LCRA grant to replace BVFD air compressors


Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) representatives present a $24,000 Community Development Partnership grant to purchase a system to refill air tanks at the Buchanan Volunteer Fire Department. Pictured on Monday, May 22, from left, are: Wade Williamson, Buchanan Fire Department lieutenant; Amanda Lehmann, department secretary; Lori A. Berger, LCRA Board member; Tim Gardner, firefighter; Mike Butler, Fire Department captain; Fire Chief Mark Hutson; Assistant Chief Chad Mitchell; Raymond A. “Ray” Gill Jr., LCRA Board member; and Steve Dyer, LCRA governmental and regional affairs representative.


The Buchanan Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) will purchase equipment to safely and quickly refill firefighter air tanks with the help of a $24,000 community development grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA).

Thieves broke into the fire station off Texas 29 in Llano County in January and damaged or destroyed a large amount of equipment, including the air compressor used to refill the air tanks firefighters use when responding to hazards.

The fire department will use the grant to buy a new compressor, a station that can fill two air cylinders at a time, and a system of six high-pressure cylinders that firefighters can take with them on calls to refill individual air tanks.

An additional $6,000 in local matching funds will help pay for the equipment.

“We use self-contained breathing apparatus to help protect against exposure to harmful fumes, and we also use the underwater scuba tanks for water rescue dives or recovery operations,” said Assistant Chief Chad Mitchell. “Air tanks are vital safety gear for our firefighters when responding to a wide range of emergencies in the Lake Buchanan area.”

Without a reliable air compressor at the fire station, Buchanan VFD’s responders would have to travel to neighboring fire stations or scuba shops to fill their air tanks. The new compressor and cylinder filling station will ensure the Fire Department’s volunteers always have full air tanks available.

“The ability to fill personal air tanks also will provide a resource for other fire departments to use, and will allow Buchanan VFD and neighboring emergency response teams to perform joint dive training on a regular basis,” Mitchell said. “More frequent training will make all the first responders who serve the Lake Buchanan area better prepared to respond to water rescues.”

The community grant is one of a number recently awarded through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. The program provides economic development and community assistance grants to cities, counties, volunteer fire departments, regional development councils and other nonprofit organizations in LCRA’s electric and water service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves.

Applications for the next round of grants are due July 31. More information is available at

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