LAWTON, Okla._Progress is still underway to get a fully operable volunteer fire department in place for residents in Pecan Valley.
Since making it his goal in May to have it up and running by the end of the year, Larry Cotton says he's making headway. Since our last visit with him, Cotton says the department has a temporary site to house the department. He says they've also received a donated truck and several pieces of donated equipment. But they still have a ways to go before they're ready to serve.
So far, five neighbors have signed up to volunteer as fire firefighters for the department. However, Cotton says they'll need at least double that, and they still need quite a bit more equipment in order to serve a neighborhood of around 800 homes.
Since deciding the area needed a volunteer fire department, Pecan Valley resident Larry Cotton says donations have poured in from volunteer fire departments all around the country, including Bowman, Texas, and Florence, Alabama. A pumper truck, firefighter gear and a 1,200 feet of hose were all donated.
"It's amazing that they have that attitude to help other fire departments that are just getting started," Cotton said.
Cotton says people having connections with other fire departments is what's helping get this volunteer department started. They even have a location to operate out of.
"It's the Lawton Auto Auction. The man that has it lives in our service area. He offered to allow us to use his building for the fire department," Cotton explained.
Along with all the gear being donated, Cotton says five men have already volunteered to be a part of the department, but he says they can still use more.
"We can get up to 20 on our agenda. A lot of times, people won't be able to respond so we need a larger number so we can draw from them so we have enough responding when the need arises," Cotton explained.
Cotton says they are having their first fundraising event Saturday. It will be a barbecue benefit at the Lawton Auto Auction, just north of the railroad tracks on Northwest 112th Street, from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The cost is free, but they will be taking donations.
The money raised is going toward another truck the department will need along with other fire equipment.