Firefighters Stretch Dough to Record Breaking Length

Punxsutawney, PA – October 7, 2007 – Fox’s Pizza Den of Punxsutawney hosted the 6th annual ‘Pizza and Prevention’ event on October 6, 2007.  The event, which began on the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, was originated as a way to show appreciation for first responders and to promote disaster prevention in the area.  Eventually the date was set as the first Saturday in October, combining National Fire Prevention week and National Pizza Month while still acknowledging local hometown heroes & keeping the 9/11 theme alive. 

D. Matthew Powell, President of the Punxsutawney Fire Department, has been a part of this event since its inception in 2002.  He states “Each year we seem to reach out to more and more homes that are in need of a smoke detector.  Smoke detectors play a vital role in alerting residents that there is a fire.  A smoke detector with a missing or dead battery doesn’t do any good; therefore, we also provide a battery for those who already have a detector in place.  The funds that are raised by this event are critical in our day to day operations.  We rely on this money since the normal budget can only provide so much and is normally already set aside to pay fuel costs, utilities, insurance payments, vehicle maintenance and things of that nature.  Consider the cost to equip a new firefighter, one set of complete protective equipment costs approximately $2,000.  If the department accepts just 5 new members we can expect to spend $10,000.”

Each year the occasion has grown a little larger, with 2007 being a banner year as more businesses and community members become involved.  Local businesses sponsors includedFezell’s County Market, WPXZ 104.1 fm, Pinned Designs, Stello Foods, Personally Yours Printing,  Mayor James Wehrle, and Wayne Pifer Funeral Home.

Donations, tips to firemen / delivery drivers and the purchasing of 1796 Big Daddy pizzas raised in excess of $18,000.  To date ‘Pizza and Prevention’ has raised over $68,000 for the Punxsutawney Fire Department and has equipped more than 2,000 homes with working smoke detectors, courtesy of Nationwide Insurance, the Kengersky Agency.  Cheri Yount, manager of Fox’s Pizza Den, who has been on hand for all past events stated, “It’s a lot of work, but we have a good time & we like the fact that we are helping the community.” Fox’s Pizza Den donates 100% of the purchase price.

The event has not only become a local phenomenon but has caught national attention.  Several vendors moved to participate included; Sunny Dell Foods, Stronghaven Containers, Wal-Mart, James R Fox Sr and CFM Concepts.  Patrons of the event have driven as far as 150 miles to buy a pizza and have wired donations from Canada.

More details and photos can be viewed at