FORT SMITH (KFSM)- The White Bluff-Rye Hill Volunteer Fire Department gave the old Jenny Lind Fire Station a face lift and is now open to serve those in the area.
"We have completely revamped it, remodeled it, purchased new trucks, new equipment in hopes of protecting the community and to protect life and property," Ronnie Hisaw, assistant fire chief said.
The former Jenny Lind Fire Department was dissolved earlier this year after its effectiveness was called into question. Former firefighters were also arrested during this time for allegedly giving away fire trucks and equipment.
Those at the new fire station said it's time for a fresh start.
"We're doing what we feel is our standard of commitment to the White Bluff area, all the area in between including Jenny Lind that we cover," Jim Almond, fire chief said. "That's our progress, that's our goal; to give them protection and make sure they feel protected with us."
All of the equipment is brand new, which the department said will only help them continue serving the community better.
"More dependable, quicker response times, larger water capacity and [we're] able to shuttle water," Hisaw said. "In rural settings, there's typically not fire hydrants to pump from, so we specialize in the rural area. All the Sebastian County specialized in a water shuttle service, so we have to bring our own water to the fire."
The department now has nearly 30 volunteer firefighters. Their main focus is to get to know those in the area while also protecting them.
"With the amount of people in the area that we pick up for us, we want the community to accept us and trust us and know that we can provide protection for their house, their home and their life," Almond said.
Another thing that placed the former Jenny Lind Fire Department in hot water earlier in the year was that it did not sign an agreement with the Sebastian County Rural Fire Department Association for two years. The White Bluff-Rye Hill Fire Department is a part of that association and Almond said the department renews the agreement yearly.
Those with the new fire station said anyone is welcome to stop by to say hello and ask questions. The department said it is always looking for additional volunteer firefighters, as well.