Steven W. Looney
A devastating fire Jan. 21 left the Horseshoe Bend fire department crippled but not out of commission.
Resurrecting a decommissioned fire truck from it's storage location under city hall, the department is still ready to answer the call.
Using the old truck, donated equipment and supplies from other departments and a fire equipment supply business, the volunteer fire department responded to and quelled five fires in January.
The main tanker truck which was severely damaged in the fire, has been repaired and is back in service.
Volunteer firefighter/EMT Jeanette Hilliker said, "We scrubbed on that thing like you would not believe. The only thing it still needs and which is being replaced today, I think, is the windshield. "
The Horseshoe Bend City Council has yet to make a final decision as to the future of the fire station, Hilliker said.
According to Hilliker, the council members have each been asked to submit their recommendations in writing to be presented to the rest of the members. Once a concensus has been reached, then steps can be taken to proceed.
The total cost of reconstruction of the building and replacement of equipment is still yet to be determined, Hilliker said.
She said, once costs have been calculated and insurance adjustments made, the city should be able to request grant assistance.
With the department being the primary response unit for the entire city, Hilliker said, she hopes any grant money funding requests will be considered as top priority by the state, and moved to the top of the list.
The Arkansas Forestry Department has provided a fire truck, on loan to HBFD.
Volunteer firefighter and on duty EMT Darrell A. King said, "We have a mutual aid agreement with all of the fire departments from the surrounding area." The mutual aid agreement means surrounding fire departments will help contain fires in HBFD's fire district.
The city is still very well protected, should there be any serious situations arise.
Loan offers of the use of fire trucks were received from Melbourne, Mountain Home and other fire departments.
The HBFD readily accepts help offers and thanks all other departments for their assistance, but has no temperature controlled location to store the trucks.
Currently, a local business has donated the use of a small building for equipment storage.
Donations of gloves, coats, pants and boots were made by a fire supply company and other area fire departments.
"The burned fire truck (after being scrubbed) has been refitted with a new light bar, new light lenses on other lights and a new siren," Hilliker said.
The 19 volunteer firefighters, who donate their time to help protect the city and its residents should be commended for the job they do, and the service they provide.
With the recent ice storm damage, the fire department volunteers and some young men from the community were out helping around town.
Joanna Griffin said, "My dad wouldn't give me a chain saw, but I saw the need to help some of these people who are on a fixed income or are disabled. There are a lot of people here who don't have any family or anyone to check on them. Joe Moser has a chain saw and came over to help, because that's just the way he is."
Wade Hilliker and one of his friends pitched in and then an idea developed, Griffin said.
Most all of the Horseshoe Bend Fire Department volunteers have full-time jobs and train and volunteer as firefighters.
Because of this attitude and sense of community, plans are developing to establish a special needs list to help around the community.