Barry County Fire Department in Process of Upgrading, Hiring

by: Chrystal Blair, Ozarks First

Some much needed financial support has made it possible for one fire department in the Ozarks to upgrade — even adding more full-time firefighters to their staff.

The Central Crossing Fire Protection District in Barry County is in the process of seeing better days. Rusty Rickard is Chief.

“Getting dorm rooms in for those new upgrades. The kitchen here was quite unusable,” said Rickard, “The building here was right at about 18-years old. seen no updates, no upgrades during that time. So..quite an extensive remodel.”

The upgrade is compliments of the taxpayers.

“Well, thankfully, we’re quite blessed last April,” Rickard said, “Voters here passed not only one, but two tax levies. The first being, just continued operational support of the district. Upgrades to equipment, trucks, personal protective equipment..all the way down to rescue equipment..hoses, nozzles, you name it.”

Plus, more manpower is on the way.

“We’ll have, have to initially hire six — which will let us start with having two on staff everyday. So, they’ll be three shifts . Two firefighters each shift,” said Rickard.

In addition to funding from the taxpayers — a much needed grant is also helping with this upgrade.

“We finally got a notification.  We were lucky to get about 160..165 thousand dollars, SCBA grant,” said Battalion Chief Ed Hoefler. He says that FEMA grant means more lives protected.

He says that FEMA grant means more lives protected.

“That’s what we use to maintain breathable air, when we go into toxic environments, structure fires, car fires, mop up..or questionable atmospheres,” Hoefler said, “To come in and have this kind of expansion and renovation done is just ..long time overdue. It’s phenomenal.”

Chief Rickard said the funding also helped them upgrade their security system at the department — and he’s hoping to add those new full-time firefighters by the end of this summer.


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