Beaver Valley and its neighboring communities will soon have an added measure of safety. The Beaver Valley Fire District will soon be buying a new fire truck, with the capacity to haul 3,000 gallons of water to a fire.
"We are able to buy the truck thanks to a federal grant of $119,966, plus matching funds from the district," said Duke Arrington, chief of the Beaver Valley Fire Department.
The district received a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Assistance for Firefighters. The money will be combined with district funds to buy a tanker/pumper equipped to pump up to 750 gallons per minute. The truck should be purchased within the next two months, Arrington said.
"This truck is particularly important to the Rim country communities outside Payson because none of them have fire hydrants. Consequently, we have to bring our own water to any fire that may occur," Arrington said.
The district applied for the grant earlier this year, receiving the endorsement of Dist. 1 U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi (R).
"Renzi actually visited the community to see the situation," said Bing Brown, a member of the committee that searches and applies for grants on behalf of the fire district.
The BVFD was formed in 1998, but contracted for services from other districts until March 2003, when it became operational with Larry Martin, chairman, Corky Geissel, Ray Friesen, Wayne Switzer and Steve Plues serving as its board of directors.
During the board's tenure, the district has obtained $170,000 in grants. The awards made to BVFD include: $22,000 from FEMA for firefighters' protective suits and radios; $20,000 from the Arizona State Land Department; $4,000 from the Mogollon Health Alliance; and $2,000 from the Arizona Emergency Medical Systems. This money was used to buy a truck for fighting brush fires, an automated external defibrillator and other medical equipment, and a special fan to remove smoke from structures so firefighters can more safely search a building.
"These grants are vital to small departments such as ours," Arrington said. "Our tax base is so low that our district has only about $60,000 per year income. It must be used to pay all our annual expenses including our mortgage, utilities, gasoline for our trucks -- which get less than 10 miles per gallon -- insurance and maintenance. Without the help of Congressman Renzi and the FEMA grant program, it would have taken us nearly 10 years to save enough money to buy this new truck. With this additional equipment, our department is better prepared to serve people living in Beaver Valley and to assist neighboring fire districts whenever there is an emergency."