KARNES COUNTY – A donation presented by Freeport-McMoRan Oil and Gas last week put local firefighters’ efforts to raise $255,000 for a new tanker truck over the finish line.
Karnes City Fire Chief Charlie Malik expressed deep appreciation for the company’s $75,000 donation which helped the effort reach its goal for a piece of equipment that he said will be a very valuable tool for local fire departments to use when responding to major fires and other emergencies that require large volumes of water to bring under control.
“It was very wonderful news,” Malik said regarding the company’s decision to make the donation.
In addition to funds for the truck itself, the company included funds that will help modify and extend the fire station in Karnes City in order to keep the vehicle parked in a secure building when not in use.
Malik said that he was surprised at how quickly the fundraising goal was met, considering the large amount of money needed for the truck that will become known as “Tanker 1.” He credited both oil and gas companies, private individuals and other local groups for stepping up to help make this happen in a short time.
The truck will carry 15 tons of water and will also have a 3,000-gallon collapsible water tank on board that firefighters can quickly set up at the scene of a fire so that the truck can unload water into the tank and then go for another load while firefighting efforts continue.
The truck has been ordered from a company in Iowa, Malik said, and he expects delivery in about six months, hopefully sometime in December.
Representatives of Freeport-McMoRan said they were happy to help the local firefighters finish the fundraising drive.
“We are pleased to make a $75,000 donation to the Karnes City Volunteer Fire Department that will benefit all citizens within the county,” said Craig Landry, manager of regional operations for the company. “The much needed funds will be used to purchase a 3,000-gallon tanker water truck and to build new facilities to house this truck.This truck will be used to fight fires throughout the county. We are so very proud to consider ourselves active members of this outstanding community. We thank the fire chief and all of the volunteer firefighters, many of whom have full time jobs, who put their lives on the line to protect us all. Thank you for the opportunity to help.”