MEERS, Okla._The Meers Volunteer Fire Department is getting some much needed work done. As it stands now, the volunteer station doesn't even have running water.
The department was established in 1956 and in 1998 they moved to their current building where they don't have running water, except for what they use to fill their trucks with. Their current building has the bare necessities, but for these fire fighters who have dealt with some difficult fires over the years, they deserve more than just the basics. With the grant the department is expanding their building to add to their truck bay, add two bathrooms and a common area for meetings and training.
"This is a dream, we have been dreaming on it for years. We really started acting on it three or four years ago when the big fire came out here. The responding fire departments from all around the state came through and said ‘where's your restroom?' We said out back," Fire Chief Bill Cunningham said.
Not only is it out back but it is in a cow pasture, and Cunningham said it's tough to have to walk through an animal's bathroom just to get to your own. They said it's not all about the bathroom but they also need a quality area to train for their dangerous job and that was the main reason behind the expansion.
"We have to attack fires in a planned and organized manner, rather than just chaotically in order to be effective. All of that requires training, discipline, banning together as a department representing our community," said Cunningham.
A big part of the expansion is extending their truck bay, as of now, they don't have room for rescue vehicles and are storing other vehicles at their old building down the road. When they are able to move them over, after the project, they'll use the old building for storage. In addition to all of the new improvements, the company doing the work entered a bid significantly lower than the others and the lower cost will help the department in the future. The extra savings is something Chief Cunningham already has plans for, "There's always a need for trucks and apparatus, these two white trucks that we have here are 1984 models and they're well worn and we need to replace them, and that costs money."
They hope to have the project completed by May 24th, which is the day of the 25th annual Tour de Meers. Cunningham said that means they'll be able to show participants where some of their money has gone,
The grant is for $45,000 and the department is matching that. The cost of the building project is $75,000 so that extra money will toward equipment inside the new addition.