Hagerman Fire and Emergency Medical Services Chief Chad Hamill welcomed the donation of a 1997 brush truck from Eddy County Fire and Rescue to assist firefighting efforts in the small Chaves County community located one hour north of Carlsbad.
Eddy County’s Board of County Commissioners approved donations of used fire trucks and equipment Sept. 6 to the City of Roswell Fire Department, Hagerman Fire and Emergency Medical Services and Dexter Fire and Rescue from Eddy County Fire and Rescue (ECFR).
Hamill said new fire trucks are costly to small rural communities like Hagerman, which had a population of 919, per data from the 2020 U.S. Census.
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He said new fire vehicles cost $300,000 or more.
As a municipality, Hamill said Hagerman does not have fire excise tax funds that unincorporated areas of Chaves County have.
“Our budget is tight, is a lot tighter. So, we take what we can,” he said.
Hamill said Hagerman Fire and Emergency Medical Services would use the 1997 Ford F-350 brush truck as backup to the current unit.
ECFR Chief Joshua Mack said Eddy County often donates to other fire departments in New Mexico once a fire vehicle ends its service with ECFR.
“There are many departments that have apparatus’ in worse shape than what we have replaced, even with issues most times it is cheaper for them to have repairs made to the apparatus we are separating from. It is a great way for ECFR to give back to other communities to enhance their fire protection capabilities,” he said.
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“Once the department has been identified we work with our Finance Department and then we take the recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners. Once approved it takes approximately 30 to 45 days to complete the donation process for Finance to the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration (NMDFA),” he said.
ECFR’s donations are not limited to small communities like Hagerman. The City of Roswell Fire Department accepted a combination of three brush trucks, a rescue truck and four pickup trucks, read Eddy County records.
The largest community in Chaves County, Roswell had a population of 48,422 according to the 2020 U.S. Census.
The City of Roswell has six fire stations in various quadrants of the city limits, according to the City of Roswell website.
City of Roswell Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Jeremy Kirkham said the department needed extra staff vehicles and the donation filled that purpose.
Kirkham was not concerned about the life span of the vehicles which range in age from 7 years old to 20 years old.
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“Eddy County has done a great job taking care of their vehicles. They’ll be a great asset for us,” he said.
Kirkham said the eight vehicles would save money and wear and tear for the Roswell Fire Department.
“They’re vehicles we can use that aren’t costing us,” he said.
Mack said ECFR sought replacement for fire trucks purchased over a designated time period.
“Many new apparatuses were purchased with these apparatuses identified to be replaced and they remained parked in the stations. So, at this time we feel that we have a good fleet and have identified an apparatus replacement plan that will enhance our capabilities with fewer apparatuses,” he said.
Mack said ECFR saved money, minimized the number of fire trucks in stations and reduced maintenance expenses during upgrades.
County commissioners approved the donation of two used brush trucks to Dexter Fire and Rescue.
Comments sought from Dexter Fire and Rescue on the fire truck donations were not returned to the Current-Argus.
Mack said ECFR tried to maintained relationships with fire departments as possible especially those in neighboring counties, other parts of New Mexico and across the nation.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter