FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas — Most everything seems in place at the Pecan Grove Volunteer Fire Department, but these days, a thorough inventory can’t seem to turn up what’s needed most – money.
“It’s a pretty serious budget shortfall,” said Assistant Fire Chief Dean Hamrick. “It’s always been a struggle when you ask people for voluntary donations. But it’s gotten worse.”
In fact, less than a third of the homeowners are opting to pay the $9 fee to keep the station running. And that’s why officials are hoping firearms can help the fire department.
“We’ve got to do something to get us through this year,” added Hamrick.
The department is raffling off 25 guns in 25 weeks to raise money, just like another fire department recently did.
The tickets cost $100 each. Taylor Atkins, a sales associate at Radical Firearms, said helping out was a no-brainer.
“When somebody like a fire department says we need money to stay open and fight your fires, it’s kind of hard to argue with.”
But the ticket sales have been slow so far. And a board member for the fire department warned the time to act is running out.
“Come September the funds will basically be drying up,” said Mark Heath. “Without funds, we don’t roll.”
Recently, the fire department couldn’t even afford to purchase its own American flags. Instead, they were donated by a local homeowner.
Other homeowners have also pitched in. Lauren Cole and her kids are planning to sell lemonade to raise money.
“They’re here for us so we’re here for them,” said Cole.
But this time it could take a small arsenal to keep the department from closing its doors.