East Texas fire departments rebuilding during this summer's slow wildfire season

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Days of rain this summer are providing relief for volunteer fire fighters across East Texas. It's affording these fire crews time to recoup from last summer's active fire season and giving them time to spend with their families.

"Being a volunteer fireman, if you don't do it a whole lot, you can burn out. And, you don't want people burning out because you don't want to lose that experience. So, if they don't burn out, we can keep them," said Dennis Cochran, chief of Central Volunteer Fire Department.

For Cochran, the "down time" is giving his department a chance to give their trucks well-needed repairs.

"It gives us time to rest, time to do repairs and maintenance on the trucks that we might not necessarily have the time. Or, we may not have the finances because we may be spending our donated money on fuel and breakdowns because of fighting the fires," said Cochran.

Last year, fire crews worked on little to no money, with hardly a break, so trucks did not get the maintenance they may have needed.

"We don't want to take them out of service. If we can make them work, we're going to make them work. And, if something needs to be repaired on them, we can do that later," said Cochran.

Cochran has managed to have the clutch rebuilt in a fire engine, and had belts replaced and oil leaks fixed on another truck.

It's a similar situation for Fuller Springs Fire Department. They recently received a retired fire engine from Lufkin that will be ready for action soon.

"Now, I'm currently trying to get this rescue truck that we just got. I'm going to put some equipment on it, get it up in service," said Fuller Springs Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief, Bobby Cranford.

Both departments say grants have helped fund these necessary repairs. They say any little bit helps. Cochran says the slower pace has also allowed his firefighters to receive any necessary training they need. He anticipates hosting a fundraiser in October to help raise more money for the department.

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