“I have an enormous amount of gratitude for the Lookout Mountain Fire Department,” Oehmig said. “They not only fought the raging gas fire that gutted my café, but they also hugged and cried with me as we watched my business go up in flames. Not many people realize just how far these brave men really went that morning.”
The fire was caused by a gas leak within the 100-year-old building, resulting in flames up to 20 feet, blocking any access to the shutoff valve. Some firemen created a wall of water, while another walked in, acting as a human shield from the heat and flames. The men also kept the crowds safe after a fallen utility pole exposed a live wire.
Café on the Corner has since reopened; however, Oehmig has made it her top priority to raise awareness and funds for the volunteer firefighters in Lookout Mountain, Tenn., and Lookout Mountain, Ga. Her Fill the Boot campaign does just that.
“The Lookout Mountain fire department’s current budget isn’t enough for equipment such as beacons, which emit a screeching alarm if a fireman stops moving,” said Oehmig.
Oftentimes these beacons are either bought secondhand, or out of the firemen’s own pockets. The existing ones often don’t work at all.
“No one would want their husband to have to choose the air pack with a non-functioning beacon/locator as they go in to fight the fire,” states Oehmig. “I’m telling you, we are messing with the odds.”
Because of the Lookout Mountain fire department’s brave and selfless service in fighting the Café on the Corner fire, Oehmig has organized a fundraiser to provide the necessary equipment to keep the firefighters as safe as possible.
“This equipment isn’t cheap,” states Oehmig, “but it is our responsibility to do whatever we can to keep the people safe who are risking their lives to save our homes, businesses and often our lives. These men are our neighbors, friends, and active members of our community. Our role is to keep them safe while they are keeping our families safe. And I’ll tell you now, I am on a mission to see to it that that happens.”
The Fourth Annual Fill the Boot Fundraiser will be held on Tuesday, November 6, at 5:30 p.m. at Cafe on the Corner to raise funds for necessary equipment. For a donation of your choice, there will be hamburgers, hotdogs and chili for dinner, a fire truck and coloring activities for the kids, and beer for purchase for the grown-ups. For any further information or ways to support the Fill the Boot Fundraiser, please contact Ruth Oehmig at (423) 825-5005.