~Shared by Tammy Compton

A new convenience mart/gas station is slated to open in the former Rosemergy’s Garage on Route 590 in Lackawaxen Township. Owned by the Genirs Family and Woodloch, “The Market at Woodloch” is expected to be completed by the Spring of 2013. Woodloch will manage and operate the facility.

Located across the street from Woodloch Springs and about 1.5 miles from the all-inclusive family resort Woodloch Pines, the business will feature a gas station, groceries, full deli, Woodloch bakery items, coffee station, six-packs of beer, and some household items.

“We purchased the property to continue to enhance our local community, both asthetically and by offering a needed service. The convenience store will serve not only Woodloch guests but also the local community. Access to gas and some basic grocery-type supplies require residents in our area currently to travel a distance either direction. The facility will also be a welcome added service for Woodloch guests,” said Woodloch Owner and family member Bob Kiesendahl.

Estimated hours of operation will be 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. during peak seasons and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. during slower times.

“A significant portion of the project entails the Woodloch Real Estate, Construction and Woodloch Vacation Rental Reception Desk moving from the Clubhouse to the new facility. All three entities will benefit by having more of a public presence,” Kiesendahl said.

Total cost of the project is $2.8 million, including the land purchase with existing buildings, gutting the original station, clean up, and the projected cost of new construction/site improvements.

The original home on the property, due to be torn down in the coming weeks, has been utilized by both Forest Volunteer and Central Volunteer Fire Departments for training drills.

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Forest Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Treasurer Buddy Tascone said they were grateful for the opportunity. “It’s invaluable because it provides us with hands-on training within a facility that is actual and real. It allows the firefighters to go into something that presents itself with a real-life situation.” Much like entering a real structure fire, Tascone said, “You don’t know where rooms are, which way to turn through hallways.”

Central Volunteer Fire Chief Fred Gelderman said, “It’s always nice if we can get a building that’s donated prior to being torn down so we can practice. We all know that practice makes perfect.” It’s training that benefits the community and could ultimately save a life.

Gelderman said they held four training missions at the home. “We did some roof venting which is extremely important to allow smoke to penetrate up through the building and allow the firefighters to get in to fight the fire,” he said. They also removed windows and window frames during their drills, a move that makes it easier for firefighters to enter or exit a burning building. It also makes for a safer passageway when removing victims.

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Such intense training is what allows them to work as a well-oiled team in times of trouble.

Forest Volunteer Fire Chief Wayne Rosengrant said, “We always like to do training in an aquired structure like that.” Though they have a brand-new, multi-million dollar training facility in Lords Valley for area firefighters, the opportunity to cut into the outside of a real house or roof is invaluable. Armed with vent saws and huge K12 circular saws, Forest Volunteer Fire Department spent a good four hours on scene.

Rosengrant explained that they can’t actually light fire to the structure during training drills since firefighters have been hurt or killed in live burns in past.

Asked how he knows such training makes a difference, Chief Rosengrant said, “I’ve seen the difference. Personally, as a chief, I would rather have five guys that are properly trained over 15 untrained.”

Both fire departments invite interested parties to contact them about volunteering. Volunteerism has plummented over the years.

Though they’re 31 members strong, Chief Gelderman said only a dozen are active firefighters. “We rely alot on mutual aid fire departments, and they’re in the same predicament. Volunteerism is way down. We would love to have 20 people who were really active and responding to every call. It would be phenomenal.”

To contact Central Volunteer Fire Department, please call President Vince Albanese at 570-685-5605 or Chief Gelderman at 570-685-7340.

To contact Forest Volunteer Fire Department, please call Chief Rosengrant at 570-647-6136 or the fire station at 570-226-3491.