HARTLEY, TX (KFDA) - In addition to a $200,000 grant from the Texas A&M Forest Service, local businesses and members of the community came together to raise more than $80,000 for a new truck.
“It carries a lot more water, it carries a lot more personnel, a lot more tools,” said firefighter Danny Sadler. “So we’re able to do a whole lot more stuff with it.”
It’s replacing a 42-year-old truck firefighters said is too difficult to maintain.
“We’re all volunteer so we have jobs, families and everything and the last thing we need is to be up here working on our old equipment all the time,” said department chief Scott White. “Guys come in from the calls late at night, something broke down and we have to stay and work on them cause we never know when we’re going to need it again and it just becomes a hassle.”
Right now, the truck functions as a pumper to fight structure fires and hay fires.
White said they began efforts to acquire the new truck a year ago and it comes at a time when cotton and hay fires are common in the area.
“About a year ago now, we had a lot of cotton modules on fire, we had several hay fires this year,” he said. “Cotton harvest is starting right now and so that’ll pick up again and with this moisture we’ve had, it’ll make the hay wet and spontaneous combustion can kind of start some of them hay fires like that.”
The truck is also a tanker that can hold up to 2,000 gallons of water to supply other trucks.
He said this function helps in rural areas where there is limited access to a water supply.
“We did start a grass fire season in February is when we started here,” said White. “We spent about three weeks almost everyday out on a grass fire somewhere so we were pretty busy, yes. And this truck would have come in real handy then."
The firefighters want to thank the community for their support they say is needed not only during a major fire season, but year-round.
“We live in a great and generous community and we’re just so thrilled to be here and to be able to serve the people here and we’re just very thankful for them supporting us,” said Sadler.
The fire department was able to order the equipment the truck still needs for it to operate as a rescue vehicle.
They said those tools will be in by the end of the week and the truck will be in use by the middle of next week.