Donations, grants provide funding for BVFD to purchase new utility vehicle for remote area rescues

Chief Bill Burris of the Beeville Volunteer Fire Department takes the wheel of the department’s new Polaris utility vehicle. Donations from local businesses and grant funds helped pay for the new vehicle. Burris said the UTV will be used to reach anyone lost or trapped in a remote location. The vehicle will enable firefighters to get to persons in need of rescue quickly and get them out of their situations and to help much quicker than if the firefighters had to go in on foot for the rescues. Firefighter Clinton Bagwell is in the front seat with the chief and BVFD volunteer firefighters Keith Stark and Darren Blankenship are standing in the back.

BEEVILLE – Someone lost in a remote area or trapped by a rapidly spreading brush fire in this county just saw his or her chances of survival increase.

The Beeville Volunteer Fire Department has just added a new Polaris utility vehicle to its fleet of emergency vehicles.

Fire Chief Bill Burris pointed out that the small, rugged vehicles do not come cheaply.

Fortunately, local businesses and organizations turned out to finance the purchase.

Burris said the Local Emergency Planning Commission and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality provided generous grants for the purchase, and two car dealerships, Aztec Chevrolet and Blake Fulenwider, supplemented the grant funds with significant donations to make the purchase possible.

The new UTV could end up playing an important role in saving lives in remote locations in the years ahead.

In the past, whenever someone was lost in the brush or trapped in a hard-to-reach location and needed rescue, firefighters have had to get to the victims on foot and bring them to safety.

That can be an arduous task in any weather in the South Texas brush country. But in the extreme heat of summer or during a blue norther in winter, that can make rescue especially difficult.

The UTV will enable the department to find lost victims and reach trapped individuals much more quickly.

Then, once the victim is located, the vehicle will enable firefighters to get that person quickly and comfortably to a waiting emergency medical service ambulance for treatment and the trip to the hospital.

Burris said the purchase of the new vehicle would not have been possible without the financial assistance of the businesses and organizations which provided the funds.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.