Horseshoe Bend raising money to replace charred fire truck - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Horseshoe Bend raising money to replace charred fire truck

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HORSESHOE BEND, AR (KAIT) – Fire stations are not supposed to burn, but the one at Horseshoe Bend did a few years ago.

The Horseshoe Bend Fire Department has since replaced almost everything now except for one key piece of equipment – an additional pumper truck.

The firefighters began raising money last summer to finally buy a replacement vehicle, and they are getting closer and closer to their fundraising goal.

The fire that broke out shortly after midnight on January 21, 2009, was one that the Horseshoe Bend Fire Department could not fight. That's because it happened at the fire station where all the equipment was stored.

"We lost our fire station, two of our pumper trucks, damaged our tanker truck, lost all of our hosing and a lot of our overall firefighting equipment," firefighter Al Comen said.

Comen says the fire caused an estimated $600,000 in damage overall.

"The night of the fire, we had 11 fire departments to help us," he said, "and that's just something tremendous in itself."

The fire department has used insurance money, two grants and countless community donations to rebuild the station and get newer equipment.

"We're almost back together," Comen said, "and right now we're working on what I call the last piece of the puzzle."

The puzzle will be completed, he says, once the department can buy one more pumper truck to round out its fleet.

The firefighters set out last August to raise $90,000 to cover that cost, and the community's response has been overwhelming.

"Support just came in from everywhere, and people were wanting to know what they do and offering to do fundraisers and everything," firefighter Jeanette Hilliker said. "It's just really been outside-the-box and just really been heart-warming."

"We've had spaghetti dinners and casino nights, poker run and gals' bunko," Comen added. "They've all been tremendous in terms of the response."

The firefighters are now about $30,000 short of their goal, so they hope it won't be too longer now until they can buy another pumper and get things running normally again.

"It'll be a sweet day," Hilliker said. "It'll be finally like all the kids are home."

An upcoming golf tournament has been organized to benefit the fire department.

The Horseshoe Bend "Fire Station Open" will be held Saturday, May 18, starting at 8 a.m. at the golf course on Turkey Mountain. The tournament is a three-man scramble and will cost each team $120.

People should call 870-670-5252 to get more information about the tournament or to register a team.

Donations can also be sent to the Horseshoe Bend Fire & Rescue Association, an official nonprofit.

Its mailing address is 704 W. Commerce Street / Horseshoe Bend, AR 72512.

People can also call Horseshoe Bend City Hall at 870-670-5113 for additional information.

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