ANDREWS - After a record grassfire season, Andrews is putting more than $1 million into the volunteer fire department. Officials say it's necessary for the safety of their growing community.
"We've been one of the fastest growing cities of our size in the state. In the last census, we grew about 15 percent," Andrews City Manager, Glen Hackler, said.
The town has recently added a three-story Holiday Inn and new high rise apartments that are going to expand even more soon.
"We still need the capability to protect the property and the occupants, and provide training to our firefighters, so they are safe," Hackler said.
The city and county are working together to budget for the purchase of a new fire truck that will be able to reach those high rise buildings. That means they will also need a new substation to house the truck and a new multi-level training facility.
"You can only do so much training on a single story building," Emergency Manager, Mike Cook, said. "When you have a multi-story building, there are different dynamics involved."
The project comes with a hefty price tag. The county is budgeting $500,000 for the new truck. The city is taking care of the substation with $200,000. Both the city and the county will pitch in for the training facility, which is expected to cost about $600,000.
Hackler said that in a way, it's a tribute to the hard work of their fire department.
"Truly, what they've done the past several months is just heroic," he said. "I think it's a compliment to them, that we support them, not just with words, but with the equipment they need."