaying the truck in front of the business.

Mr. Pacella noted in a letter to sponsors that the truck not only will be seen at competitions at the local, state and possibly national levels, but also will participate in parades.

“This will not only advertise your business, but aid in recruitment for our department,” he said. The team is planning fundraisers to aid in the purchase of the truck and other expenses. It plans to hold a pancake breakfast with Santa before Christmas.

The Nighthawks competed from the 1930s until 1991. Mr. Pacella said the team will keep its traditional colors: midnight blue and gold.

For more information about the Nighthawks Team or to donate, call Mr. Pacella at 767-9383.

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