Three Parker County volunteer fire departments have purchased new apparatus thanks to grants from the Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program administered by Texas A&M Forest Service.
The three communities of Silver Creek, Poolville and Brock-Dennis, received grants of $100,000, $200,000 and $200,000, respectively.
Silver Creek and Poolville used the grant money to purchase brush truck -- small trucks designed for respond to grass fires and are beneficial is giving relief to the larger fire apparatus when calls come in for medical or non-structure fires, according to the forest service. Brock-Dennis used the money to buy a custom-built tinder.
Silver Creek's new brush truck will carry 25 percent more water than the one it is replacing, according to Parker County ESD 1 Fire Chief Stephen Watson.
"It is currently being up-fitted with communications and fire equipment and when completed will serve as first response for medical calls. We expect it to be in service the week of April 15," Watson said, adding the trucks 4-wheel-drive will give the apparatus needed off-road capability in times of wildland fires.
In Poolville, the volunteer fire department added a 2019 Freightliner large brush truck to their fleet that will replace an older unit Assistant Fire Chief David Pruitt said was having some mechanical issues.
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"The new truck sits higher, carries more water and can maneuver better around the rough terrain that we normally see while fighting grass fires," Pruitt said.
According to Pruitt, the truck's primary mission is to meet the service needs of Poolville community and mutual aid with neighboring departments for wildland fires in their rural setting.
"The 950 gallons of water and structure equipment make it capable of a fast initial attack on a structure fire," said Pruitt.
The Brock-Dennis Volunteer Fire Department added a custom-built tinder thanks to a $200,000 grant from the program.
"This new tender/pumper has a 1,000-gallon water tank that will increase our water capacity," said Fire Chief Travis Scrimshire. "It can also carry five firefighters and diverse firefighting and rescue tools."
Brock-Dennis Volunteer Fire Department serves their immediate community and a 100-square-mile mutual aid area.
"This new apparatus is designed with a dual purpose in mind," said Travis Sagebiel, Texas A&M Forest Service Resource Specialist. "It will be an asset to everyone in the Brock-Dennis VFD service area since it will be used for firefighting and rescue operations."
The Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program provides funding to rural Volunteer Fire Departments for the acquisition of firefighting vehicles, fire and rescue equipment, protective clothing, dry-hydrants, computer systems and firefighter training.