Out of the ashes of the White Hat fire

The Nolan Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) is welcoming a new member to their team — another large brush truck to its fleet.During last summer's White Hat fire — which was the largest fire in Nolan County history, the Nolan VFD was one of several fire departments that responded. Along with them was the Sweetwater Fire Department (SFD), who unfortunately had their military truck wrecked while battling the blaze. The truck was on loan through the Texas Forestry Service. After the wreck, the SFD decided to purchase a new truck; Fire Chief Grant Madden contacted the Nolan VFD to see if they wanted the old truck. However, SFD first had to hand the truck back over to the Forestry Service, in which all the equipment was removed from the truck.The Forestry Service then gave the vehicle to the Nolan VFD along with two axles to start the process of making the necessary repairs. The Nolan VFD started the process, expecting to complete the project within two years. But, help came from the Community Foundation of Abilene. The Nolan VFD received a $10,000 grant awarded from the Volunteer Fire Department fund at the Community Foundation of Abilene.Rolan Petty with the Nolan VFD noted that the grant was used to repair the damaged fuel tank while enabling the Nolan VFD to obtain a fire pump, hose reels, a foam system and nozzles and paint the truck. The grant covered almost half of the cost of the build, allowing the project to be completed in just six months. "The total cost of the build was around $22,000," said Petty. "The rest of the cost we hope to cover with donations and through our Barbecue Fundraiser on August 25, 2012 at the Nolan Community Center."This truck will also replace an older vehicle of the Nolan VFD, which was unable to deal with the tough landscape while dealing with the White Hat-type fires.Along with handling the rough terrain, this truck will join two other large brush trucks Nolan VFD already has on hand. They also have a small brush truck and two 18-wheelers tankers as part of their inventory.The truck will also be used as a back-up for other emergencies. Petty stated that the department is pleased to have a truck that will be able to attack fires more quickly and intensely while keeping them contained, which is quite impressive for a volunteer department that has only around 25 members.In the meantime, the truck is at the station ready for service. During their meeting held on Monday evening, July 2 at the Nolan Community Center, the firefighters underwent training on the new truck. The Nolan VFD is thankful that the truck will be staying in Nolan County for continued use in the area to combat fires.