DAINGERFIELD, Texas –
Jenkins Volunteer Fire Department has converted a second Steward Stevenson, excess military truck from the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services into a firefighting machine by adding a slip-on unit, front bumper nozzles, and drafting capability.
The firefighters received the equipment through the DOD Firefighter Program, a partnership between DLA Disposition Services and the U.S. Forest Service. DLA receives excess military equipment from the armed services and the Forest Service helps rural fire departments acquire it.
“This truck is replacing a small pickup that had an addition of a smaller water tank and it didn’t have off-road capabilities,” said Jenkins Fire Chief Ronald Brantley.
He added that this was the second truck the department had received from the program. The most recent truck is a 2.5-ton truck while the first one is a five-ton hauler.
Brantley said the trucks are primarily used to fight brush fires, but with their high clearance and four-wheel-drive capability, they will also be used during floods when authorities need to perform rescues in flooded areas.
“These trucks are going to be a great help for us and the communities around us,” Brantley said, noting that he receives $480 a month from the county to fund his department. Even with donations from the community, which he characterized as “great support,” there is no way their community could have afforded two brush trucks comparable to what they received from DLA.
“With these trucks, we have the best fire department we have ever had,” Brantley said.
These are just two of some 800 trucks that have been transferred at no cost to Texas volunteer fire departments through the program. In Texas, 73% of the state’s fire response effort is provided by volunteer departments that are supported and funded by local communities.