Young County Rural VFDs Get Much Needed Funds

Six Texoma Volunteer Fire Departments are getting some much needed cash. During Mondays Young County Commissioner's Meeting it was announced that FEMA was reimbursing all five of the Young County Rural Volunteer Fire Departments: Murray, Salt Creek, Loving, Newcastle, Eliasville, plus Olney. FEMA awarded them $43,200.

Salt Creek Fire Chief Wayne Peters said he's thankful his group of firefighters are getting the rest they didn't get last year.

"We've been on 10 runs this year," he said. "Last year at this time it was about 50."

He is even more grateful for the money that's coming their way.

"It's going to be quite helpful. We've got some pretty old equipment that could be upgraded."

Last year Young County Rural Fire Departments were battling fires too big for their crews, like the one at Possum Kingdom that charred more than 100,000 acres. The hours and days of fighting the flames took a toll on their equipment. Replacements and upgrades the trucks need will likely be met.

Loving Fire Chief Mike Shepard said FEMA only reimbursed them about 75 percent of what they asked, still that in itself is a relief.

"It was good. We need the money to replace stuff that broke or wore out on the fires." said Shepard.

Safety is his main concern.

"Maybe this will get us where we can get some current, good bunker gear."

For a better part of the last year Young County Rural VFD's were running low on funds that were used for fuel, tires and minor repairs. Now several months into the year things are looking a little brighter.

The next process in this step is for the departments to meet and decide how the money will be dispersed. Most likely the departments will split it equally six ways. A decision on how the money will be split could be decided next month.

Crystal Hall Newschannel 6