On Tuesday, a 14 foot-tall communication building arrived from New Mexico, following a donation from Verizon Wireless. The $70,000 donated building came after an employee read the need for a new building through a newspaper, Buffalo Gap VFD Fire Chief Dana Sowell said.
"It is a little used but it is in fantastic shape," says Sowell. "It is bigger, better and has more room."
Late April, a wildfire started around Camp Barkeley near Buffalo Gap and burned more than 1,000 acres. It threatened nearby homes, but the fire destroyed the department's communication building and equipment.
Since then, Chief Sowell says countless donations poured in from friends and strangers who simply wanted to help. They are now using the money raised to pay and ship in new communication equipment needed to transmit signals from the building during 911 calls.
"People all over stepped up and done a marvelous job donating their time, equipment and money," adds Sowell.
Sowell pays gratitude to the neighboring fire departments who have stepped in to assist. Upon the building's arrival, Merkel Volunteer Fire Department fire chief Steve Cochran helped crews unload the gift outside the old site.
"The fire departments work together as a group," Chief Cochran said. "It's all about helping each other in the fire service."
South Taylor County EMS (STEMS) will be benefiting from the new building, after its repeater was also destroyed from the fire.
At this point, the department has to clear the old site and fix wiring as they plan to unload the new building there.