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Lisbon fire department to donate snowmobile race proceeds to family hit by fire

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LISBON — Racers from all over the state and Canada brought their snowmobiles to the Lisbon Volunteer Fire Department’s field on Pray Road on Sunday to compete in drag races and to raise money for the Morrison family, whose barn and more than 30 dairy cows were destroyed in a fire last week.

Fire Chief John A. McLear said the fire department will hold a special meeting tonight to vote on whether it will donate the proceeds to some of its own.

“We have to vote on that as a fire department, but I don’t see any problem with it,” Mr. McLear said.

The barn, at 752 Pray Road, was owned by Lee B. Morrison, the department’s assistant fire chief, and his father, Francis A. Morrison, the oldest member of the department, who has been there for 52 years.

“I’ve been to a lot of fires, but I never thought it’d be my own,” Francis Morrison said with tears in his eyes. “My son and I just couldn’t believe they were going to do something like this donation.”

Francis was present for the races, but he said his son was “not ready to see the public just yet.”

“It hit him hard,” he said.

During a pre-race address, Mr. McLear told the racers about the tragedy that was personal to the department.

“They lost everything they ever had in that barn fire, so we’re here to put on a show for them today,” he said. “The farm is three generations. It was built in 1927 and now it’s flat on the ground with every animal that was in the barn gone.”

The all-day event had a $5 admission fee, and the race registrations were $10 for adults and $5 for the children’s race.

Mr. McLear said the races are one of the department’s biggest fundraisers, averaging about $3,600 a race.

“It’s going to be a lot lower today because the people aren’t here,” he said.

He said the department missed out on about $8,000 because there has not been enough cold weather or snow to hold the races the last two years.

“We have two races a year depending on the weather,” Mr. McLear said. “Snowmobiling is big around here as long as we’ve got snow. I’ve got two sleds sitting in my shed that haven’t moved in three years because we haven’t had any snow.”

The first race the department held this year was two weeks ago, with 136 racers, but Sunday’s had only 83.

“We have a small crowd today,” Mr. McLear said. “And it’s much warmer today too. Two weeks ago it was 9 degrees.”

Mr. McLear said the department may try to hold one more day of races before the season ends if weather permits.




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