Verizon asks Chincoteague firefighters to pony up $73000 for firehouse move

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One of the better known volunteer fire companies in the world (no, not Kentland) is in a battle with one of the best known telecommunications companies in the U.S. Famous for moving ponies across Assateague Channel each summer for its Pony Auction fundraiser, Virginia’s Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company is now planning to move its firehouse.

One road block is an estimated cost of $73000 to get Verizon to transfer telephone network equipment to the new location on Chicken City Road off of Deep Hole Road. The fire company has taken to social and mainstream media to voice its complaint (see Facebok posts at top and bottom of this story). Verizon has issued a statement explaining the expense of the move (see below).

My guess is Chincoteague VFC will prevail in this battle. I think there’s a good chance Verizon might decide that an in-kind donation will be a much better price to pay than getting on the wrong side of the vast “Misty of Chincoteague” lobby.

Lissette Nunez, MDT-TV:

Building a new fire company has been an ongoing project for the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company for the past eight years, but officials tell us that recently this project has hit a road-block. That’s because of a very hefty estimate to relocate a vital service for their operations.

“They want to charge us $73,000 to move cable lines. It’s just a ridiculous amount for a non-profit, a 5013c, a all volunteer fire company to come up with $73,000,” says Denise Bowden, the spokesperson for the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company .

Bowden is talking about Verizon’s quote to relocate the fire company’s current telephone cables to their future home on Deep Hole Road. 

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Hillary T. Chesson, DelmarvaNow.com:

“The Chincoteague fire department asked Verizon to relocate telephone network equipment from where they intend to build a new fire station,” said Michael Murphy, public relations manager for Verizon.

“What’s been missing from the story about the cost to complete the work is this: we’re not talking about moving a phone line or two. This is about relocating some 1,100 feet of 1200-pair copper cable along with fiber optic lines serving a large portion of Chincoteague Island. To meet the fire department’s specifications, we proposed burying those cables – an expensive process – but there are other ways to accomplish this. We’ll consider any design changes they are willing to make to reduce costs or lessen the impact to the island’s telecom equipment.”

Bowden said that in order to pay Verizon the sum the fire company, whose primary fundraisers include the annual volunteer fireman’s carnival and pony auction, will have to put other expenses on hold and take a significant hit to their budget.

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