Volunteer Fire Departments Dealing With High Gas Prices

by Anayeli Ruiz
NewsWest 9

HOWARD COUNTY - The price you pay at the pump keeps going up and those sky high gas prices are now hurting local volunteer fire departments.

After a busy week of grassfires, NewsWest 9 went to see how local departments are coping with this new expense.

When an emergency call goes out, they respond. But this past week, volunteer fire departments have had to respond to more fires than usual. The recent fires have caught them off guard.

"We're getting slammed, the resource trucks are tearing up, we are in a critical state because last weekend took a lot of resources, so it's gonna be hard to recover," Howard County Fire Chief, Tommy Sullivan, said.

The department is getting hit hard, they have to spend money on diesel to fill up their trucks and gasoline to operate the water pump.

"It cost me $182 an hour for my seven trucks. That's what the fuel cost is running an hour to fight fires," Sullivan said.

And with all the grassfires this past week, their fuel budget is taking a hit, but this isn't the first time the department has had to deal with this.

"In 2008, we ran out of money in my fuel budget," Sullivan said.

Although Commissioners were able to give them the money they needed, they know that running out of gas money can be a tough obstacle.

"If they cant pay their fuel bills, the trucks will have to stop and wont run. Around West Texas people need to support volunteer fire departments," Sullivan said.

If Howard County runs out of money for fuel, Commissioners will try to find extra cash to fill up. But volunteers want all the support they can from everyone in the area because this is a community effort.

"The volunteer fire departments, our job is dedication and service to our communities," Sullivan said.

Most volunteer fire Departments NewsWest 9 talked to say that even with these high gas prices they will find a way to fill up their trucks so they can respond to emergencies.