Firehouse Subs Franchise Owner Ghorbani Donates Equipment To Local Fire Departments

Monday, February 24, 2014

Two Spartanburg County fire departments received important emergency response equipment on Wednesday.

Omar Ghorbani, franchise owner for Firehouse Subs restaurants in Spartanburg, gave officials with the Spartanburg Fire Department a skid unit. Roebuck Fire District officials received reflective color hydrant markers.

The total donation, provided through the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, was worth $17,700, including $10,600 for the skid tank and $7,100 for the hydrant markers. Both departments said the gifts will buy firefighters valuable time that could result in saved lives when fighting blazes.

"The measure of each corporate citizen's success is the impact that they have in their community," said Ghorbani, who owns four restaurants in the county and one in Greenville County near Taylors. "It's an honor to be able to do something that helps us serve more subs and save more lives."

The skid unit consists of a self-contained water tank, pump and foam system. It has been mounted in the back of one of the department's pickup trucks.

Marion Blackwell, chief of the Spartanburg Fire Department, said the multipurpose unit will increase the department's rescue abilities by allowing firefighters to respond to emergencies in places where large fire trucks can't go.

"We really appreciate (Ghorbani and Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation)," Blackwell said. "This is something that wasn't in our budget. The only way for us to get it was through this generous gift. " It will help us save lives."

Chris Harvey, captain of Roebuck Fire District, said the hydrant markers will allow first responders to quickly identify the flow range of hydrants and expedite the process of determining which one will help them best put out a fire.

"This is a big deal, especially when we have other departments assisting us," Harvey said. "They are not as familiar with the hydrants in our area as we are. This allows them to quickly and quietly identify which ones will best meet their needs for putting out a fire. " It saves time and will probably save lives. We are very grateful."

The donations were made at Ghorbani's restaurant at 159 S. Pine St. near downtown Spartanburg.

"Omar has been a strategic partner with departments here in Spartanburg and a valuable asset to Firehouse Subs by facilitating these donations," said Shawn Hooks, area representative for Firehouse Subs.

Last January, Ghorbani gave 11 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to the Reidville Fire Department and Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office.

In February 2012, he donated more than $25,000 in equipment to firehouses in Una, Woodruff and Hickory Tavern.

Ghorbani gave the North Spartanburg Fire Department a $10,000 grant for the purchase of a specially equipped Polaris Ranger ATV in November 2011.

Two months earlier, the franchisee donated more than $8,000 worth of life-saving equipment to the Croft Fire Department, including four gas monitors and two AEDs.

He donated $13,500 to the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office in 2009 for the purchase of state-of-the-art diving equipment, including five new Guardian Full Face Masks made by Ocean Technology Systems and five Pinnacle Evolution 2 Drysuits.

A year earlier, Ghorbani gave $14,500 to the Boiling Springs Fire Department for the purchase of an all-terrain vehicle.

Firehouse Subs created its Public Safety Foundation in 2005 with the mission of providing funding, life-saving equipment and educational opportunities to first responders.

Through the nonprofit, the company has given $8.3 million to "hometown heroes" in 36 states and Puerto Rico, including more than $700,000 in South Carolina.

Each restaurant recycles leftover, five-gallon pickle buckets and sells them to guests for $2. Donation canisters on register counters explain the foundation's mission and collect spare change, while the Round Up Program allows guests to "round up" their bill to the nearest dollar. All funds raised benefit the foundation.

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