Sharing a gift for local firefighting

Bobby Joe Stewart, who is the emergency management coordinator for Live Oak County, and his wife Lisa stand in front of a fire truck that the city of Three Rivers may be soon donating to the Swinney Switch Volunteer Fire Department. Stewart was the Three Rivers fire chief about the time the truck was acquired. Lisa is currently secretary for the TR volunteer firefighters. (Photo by Jeff Osborne)

A 30-year-old fire engine that is seldom used by the Three Rivers Volunteer Fire Department could become an asset for another local department, assisting firefighters in Swinney Switch.

Three Rivers Fire Chief Henry Pullin has asked the Three Rivers City Council for permission to donate the 1991 pumper truck to Swinney Switch, which he said will benefit both communities.

“I can’t fit firefighters in the back of the cab and we don’t use it much,” Pullin said. “Swinney Switch needs a pumper truck. They do a lot of response with Matthis and Lagarto and this would be very beneficial to them. I am asking if the city would donate this truck to Swinney Switch – it would lighten my budget and help them at the same time.”

The vehicle is still “in excellent shape” but costs the Three Rivers department for upkeep despite the fact that it is rarely used.

“This would help Swinney Switch out and also give them a 1.000 gallons extra (capacity) for other fires,” Pullin said. “I am asking for permission to donate the truck to them. We no longer use it very often; it mainly has served as a backup, but I don’t have the personnel to run it (along with the department’s other vehicles).

“It is kind of a burden (financially) to the city and my fire department (to continue maintaining the vehicle).”

The Three Rivers Volunteer Fire Department sometimes provides assistance to Swinney Switch, but giving the truck to that department would be a big boost for their firefighting capabilities, said Pullin.

“We’ve been down there a few times to help them out, but it takes us 30 to 40 minutes to get down there,” he said.

“How many vehicles does the (Three Rivers) fire department have – six?” asked Mayor Pro Tem Patsy Roberts.

“We have six vehicles available,” Pullin said, adding that one pumper truck holds 1,000 gallons and another holds 1,200 gallons.

“If there is a structure fire in Three Rivers or George West, both departments are paged out at the same time.”

Pullin said he believes Swinney Switch could still get good use out of the 1991 vehicle.

“I hate seeing this one go to waste when it could still be used,” he said.

City Administrator Thomas Salazar said he will consult with City Attorney Roxann Pais Controneo about any potential legal issues involved before a donation would officially be made.

Live Oak County Emergency Management Coordinator Bobby Joe Stewart, who served as the Three Rivers fire chief in 1991, noted the truck only has 8,927 miles on it, and it has logged 1,347 hours use.

“It’s in excellent condition, and it will be an excellent piece of equipment for (Swinney Switch) for sure,” Stewart said.



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