First order of business: get equipment needed to fight fires. They got perhaps the most vital piece of firefighting equipment last week when a fire engine bought from the Tuscaloosa Fire Department was brought in.
Sipsey Mayor Belinda McCain presented the keys to the engine to the department Saturday at town hall. That was followed by a donation of a 1,000-gallon tanker from the nearby Pineywoods Volunteer Fire Department.
The department also has a rescue truck.
“We had to have this engine to get approved and get our certification through the Alabama Forestry Commission,” said Rodney Morgan, who serves as the fire chief of the town’s new department.
The department was able to raise enough money through fundraisers such as car washes and roadblocks to buy the fire engine from Tuscaloosa. They got the truck for just $8,600 but will have to add a few things like rear tail lights.
Department officials went to a meeting of the Walker County Firefighters Association early last week and got the news that they would be able to add to their arsenal.
“(Pineywoods) told us we could buy the tanker for $500, so we did a roadblock to raise the money for that,” Assistant Fire Chief Heather Adams said. “We raised the money, but then Pineywoods donated it to us.” It’s that kind of help from fellow firefighters that makes forming a department a little easier.
“That made us really proud,” Morgan said. “They’re good buddies of ours.”
Morgan said that cooperation between departments is vital to doing the job.
“We’re hoping to run calls with Pineywoods, Empire, Argo or any of our neighboring departments,” Morgan said. “We’ll help them any time they need us.”
The city’s new volunteer fire department had yet to run a call by Saturday afternoon, but luckily they now have the necessary equipment when an emergency call comes in
“You’ve got to have the equipment or it’s just not going to work,” Morgan said. “We’ve been very blessed since we started two weeks ago. We’ve already got an engine and then a tanker.”
Like all volunteer fire departments, Sipsey depends on the yearly $35 fire dues from the town’s residents.
“We started out with nothing,” Adams said, “and we’ve come a long way in just two weeks.”
It also has to rely on fundraisers to raise the money to keep a department operating.
The department will host a benefit singing Saturday night at Sipsey Church of God with the hopes of raising money to further equip the volunteers with the equipment they need.
“We’re also planning roadblocks and a car wash to help out,” Adams said.