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Okla. firefighters chosen for national competition

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HAMMON, Okla. – A local volunteer fire department got a huge surprise when a national company chose to give them free gear.

To celebrate 125 years in business, the inventor of the fire suit, Globe Manufacturing, decided it would donate 146 sets of gear to 16 volunteer fire departments across the country.

The Hammon Volunteer Fire Department applied for the giveaway but expected to be overlooked.

Fire Chief Charles Williams said, “We never expected to win.”

Williams said the department has applied for a lot of grants and giveaways over the years but has never won anything this big.

Much to their surprise, the firefighters learned that out of nearly 3,000 applicants, their department was chosen to receive six sets of equipment.

It couldn’t come at a better time.

The town of Hammon is currently classified as an area in extreme economic distress with 30 percent of the population below the poverty rate.

Due to the lack of funds, firefighters have actually been put at a greater risk because of outdated gear.

In 2010, the team was put to the test as a tornado destroyed parts of the town.

While searching for survivors, crews didn’t have appropriate equipment to keep them safe.

That is all set to change.

Chief Williams said, “This gift is very appreciated and needed.”

The firefighters will receive the donation and meet with representatives from the company later this week.