Speegleville firefighters in need of new brush truck

Posted at 7:24 PM, Nov 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-26 21:44:25-05

Christopher Lindsey has lived in Speegleville all his life. 

He's less than a mile away from the volunteer fire department. 

"Don't know anyone by name but I know they're probably good people," Lindsey said. "They genuinely care, they're not getting a paycheck. They're trying to make a difference."

Anthony Czajkowski is one of about 20 volunteers who keep Lindsey's neighborhood safe. They respond to more than 200 calls each year across 40 miles.

He loves giving back, but being part of a volunteer department has its struggles.

The department receives about $6,000 from McLennan County. Their operating costs for the year run closer to $20,000.

"The fleet is getting a little older and the costs are coming quicker and quicker," Czajkowski said.

One brush truck and one engine from the 1980s are in need of major repairs. Czajkowski said fixing them would cost more than they can afford.

"We made an executive decision to go ahead and sell those two trucks and purchase a new truck so that our maintenance costs would actually drop," Czajkowski said.

Czajkowski said they chose to replace the small brush truck since it's multipurpose. 

While it will come in handy during the spring and summer to fight brush fires, it can also be used for rescues and transportation. 

Kevin Merritt is the Assistant Chief of the Speegleville Fire Department. He said they should bring in about $10,000 once both trucks are sold.

They'll still need the community's help to raise $40,000 more.

Until then, the firefighters will do the best with what they've got.

"We're always going to be here, we're always going to respond," Czajkowski said. "Regardless of what equipment we have, we're going to show up."

A few words of comfort for Lindsey who plans on lending a hand.

"The whole community needs to step up," Lindsey said. "At least everyone can throw a little money in because it's really for us, not them."

You can make a donation on their GoFundMe page here. They have already raised more than $700. 

An Emergency Services District is one option volunteers fire departments can pursue to ease financial hardships. An Emergency Services District would collect tax money that would go toward fire protection services in an area.

EDSs are created through a grassroots effort. A petition signed by at least 100 voters would have to be presented to the County Commissioners Court and an election would be called to create the district.

So far, there are no EDSs in McLennan or Bell County. There are three in Falls County.

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