Meers VFD sustains storm damage - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Meers VFD sustains storm damage

MEERS, Okla._The community of Meers sustained some damage from Saturday's storms.

The Meers Volunteer Fire Department had several large bay doors blown off their department, leaving firefighters scrambling to secure the building. Although there was a tornado touchdown on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, the National Weather Service has not yet determined if this damage was caused by the twister, or by straight-line winds.

Meers Assistant Fire Chief Bill Cunningham was out of town in a hotel when he got the news.

"We were unloading and getting into the room and turned on the television and there was national coverage of the storm coming in on Meers," said Cunningham.

Within minutes, the storm rolled through the area and slammed into the volunteer fire department. It left the building intact, but the bay doors off their hinges and exposing the inside.

"I texted all the firefighters 'Please go help secure the station' and a dozen people showed up and had it secured within the hour," explained Cunningham.

The four bay doors are back up, but they don't open, leaving Meers down several trucks and to rely on their fire neighbors for backup. They need to be replaced. The only problem is funding the repairs.

"These big structural doors cost a lot of money and there's the labor to put them in and the hardware."

Fire officials aren't sure how much all this damage is going to run the department, but when it comes to securing funds, it couldn't have come at a more perfect time. The Tour de Meers, the fire department's biggest fundraiser, happens to be this weekend. Cunningham says the money raised through the annual scenic refuge route normally goes toward the station's general fund for equipment maintenance, but this year it'll help nip that damage bill in the bud.

"It'll pay for it...for that repair to some extent, sure," said Cunningham.

That will leave the station free to focus on their primary job of saving life and property and knowing the storm didn't get the best of them.

"We patch ourselves up, lick our wounds, and we go on. And we remain ready. Always ready," said Cunningham.

The Meers Volunteer Fire Department hopes to raise $18,000 at the Tour de Meers fundraiser. The event brings in hundreds of cyclists every year to ride through Medicine Park and wildlife refuge. For more information on how to register and help the fire department, check out www.tourdemeers.org.

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