CLAIBORNE COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE)- Two volunteer fire departments in Claiborne County are thankful for two donated firetrucks but say more help is needed before the trucks are ready for action.
Volunteer fire departments rely heavily on donations to keep their doors open and their community safe, but it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to keep up with equipment needs.
Thankfully, two volunteer fire stations in Claiborne County received trucks from a fire station in Bloomfield Connecticut free of charge. However, they still need to be fitted with the proper equipment and that takes money, which is something firefighters at volunteer fire departments say is hard to come by.
“We had a need for a tanker truck and I had put out some request to look for some help,” North Tazewell Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief LaRoy Brandt said.
Fire Chief Brandt said he reached out on Facebook to a group of other fire chiefs across the country which is when he got a call from the chief of Bloomfield Center Fire Departments in Bloomfield, Connecticut.
“He said we don’t have a tanker but we have another truck, we actually have two of them that we would be willing to donate,” Brandt explained.
Brandt reached out to other volunteer departments in Claiborne County including South Claiborne Volunteer Fire Department.
Their Assistant Chief Jeremy Harmon said, “They were asking if anybody else in the county was interested and I said well yeah, we can use a second truck.”
Now both trucks are in their new homes. The donation is a huge relief for both stations.
Brandt explained, “you’re looking at anywhere, used, $50-$100,000 and, brand new, a lot of fire trucks are pushing half a million.”
Assistant Chief Harmon said, “before this truck, we had a 1976 EF Mack which is still in service. We’re actually going to transfer it to our third station. So, this will be our second new truck, and well that’s all we got is the old apparatus.”
After a short pause, Harmon added, “Volunteer, that’s all we can get.”
The trucks may have been free of charge but now they must fit them with the proper equipment before they can be in use.
Chief Brandt said, “ we’re going to spend another five to $10,000 trying to outfit it. It would also be great if we can put some brand-new self-contained breather apparatuses on it but one of those is $10,000.”
Each station relies on grants and donations to keep its trucks running.
For both stations, this donation is one they’re grateful for.
“This is definitely going to make a difference for us and our ability to serve our community,” Brandt stated.
They hope the community can help them raise more money to get both trucks on the road. Harmon added, “when the tone drops we leave our family and our activities to go help the ones in need. It’s harder to find volunteers than what it used to be.”
Both Chief Brandt and Assistant Chief Harmon say if you can’t make a monetary donation, they are always looking for volunteers.
To reach out to North Tazewell Volunteer Fire Department you can click here.
To reach out to South Claiborne Volunteer Fire Department you can click here.