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Beeville donates fire truck to Tilden VFD
by Gary Kent
Dec 28, 2011 | 1606 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gary Kent photo.James Barrie (left), regional fire coordinator for the Texas Forest Service, and Assistant Fire Chief Bill Burris of the Beeville Volunteer Fire Department stand next to a 1980 Ford pumper the department is donating to the Tilden Volunteer Fire Department.
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BEEVILLE — The arrival of the Beeville Volunteer Fire Department’s new tower truck is a boon for the members of the Tilden VFD.

To make room for the monster, ladder truck at the C.M. “Smitty” Smith Central Fire Station, the BVFD had to move one of its older pumper trucks out of the garage.

The department decided the best thing to do with the 1980 Ford truck being moved out of the building would be to donate it to a fire department that does not have a pumper.

That was where the TVFD came in.

“McMullen County doesn’t have a pumper at all,” BVFD Assistant Fire Chief Bill Burris said. “They only have brush trucks and one tanker.”

The truck being donated should have everything the TVFD will need, including a 1,000-gallon water tank, a 1,000-gallon-per-minute pump, a generator, a 35-foot ladder, a 10-foot attic ladder and a pike pole.

The truck will first go to the Texas Forest Service and then be passed on to firemen in Tilden.

James Barrie, regional fire coordinator for the TFS in Beeville, said the transfer will be made through Texas’ “Helping Hands Program.”

State law, House Bill 680, makes it possible for fire departments to donate surplus equipment, like fire trucks, to the TFS to later be presented to fire departments which could use the equipment.

The law also allows donating departments to designate the recipient.

“We take the donation from the city and title it to the State of Texas,” Barrie said. “That takes the liability from the city and the BVFD.”

The folks in Tilden could not be happier with the decision.

TVFD Chief Jason Cooper said he and his assistant chief came to Beeville, looked at the truck and were happy with what they saw.

“They approached us and said they were getting a new ladder truck and asked us if we would like to have it,” Cooper said. “We don’t have a pumper.”

The chief thought the vehicle and its equipment had been well maintained and were in great shape.

“We could use a generator,” Cooper said. And the pumper has a separate compartment for the Jaws of Life.

“Right now we have our Jaws in the back of a pickup and not in a special compartment,” Cooper said.

Currently, the Tilden department uses a couple of the county’s vacuum trucks for tankers and it has three new brush trucks, including a 2011, four-wheel-drive vehicle that the county bought.

Cooper said the volunteers will need to learn to operate the equipment on the pumper.

“We’re anxious to get it, get started on it and get it into service.”

Barrie said there is some paperwork to be completed between Beeville and the TFS before the truck is passed on to Tilden. He said the McMullen County department should acquire the truck sometime after the first of next year.

“We haven’t used the truck in years,” Burris said. “We’re really happy to see Tilden get it.”

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

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