Town of Banks is in the ‘red’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 4, 2000

Features Editor

The town of Banks might be small in size but it’s big in heart.

On Monday, Mayor Larry Henderson and the town council handed over the keys of a brand new 2000 pumper truck to the town’s all-volunteer fire department.

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The newest addition to the fire department’s fleet of vehicles carried a $146,000 price tag. Half of that amount will be paid with the department’s share of the tobacco tax and the town council will accept the responsibility for the other half.

Reaching in the town’s pocket for such an investment is good for the residents, members of the council said. The closest thing to a death in the family is the loss of one’s home through fire, therefore, the town council and the volunteer fire department are committed to providing their community with the best fire protection they can afford.

Henderson wears two hats in the Banks community. He is mayor and he is chief of the volunteer fire department. Monday, he wore his mayor’s hat but he spoke like a volunteer firefighter.

"We are very proud of this truck," Henderson said, with a broad smile. "It brings our fleet back up to three and it gives us a truck that will enable us to do our job to the best of our ability. It carries a 1,000 gallon tank and it can pump 1,250 gallons a minute. That means a lot when you’re fighting to save someone’s home."

Henderson said the new pumper will be used primarily to fight structural fires.

Assistant Fire Chief Shane Brown estimated his department responds to five or six structural fires a year.

"Probably, we answer three or four calls a month," Brown said. "Most of them are brush fires and vehicle fires. We have a 1991 brush truck and an 1981 pumper truck that responds to those fires. We retired one truck and replaced it with this 2000 model and we feel like our department is well equipped for any call that comes our way."

Not only does the Banks VFD respond to calls from its citizens, the firefighters also assist in other areas when needed.

"We’re always ready and willing," Henderson said. "We have a good size volunteer fire department and we have 12 active firefighters and others who could help out if needed. Any time we’re called, we’ll be there."

The Banks Volunteer Department was organized more than 20 years ago to meet the needs and provide protection for the residents of the community – and beyond. The three-bay fire station is centrally located and most of the firefighters can be on a truck in a matter of a few minutes.

"How long it takes us to get to a fire depends on where it is, but we can be out of the station in just a few minutes," Henderson said. "We’re always on call."

Brown expressed appreciation to the mayor and council on behalf of all members of the fire department.

"We want to thank them for assisting us in getting this pumper truck," he said. "It shows what they believe to be important. They have put fire protection at the top of the list and the firefighters appreciate it and I’m sure I speak for the residents of the community as well."