Papalote Volunteer Fire Department receives new brush truck

Posted at 6:27 AM, May 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-17 07:27:35-04

The Papalote Volunteer Fire Department is preparing for wildfire season with a new brush truck.

It has been a long time in coming for the Papalote Volunteer Fire Department as they received a new, large brush truck with a grant from the Texas A&M Forest Service Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program.

“They were able to donate the truck to us, and the only thing we had to do is pay for the skid unit that goes on top, which is the tank and the equipment used  to put out the fires. We also get, from the forestry service, $20,000 given back to us on whatever we spend on the skid unit. Other than that, the majority of the money comes from our cook-offs and fundraisers we have to raise money for the fire department,” said Papalote VFD Fire Chief Lee Garza. 

The new brush truck has a 700-gallon water tank and foam capability that will help increase the department’s capability for fighting brush fires. 

“Within the month, sometimes we have anywhere from 2-5 fires, sometimes it can be more. A lot of time, we go out to surrounding communities to help them out. We help all of South Bee County, all the way up to Beeville, and a lot of times we get paged out to San Patricio County. We are able to go out to Sinton and Mathis to help them,” said Chief Garza.

 The new converted military tractor brush truck can better meet the growing demand of brush fires and help ensure the safety of the people and property.

“Oh yes, it is very much a win-win for us. It is a win-win for the community out here to make sure that we are able to put out the fires that we end up getting out here in the area,” said Chief Garza.

The Papalote Volunteer Fire Department was established in the early 1970s and has 13 volunteers that provide fire service to a population of more than 1,200.

“Each one of us has a regular job. Most of us work in Corpus, and we have a 45 minute drive to work. The majority of guys that are retired, of the 13, spend most of their time at home to be able to support the fire department, and go out there and put out fires that happen during the day while the rest of us are at work,” said Chief Garza.

“One of the things we do here is have First Responders, and when people call in for medical emergencies, we are usually the first one on scene to help them until the Beeville Angel Care comes in from Beeville, which is roughly 18 miles away,” said Chief Garza.

Texas A&M Forest Service is committed to protecting lives and property through the Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program, a cost-share program funded by Texas State Legislature and administered by Texas A&M Forest Service.

This program provides funding to rural volunteer fire departments for the acquisition of firefighting vehicles, fire and rescue equipment, protective clothing, dry-hydrants, computer systems and firefighter training.

This weekend, the department will host their largest fundraiser, their 6th annual BBQ cook-off  on Saturday, May 18th-19th  at the Papalote Volunteer Fire Department located at 134 CR 629 Sinton, TX 78387.

For more information call(361) 742-9663.

All proceeds will benefit the VFD.