Horseshoe Bend raising money to replace charred fire truck

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

The Horseshoe Bend Fire Department has since replaced almosteverything now except for one key piece of equipment – an additional pumpertruck.

The firefighters began raising money last summer to finallybuy a replacement vehicle, and they are getting closer and closer to theirfundraising goal.

The fire that broke out shortly after midnight on January21, 2009, was one that the Horseshoe Bend Fire Department could not fight. That'sbecause it happened at the fire station where all the equipment was stored.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 andget things running normally again.

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

An upcoming golf tournament has been organized to benefit thefire department.

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

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

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

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

People can also call Horseshoe Bend City Hall at870-670-5113 for additional information.

Copyright 2013 KAIT.All rights reserved.