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Volunteer fire department wants more grant funding

Published: May. 10, 2021 at 6:54 PM CDT
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MARKED TREE, Ark. (KAIT) - Last Friday’s rescue of a man trapped inside of a grain silo was the second rescue in the past five years in Marked Tree.

For being a small town with just a volunteer fire department, help had to come from departments from towns like Jonesboro and West Memphis.

Only two Marked Tree Volunteer Fire Department members are trained to help rescue workers in these types of situations, and the department has none of the equipment to do the job on its own.

“We just don’t simply have that equipment,” said Jackie Ragan, the assistant chief of the Marked Tree Fire Department. “It’s not because the city doesn’t want us to have that equipment. The city of Marked Tree is very good to the fire department. They just don’t have the funding that it takes to send people to that type of training and to buy that type of equipment.”

Ragan says that the primary reason for the lack of funding is from allocation of grant money.

Larger towns like Jonesboro and Little Rock often receive most of the money from grants, leaving small towns like Marked Tree in the dust.

Ragan hopes that the makers of the grants focus more on smaller towns in the future, as they don’t have the tax money to invest in their departments properly.

“Here in Marked Tree, we have a tax base but it’s not that big,” Ragan said. “Towns like Little Rock don’t need the help like smaller towns like us, Tyronza, Lepanto and Trumann.”

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