Assistant Fire Chief Lee Wallek, speaking on behalf of the department, said much of the group’s growth is because of the Eagle Ford Shale boom. But donations play a big part of it, too.
The new 2012 pumper truck cost the city $352,000 and replaced a 1986 pumper.
“The city has two pumpers, a primary and a secondary. Now, this 2012 truck is the primary,” Wallek said.
“We took delivery of it in December,” he added.
He said the truck was funded “pretty much through revenues generated by the Eagle Ford Shale.”
But he was quick to say thanks to the community for all its donations, particularly to the Live Oak County auction and other donations.
The fire department relies on innovation as well as donations. After all, each firefighter receives a whopping $3 each for every call they go out on. And they receive $2 for each meeting they attend.
“I joined in 1989, and it hasn’t changed since,” Wallek said.
The department’s creativity to make ends meet came in the form of another new truck – a brush truck for the county.
The George West Volunteer Fire Department, if anybody didn’t know, serves both the city and the county. And the trucks it has are dedicated to one or the other.
George West Police Chief Ray Garcia donated a confiscated vehicle to the department. That was the beginning of an effort to create another brush truck.
Volunteer firefighter Eddy Ybanez built a special bed for the truck, and a San Antonio painter did lettering, as well as the paint job.
Wallek said the department bought a used motor, and the hose for the truck was a new recalled hose.
“The material and a little for the labor came pretty close to $14,000,” Wallek said.
So now the department has five brush trucks and three pumpers.
And there’s another innovative truck on the way.
Wallek said Live Oak County paid $5,500 for a surplus five-ton Army truck – potentially another pumper – that was in San Antonio.
He said two bids in the neighborhood of $42,000 to complete making the vehicle a firefighting unit have been submitted.
He said the truck would be a great savings for that size.
Wallek also thanked the oil companies for support.
He said Conoco-Phillips contributed $7,000 to all the fire departments on the area.
Wallek said he was grateful for all the support the community has given to the department and consequently to safety.