Oran firefighters get federal grant to buy new pumper

ORAN, Mo. -- The Oran Fire Department has received a $225,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security to buy a new firefighting vehicle. The grant is one of 236 grants to fire departments across the country in the 11th round of the Fiscal Year 2004 Assistance to Firefighters grant program.

Oran fire chief James Watkins said the fire department will sell some older vehicles -- 1948, 1966 and 1968 model vehicles -- and has arranged a lease/purchase payment plan with a local bank for the balance of the cost of a new pumper. Oran's share of the cost for the new pumper is $25,000.

Oran's fire department is a tax-supported fire district formed in 1995. Watkins said grants such as the one from Homeland Security make it possible to equip the department and keep it maintained. Last year, the Oran Fire Department received a grant from Homeland Security for $167,000 to buy other equipment.

"This grant has caught us up to the point where we can now stay ahead," Watkins said. "It's a tremendous help."

Oran also has 1991 and 1993 model fire trucks.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, approximately 8,000 awards worth nearly $750 million in direct assistance to firefighters will be given to fire departments over the next several months throughout the country.

Nearby communities that have also received awards include Advance, Mo., and Pulaski and Ullin in Illinois.

Oran was one of 13 Missouri committees to receive assistance in last week's round of awards.