The Big River/Bonne Terre Fire Department is holding a fundraiser barbecue on Saturday to help with the purchase of needed equipment.
Big River/Bonne Terre Fire Chief Dave Pratte said they will be selling barbecue from noon to 6 p.m. at the Big River Firehouse located at 3400 JW Fields Memorial Dr. They will be accepting cash, check or credit/debit cards. Anyone with any questions or someone who would like a plate, but can’t get out can call 573-358-2737.
“We will be serving pork steak, burgers and chicken plates,” said Pratte. “With that comes two sides, your choice of slaw, baked beans or french fries. Plates vary in price from $5 to $8 and we will have the fire station set up so people can eat inside or take it home with them.
“We are doing this to try and raise some funds for new equipment that we need,” said Pratte. “We are still trying to put turnout gear together for the Bonne Terre station and there are so many others things we need. Just general equipment and other stuff.”
Pratte explained that the turnout gear at the city firehouse is outdated and they did apply for a grant, but they don’t know if they will get it.
“There are things we need, like the ice rescue equipment, we need to buy more ropes for that,” said Pratte. “There is a lot of little stuff we are dealing with and we are trying to raise a little money to do it. I appreciate everybody who comes out to support us and our fundraisers.”
Pratte said they are slowly getting to where they need to be as a department even though there are so many little things to add to the department.
“I recently purchased a used washer for the fire station. They didn’t even have one down there to wash the gear,” said Pratte. “I have to put a hot water heater in to get it running and all the parts that come with that. There is just so many little parts.”
Pratte added what he bought was a washer extractor, which is a large commercial washing machine specially designed for turnout gear. He added at Big River they put their turnout gear in a regular washer machine because they couldn’t afford one of the extractors.
“I have a grant application out for one of them this year. We are trying to get one,” said Pratte. “We have to wash our turnout gear all the time because of chemicals and carcinogens while fighting fire that can cause cancer. So we have to keep that gear clean so it doesn’t deteriorate and get on your skin and cause you to be sick.”
Pratte said that is why they wear air packs, to keep from breathing that stuff.
Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or firstname.lastname@example.org