Smith County Volunteer Fire Departments Are Running Short On Donations

Those who work to protect you in East Texas, on their own time, are in financial trouble. The Noonday Volunteer Fire Department says it's in the worst financial situation it's ever been in. The department says it has $500 in the bank and is in desperate need of donations. Firefighters say while operational costs and calls are up, donations are down.

The Noonday Volunteer Fire Department is considered one of the busiest in Smith County. "We had five wrecks right out here on 155 and all of them were highly serious," said Dave Timmons, the Chief at the Noonday Volunteer Fire Department. That's just a part of what they do every month. Yesterday, the department responded to a fire in the Harbor Addition, in southern Smith County.

The department, which has12 volunteer firefighters, receives between 40 and 50 calls every month. It serves about 20,000 people in Smith County. "We take pride at being able to go out into our community and service the people that live here," said Tim Lassiter, a Lieutenant at the Noonday Volunteer Fire Department.

The department says it receives a yearly donation from the city of Noonday, but it has to raise nearly $40,000 dollars on its own to operate. The department says donations have decreased lately. "Katrina has taken a lot of donations from all over the country and it's gone to a different place," said Timmons. "Obviously, those people need a lot of help but at the same time, in order for us to keep providing the level we provide, we still need help at the house too."

Chief Timmons says the department currently has only $500 in the bank and needs to raise $10,000 by the end of the year to cover its operational expenses. He says other volunteer fire departments in Smith County are struggling with their funds as well. "There's not a department in this county that couldn't use a little extra money," said Timmons.

The department is hoping to raise a significant amount of funding through a haunted house it's putting on in a couple of weeks. For now, Chief Timmons says they'll make the best out of a tight situation. "We pull up on a burning building. What do you do? Well, depends on what the fire does. We'll figure something out and we'll get it out."

The Noonday Fire Department is not alone. The Flint and Bullard Volunteer Fire Departments in Smith County told us they are also in need of funds. In order to better serve you, you're encouraged to mail a donation to your local volunteer fire department.

Oralia Ortega, reporting,