CORPUS CHRISTI — Local volunteer fire departments are working like never before, responding to much bigger and more frequent fires. Beeville VFD Lieutenant Gregory Garcia has been with the department for five years and said he hasn't seen a fire season like this one.
"Sometimes, it's one to six calls a day," Lt. Garcia said. "It depends on how the day is and the trucks get worn and it's hard because they've never been run like this."
Making sure their trucks and equipment are in working conditions is crucial but it can get very expensive. Sandia VFD fire chief Henry Barajas said his department is hurting. Barajas tells KRIS 6 News they lost two major trucks by damage going through brush during major fires and a third one is also in need of repairs. Fuel cost is also hurting the department's bottom line.
"Trying to keep these trucks fueled up with diesel is really hurting us as well," Barajas added.
Chief Barajas said approximately 30 of the departments budget goes to fuel. Almost 70 percent of the nearly $120 thousand is gone. He said they are already thinking of ways to make money.
"Start doing some fundraisers, probably selling plates. Hopefully, other businesses in the area can donate," Barajas said.
Some local businesses like Blue Ribbon Country Store hosted a donation drive and delivered items like bottled water and snacks to their volunteer fire department. Store manager Katie Colvin said she responded to her local VFD post on social media in which they asked for donations.
"We wanted to give back to them. They've been fighting fires all over the place, as well as working with other local fire departments so we decided to put donations together," store manager Katie Colvin said.
These donations are already making a difference among fire crews who continue to battle fires ahead of a busy fire season.
"We thank the community that are supporting us locally," Lt. Garcia said.