LCRA grant to help replace damaged Buchanan VFD equipment

STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY

Lower Colorado River Authority representatives presented a $24,000 grant to help the Buchanan Volunteer Fire Department purchase a system to refill air tanks. The department’s old system was damaged after thieves broke into the facility in January. Pictured are Lt. Wade Williamson (left), department secretary Amanda Lehmann, LCRA board member Lori A. Berger, firefighter Tim Gardner, Capt. Mike Butler, Chief Mark Hutson, Assistant Chief Chad Mitchell, LCRA board member Raymond A. ‘Ray’ Gill Jr., and LCRA Governmental and Regional Affairs representative Steve Dyer. Courtesy photo

Lower Colorado River Authority representatives presented a $24,000 grant to help the Buchanan Volunteer Fire Department purchase a system to refill air tanks. The department’s old system was damaged after thieves broke into the facility in January. Pictured are Lt. Wade Williamson (left), department secretary Amanda Lehmann, LCRA board member Lori A. Berger, firefighter Tim Gardner, Capt. Mike Butler, Chief Mark Hutson, Assistant Chief Chad Mitchell, LCRA board member Raymond A. ‘Ray’ Gill Jr., and LCRA Governmental and Regional Affairs representative Steve Dyer. Courtesy photo

BUCHANAN DAM – The Lower Colorado River Authority awarded the Buchanan Volunteer Fire Department, which was recently struck by vandals and thieves, thousands of dollars in grant funding to replace life-saving equipment.

On May 22, officials presented the department with a $24,000 check, which will go toward the purchase of a new industrial air compressor.

Since January, the volunteer agency has relied on neighboring fire stations or private scuba shops to refill firefighter air tanks after a break-in during which thieves either stole or damaged equipment, including the compressor.

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With the grant, fire officials will purchase a mobile system of six high-pressure cylinders along with the compressor.

The department will provide $6,000 in matching funds for the equipment.

The LCRA grant was a welcome surprise for the small volunteer department, which relies on limited tax funding from Llano County Emergency Services District No. 2 and two fundraisers each year.

“We use self-contained breathing apparatus to help protect against exposure to harmful fumes, and we also use the underwater scuba tanks for water rescue dives or recovery operations,” said Assistant Chief Chad Mitchell in a media release May 22. “Air tanks are vital safety gear for our firefighters when responding to a wide range of emergencies in the Lake Buchanan area.”

LCRA’s donation is one of a number of grants recently awarded through the entity’s Community Development Partnership Program.

The program offers funds to cities, counties, volunteer fire agencies, regional development councils, and other nonprofit organizations.

LCRA is now taking applications, which are due by July 31, for the next round of grants.

Go to lcra.org to apply.

connie@thepicayune.com

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