by: COURTESY PHOTO: GASTON FIRE - (Left to right) Seth Hedin, Randy Hoodenpyl, Lorne Vaught (kneeling) and Marti Marshall are some of the current volunteer firefighters with the Gaston Rural Fire Department, which celebrates its centennial year with a big open house Sunday afternoon. The Gaston Rural Fire Department is opening its doors for a Centennial Celebration from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 21.

The all-ages festival will take place at the fire station, 102 E. Main St., and spill over into nearby Brown Park. It will feature equipment demonstrations, fire engine rides, station tours, an obstacle course, live music, hamburgers and hot dogs (which will be free to the first 500 guests). There will also be prizes for the first 200 children, exclusive centennial hats for sale and the landing of a LifeFlight Helicopter.

In 1913, Gaston was a tiny farming community of 200 with a handful of old-timers who volunteered to fight fires using a hand-pulled hose cart carrying 50 ft. of hose and two 40-gallon water tanks.

The fire department has since grown into a Rural Fire District that serves a 55-square-mile area. The Gaston Rural Fire District is still primarily a volunteer department, with an average of 30 core firefighters. In 2012 they responded to 293 calls. Their engine now holds 750 gallons of water. For additional information, visit

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