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Rotan Volunteer Fire Department raises money for new equipment

By Kristen Pope, Reporter, kpope@ktxs.com
Published On: Apr 21 2013 09:10:53 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 22 2013 08:05:02 AM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

People in the town of Rotan take the expression "we take care of our own," very seriously.

On Sunday, the community came out to help raise funds for new equipment, specifically rescue jacks which cost around $3,500 a pair.

"For instance a vehicle rolls over, there a stabilizer jack can raise the vehicle and stabilize it for rescuing someone," said Rotan Fire Chief Robert Hoffman.

In 2011, fire department budgets were cut 75 percent from $30 to $7 million. The Texas legislature tabled an amendment earlier this month to reinstate those funds.

The department functions completely on donations. With the recent explosion in the city of the West, the Fire Chief said reliable resources are needed.

"In light of what's happened we hope that the lawmakers will see that any monetary help they can do would be greatly appreciated," said Hoffman.

The Rotan firemen are not only the bedrock of the community, but also the helping hands. They were in the kitchen cooking food for the fundraiser. Local families in Rotan filed into the fire department, not only to get a plate of food, but also to show their support for their first responders. With the recent cuts the fire department said they rely even more on the community.

"If we're not safe and have the things we need to be safe we can't do a proper rescue or have proper operations in order to do what we need to do," said Hoffman.

Chief Hoffman said his heart goes out to the firefighters who died in the West explosion tragedy. 

"When people are come out we're going in," said Hoffman. "They did everything that they loved to do. We love to do this stuff."

To best serve the community, Rotan and Roby Volunteer Fire Departments regularly team up respond to calls. By the afternoon the Rotan VFD raised almost $5,000 in donations.