GIRARDVILLE - A Girardville Fire Company responded to a home on West Ogden Street in the borough Tuesday afternoon, but not for a fire call. They arrived to celebrate the birthday of one of the borough's oldest residents.
Maude Karwois, an auxiliary member of the Rangers Hose Company, turns 100 on August 2, but firefighters from the fire company came out to celebrate her birthday a day early, coinciding with their National Night Out event.
Firefighters climbed aboard a fire engine at the station just across Mahanoy Creek from Karwois' house, activated their lights and rode across the bridge to her house. From there, about 12 firefighters and neighbors came into her living room to present to her a large card and a cake. The contingent also sang 'Happy Birthday'.
"Everybody, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart." Karwois said to the crowd. "100, how about that? Tomorrow."
"You've earned the right to enjoy your cake." Firefighter Michael Zangari said.
"I want to thank everyone for being so kind and nice and, it was such a wonderful surprise." Karwois said. "I can't thank all of you. It's wonderful. I never thought I'd make 100."
"It's gonna be pretty hard to top this, what are you going to do for 101?" A videographer from WBRE/WYOU Eyewitness News asked.
"We'll bring two fire trucks, Maude." Girardville Fire Chief Frank Zangari said.
"I don't know about that." Karwois responded.
"We're getting ice cream with the cake." Michael Zangari joked.
Chief Zangari said Karwois' husband, Cyril, was a lifetime member of the Rangers Fire Company, serving for more than 65 years. Also according to Chief Zangari, Karwois is Girardville's oldest resident.
"She is as sharp as a cookie. She still supports our fundraisers, orders for our fish dinners and our wing nights." Chief Zangari said of Karwois. "I come down and take care of her smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detector. She knows when something's wrong in the house, or something's wrong in the neighbor's house, she'll call me and say 'come down and check it out.' It's an honor to be here today, an honor."
"I didn't think I'd ever reach my 100th, and definitely I never expected anything like this. It's unbelievable." Karwois said.