What is the best solder/flux combination for 1/2& copper pipes?
The spring you found, is the spring tension-er for the belt. You can replace it, and you should be good to go. It probably popped off because either a) the belt is worn out and stretching, or b) you hit some snow that made the blower die out. Either way, the spring goes down on the lower belt roller and back to the block. Real easy to fix. Keep it. I have had my 20 toro paddle snow blower for well over 15 years, and It keeps going like a champ.
Spur of the moment - off the top of my head answer: Volunteers may have other things going on so they're not always going to be there when they're needed unlike a paid fire department who will always be there because they are paid to. Volunteer is cheaper though.