Donations the Garden City and Holcomb fire departments received Tuesday from officials at Tyson Fresh Meats represent an investment in the community, according to Rick Collins, interim fire chief for the Garden City Fire Department.
"It's a great thing for the department and the city as a whole," Collins said. "And it's a great thing for the community, because not only did Tyson invest in us, they invested in the rest of the community by buying this SCBA compressor, and hose for Holcomb. It just shows that they care."
According to a news release from Tyson, the donations were tokens of appreciation for the "rapid response and support" from the fire departments following the Aug. 9 fire at Tyson's beef processing plant near Holcomb.
On Tuesday, Tyson officials announced the Garden City Fire Department would receive a Mako breathing air compressor. The air compressor allows firefighters to refill their self-contained breathing apparatuses. Collins said the department's current compressor is 23 years old.
"We need it," Collins said, "so that if we do have a fire or a hazardous atmosphere, we can enter that atmosphere with confidence wearing these self-contained breathing apparatuses that we carry on our trucks. Therefore, when we're done, they need to be refilled, and we do that with the compressor that Tyson has provided for us."
Collins expects it to be a couple of weeks before the equipment is delivered and ready to use.
Tyson's donation to the Holcomb Fire Department was a 150-foot double jacket hose.
"The hose is what we use to connect to either hydrants or our valves on our truck for water to go through and be able to extinguish the fire," said Cory Williams, Holcomb's interim fire chief.
Williams said the Holcomb Fire Department lost part of a hose during the Tyson fire.
"It was damaged and beyond being able to use," he said.
This donation helps the department replenish what it lost.
“We’re pleased to support the local fire departments and help supplement some of their equipment needs with this donation,” said Steve Stouffer, group president of Tyson Fresh Meats. “They played a critical role in getting the fire under control quickly, so we’re grateful for their immediate response, as well as the incredible support extended to us by the community.”
The Tyson Fresh Meats plant resumed operations earlier this month. It had been under reconstruction since the fire. The plant expects to return to its normal production by the beginning of 2020.