West Texas volunteer fire department builds own fire truck to save money

LUBBOCK, Texas — Fire departments across the south plains often have to be creative when it comes to funding their departments and getting all the equipment needed, and that’s exactly what the West Carlisle Volunteer Fire Department has been doing.

Firemen at the department are currently building a grass fire truck, expected to hold 1300 gallons of water. As labor intensive as it may be, it’s actually not the first fire truck the department has built.

“I think our first one we built was in 90, 93. and we bought a chassis, found an old tank, and put it on there. Since that time, we’ve really refined how we do things and put out a really decent fire truck,” said Tim Smith, Fire Chief for the fire department. 

The firefighters have put in roughly over 300 to 500 hours of labor so far, but still not counting labor in ten previous trucks the department has built over the past 30 years. 

“This one was an older one of our retired vehicles. As they get a little older, they don’t have many miles on them, but they have a lot of hours. And so, the maintenance starts creeping up, the maintenance costs start creeping up. So, we find one to roll those out and replace those as needed,” said Smith. 

Not only are the firemen battling flames and maintenance, but they are working against a limited budget from the county. They were able to receive a $100,000 grant from the Texas Fire Service Grant Program to purchase a frame for the truck, the grant taking about five years for the department to get.  

“We would love to just call up the manufacturer and put an order in, but the funds just don’t…

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