MERTZON, Texas – The Irion County Volunteer Fire Department in Mertzon has a new facility after a year of construction that wrapped up in December, 2020. 1.2 million dollars in taxpayer money was used to build the facility, but the department says it will save on vehicle and equipment maintenance down the line.
“We went to the county commissioners of Irion County and proposed a new building,” said Asst. Chief Andy Coates. “The old building that we were in, was this too small. We could only have half the trucks that we have now. It went to commissioner’s court, and they approved it and within a couple months started construction on it. In the old facility we were having to house some of our trucks at the volunteer fire departments houses, just because we didn’t have enough room. When you leave a truck out like that it’s hard on them. The weather will deteriorate them. It costs a lot of money to repair broken lines off the trucks.”
Grant money was used to improve the departments newest truck in a fleet of eight. The money upgraded its firefighting equipment and its visibility in the community. “We went to the Forestry Service with a request of a surplus D.O.D. vehicle,” explained Coates. “They approved the request, they delivered it, and when we received the truck, it was just basics. There was nothing to it as far as firefighting.”
Coates says next up for the department is replacing its older brush fire response vehicle, nicknamed “the goat.” The department hopes to hold an open house event for the new fire station in February.