Tontitown Could Be Saying Goodbye to its Tanker Truck

TONTITOWN, AR-- The city of Tontitown stopped paying its volunteer fire department and re-allocated those funds to a new public safety department in March.

So Tontitown police officers doubled as firefighters. In an e-mail, Tontitown mayor, Jack Beckford told volunteer firefighters they no longer needed to respond to medical calls. Now firefighters tell us they've received another letter from the city and this one is igniting even more controversy.

In the letter, the city asked volunteer firefighters to move out of the station they have called home for more than three decades. But that means Tontitown might be saying goodbye to one very important asset.

Firefighter Paul Colvin said that means two engines will leave their station for the last time before June 13. "Basically what he requested from us was enough space to house two engines that the city has purchased to house their equipment within this station. With the size of our station we are going to have to move two of our engines to make room for their engines."

James Larson with the volunteer fire department, also lives in Tontitown. He's worried about losing the city's most important fire truck. "That could basically put them out of service. I have several buildings and businesses inside the city limits where there are no fire hydrants."

He said the tanker truck is the only way to put out a fire when hydrants are too far away, and pretty soon the city will have to see it go.

Larson said, "If i had a fire where I live and the city did not have a truck like this, they would have to call on surrounding cities to bring in a tanker and I just hope that they can get there quick enough to do any good and put the fire out and save my family."

In the meantime, Colvin and Larson are hoping the city will reconsider its decision to take over. Colvin said, "Unfortunately the current city administration right now doesn't see the same things we do."

Volunteer firefighters are left wondering how the city will keep up with calls once volunteer fire trucks pull out. Larson said, "If they have to try to buy and equip a million-dollar fire department, where is the money going to come from?"

KNWA/Fox 24 did reach out to Tontitown city leaders for a comment...they did not return our phone calls for this story.

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