Federal grant helps area fire department get new equipment

Members of the House Fire Department will finally have the funds to get some much needed equipment.

The fire department found out Wednesday night they will be receiving a federal grant worth $90,828.

House Fire Chief Mike Morrow said the money will be used to purchase new equipment.

“The first thing we are going to buy is an air compressor that will fill our breathing air packs,” Morrow said. “Then we are going to buy protective clothing for fighting wildfires and we will buy turnout gear that we wear for structure fires.”

According to a press release from U.S. Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., 24,000 fire departments applied for the grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The House Fire Department was one of 8,000 fire departments to receive the FEMA money, and one of four in New Mexico.

Morrow, a 30-year veteran of the House Fire Department, said the FEMA grant was only the second federal grant the House Fire Department and EMS has ever received.

Calls to the 10-member volunteer fire department have been few lately in the rural town with about 80 residents, Morrow said.

“We’ve had about 10 fire calls in the past two years,” Morrow said, “but with the moisture from rains, I expect we will see more fires this year. Weeds and grasses will be taller and that means there will be more fuel load for a fire. We may see more structure fires because of weeds and grass catching fire near structures.”
House Mayor Sherman Martin said House originally asked for $101,000.

“We are happy with the money we are getting,” Martin said. “The money is going to help us address our weaknesses.”
Martin said House firefighters also respond to calls outside the town, in Forrest and Jordan and sometimes in Melrose and Fort Sumner.

Udall stated in his press release, “This is great news for House. Fire fighters and rescue workers deserve the best possible equipment and training so they can help save lives.”