GOODMAN — To help fight fires including brush fires, an area fire protection district received a $3,000 grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

GOODMAN — To help fight fires including brush fires, an area fire protection district received a $3,000 grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation.
"We used it to purchase a skid unit for a brush truck that we are in the process of building right now," Goodman Area Fire Protection District Chief Keith Estes said. "The unit itself cost $9,500. Obviously we had to pay more than the grant, but that is a good thing."
The grant received was the Missouri Department of Conservation's VFA (Volunteers Firefighters Assistance program), a 50/50 matching grant program. Applications are sent out to the departments, they are filled out by the fire departments and sent back in with what they would like to use the grant for.
"We are always to receive any kind of grant that we can," said Estes. "Anytime that you are able to receive some money above what you have as income, is a blessing, because there is never enough to do what you need to do."
The skid unit, according to Estes is, "we had gotten a vehicle from MDC and we are building a brush truck out of that truck. It will be a lot more heavy duty than the pickups that we use, it will be kind a special use truck. It also gives us the capability 700-800 gallons on that vehicle. Where these other trucks we carry only about 300 gallons. It will make it to where we can stay out on a fire a little bit longer than having to go to a tanker to fill up."
The department has 19 active firefighters ans services 96 square miles.
Asked if they had not received this grant for the equipment, Estes said, "we would just have to make do with what we have. This puts it to where, obviously this year we didn't have to have those resources (brush truck) near as much as we do sometimes because of the weather, but we all know that the weather will change eventually and who knows, it may the the winter time that we need that stuff (brush truck skid unit). In 2015, in February there were more grass and brush fires on the Newton County side dispatched in February than there was in the summer of 2013 during the drought. You never know when you need it."
Terry Cook with the conservation department, presented the check on Tuesday, Aug. 29.
"Anytime we can help out the fire personnel, we want to, because they are the volunteers that are doing this for free... in all kinds of weather conditions," said Cook. "They are just a front line defense whether it is a structure fire or medial or wildfire. I wish that we could give them more money. We greatly appreciate their service to the state of Missouri."