Tammy Treviño, administrator of the Housing and Community Facilities Program for the USDA’s Rural Development Program, said it was important for the agency to assist rural fire departments to purchase state-of-the-art equipment.
Paco Valentin of the USDA added the projects of the type that helped the BVFD purchase the new truck are important to the agency.
“I hope this is the beginning of a continued partnership,” Valentin said.
USDA spokesman Michael Canales told the firemen that he was born here in Beeville 40 years ago and was honored to be able to return for an event like the one held Friday morning.
Others present included Pat Siddons of San Antonio, whose company actually built the truck from the chassis to the monitor nozzle, Lisa Kenny, Jake Sheeran and Kathy McEntee.
“We couldn’t have done this without you,” BVFD Chief Donald C. Morris told the USDA representatives.
Morris explained that the department’s “first out truck” is a 1995 model and the second truck out is a 1980 model.
“This piece of equipment is state of the art,” Morris said.
The chief explained that the new truck is equipped with four “911” seats that will hold air tanks and Scott Air Packs so that firemen can get into their entry gear as they ride to the fire.
The 400-horsepower engine has 1,300 foot-pounds of torque and it can get the Pierce truck going at its maximum speed of 72 mph in just seconds.
The BVFD used $30,000 it had earned from its annual “chicken barbecue” fund-raising events to purchase two new Hurst Rescue Tools and have those installed at the rear of the vehicle.
Assistant Fire Chief Bill Burris said the vehicle will now be the department’s rescue vehicle.
Not only will firemen be able to use two extraction tools at one time to free victims from crashed vehicles, they will have 1,000 gallons of water on board and a pump that can put 1,500 gallons of water on a fire in one minute.
Because the new truck can pump water, Class A compressed air foam for structures or Class B foam for oil and gas fires, the volunteers will be able to put out fires at the same time the rescue tools are being operated.
The truck already has been equipped with new hose, connections, fire-fighting tools and other equipment needed in almost any emergency situation, including all the foaming agents firemen will need to fight any type of blaze.
After the USDA representatives boarded the truck for a demonstration ride, BVFD Chaplain Bill Stockton said the purchase of the truck would not have been possible without a lot of financial work on the part of former City Manager Ford Patton, City Finance Director and Assistant City Manager Robert Aguilar, Noel Valdez, a bond attorney with the law firm of McCall, Parkhurt and Horton, and the bond experts at Southwest Securities.
“They did a good thing,” Stockton said. The USDA had approved a $100,000 grant toward the purchase but that would not cover the cost of the entire vehicle. So the department arranged a low-interest loan for the city by purchasing bonds that the city sold for the $210,000 needed.
The Bee County Central Rural Fire District provided another $50,000 for the purchase of equipment needed to outfit the truck.