While heavy rains may have put a damper on the days events, attendance was strong for Saturday’s Community Kickoff Party at the Henrietta Fire Hall.
The Henrietta Volunteer Fire Department used the event to begin its Funds for Flames campaign. The event featured live music, free hotdogs and hamburgers, a bounce house, Tumble Bus and dessert auction.
Funds for Flames is an effort by the department to raise $1 million for improvements to its fire hall and equipment.
Almost one year ago, the Henrietta Volunteer Fire Department moved out of its cramped station in downtown Henrietta to a newly purchased location on Hwy. 148 North. The organization’s next challenge is to raise $1 million for improvements to the facility.
HVFD, with the help of the City of Henrietta, purchased the front portion of the four-acre facility almost two years ago, using funds set aside for the purchase of a new city pumper truck. Not long after, the department used donations and took out a loan to purchase the remaining land. The facility was originally constructed as the local offices and equipment yard of the Texas Department of Transportation.
The location’s access to a main artery through town offers faster response times and the buildings offer more space for trucks and equipment storage. The location is also safer because it is away from pedestrian and slower side street traffic.
However, the new location needed a great deal of renovation.
To date, the HVFD has already spent $30,000 on renovations, mostly to the main building. The money was spent on extending one of the main bays, updating a kitchen and meeting area, refurbishing bathrooms insulating the building and painting.
Additional up grades are needed, including the extension of one building by 12 feet to accommodate fire trucks.
The department also has an eye on the future. Once the facility’ present needs are met, the HVFD hopes to build a “smokehouse” on the back of the property that will be used for training by all 12 county fire departments. Area volunteers now must travel to College Station for similar training.
Henrietta VFD is the largest fire department in the county and serves the city of Henrietta and surrounding areas.