The Kempner Volunteer Fire Department depends mostly on community support and donations to stay in business.
Other than a small budget from Lampasas County for utilities and maintenance of trucks, the fire department is a 501(c)3 organization and has to fund all of its other needs, including replacing full bunker gear.
“We need to replace 15 sets of firefighter gear because it’s unsafe and needs to be removed from service,” said Dewey Owen, Kempner’s fire chief. “The national fire protection association says gear needs to be replaced every 10 years and we purchased these back in 2003.”
Full bunker gear consists of pants, jackets, gloves, helmet, boots and hood, and cost $2,300 per firefighter. Hence, the department is hosting its annual barbecue and auction starting at 4 p.m. March 1 at 315 Pecan St., in downtown Kempner.
“We really need the community support in order to raise funds,” Owen said. “Anything that has the word ‘fire’ in it means the price doubles, and fire gear isn’t something you can buy at Walmart. It’s very specialized material and there are few manufacturers. This is our biggest event annually and we’re hoping for a good turnout.”
On the menu are all-you-can-eat barbecue brisket plates for $10 plus sandwiches and chips or hot dogs and chips for $5 each. The auction will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the box sale — with smaller items such as jewelry — will run from 3 to 5 p.m. Auction items usually include used and still operational appliances and furniture.
“We’ll also have a raffle of two collector’s guns, a Springfield (90383) collector-grade old army rifle and a Remington 700 (22-250),” Owen said.
Call Owen at 254-535-2199.