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St. Amant Fire Department raising money to buy new equipment for fighting wildfires

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ST. AMANT - It was a packed lot Sunday at the annual barbeque fundraiser benefitting two fire departments in Ascension Parish. 

"We're serving right at 2,500 meals today. As you can see the St. Amant community in Ascension Parish, they always come out. Cars are wrapped around Gold Place road, trying to get in here and get some of the good fire department chicken and po-boys," St. Amant Fire Chief James Leblanc said.

Every year, the St. Amant and 5th Ward fire departments put together a BBQ fundraiser to raise money for their community. This year, Chief Leblanc says the money is needed to buy more equipment to fight wildfires.

"Ascension Parish has been hit with them so hard here lately. We need some equipment, we need more flappers, more backpack sprayers, we need a Kubota with a sprayer on the back where we can get into the woods," Leblanc said.

Fire crews in Ascension Parish were battling wildfires along Highway 42 for nearly two weeks this month. The fires burned 160 acres of land. Having the equipment they needed would've helped tackle these fires more quickly.

"We could have actually got into the woods with this equipment instead of walking it out with our feet. We probably could've got to it quicker."

But, with the turnout of the community, the departments are now one step closer to their goal.

"When you start talking about a Polaris with a tank on the back, that's $20,000. When you start talking about flappers and backpack sprayers, you're looking at another $10,000. My goal is $30,000 to $35,000 to buy the right equipment that we need."

The wildfires in Ascension are now fully contained. Chief Leblanc says the state and parish are also stepping in to help provide equipment.


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