Floodwaters from Hurricane Matthew damaged one of Johnston County-based Benson Fire Department fire engines. The department received $422,158.55 in Golden LEAF Disaster Recovery Grant Program funds to replace the engine. Insurance proceeds were also used toward the cost of the replacement engine.
“We had three fire engines,” said Alan Johnson, Fire Chief of the Benson Fire Department. “One of the fire engines was submerged during Hurricane Matthew, as we were heading to a rescue call. We need three trucks to meet the needs of the Department of Insurance.”
Johnston said it took about 18 months from the time they lost the engine to the time they received the new fire engine.
“It takes about eight months to build a fire engine,” said Johnston. “They only make a certain amount each year. Luckily, we had two other trucks, during the interim. We were down to one truck when one went in the shop, but nothing catastrophic happened. We were able to manage.”
Johnston said the only way to replace the engine would have been to increase the fire tax if not for the funding provided by Golden LEAF.
“Getting $422,000 for the fire engine was amazing,” said Johnson. “Still to this day, we thank Golden LEAF for the truck, anytime we have a presentation. It really was a big deal. It was a true blessing for us to receive that funding.”
About the Disaster Recovery Grant Program
Many North Carolina firefighters found themselves in need of aid when their own stations and homes were being flooded during Hurricanes Matthew and Florence. After helping others survive the disaster, these departments found relief from the Golden LEAF Disaster Recovery Grant Program.
The State of North Carolina provided funds to the Golden LEAF Foundation to make grants to governmental entities and 501(c)(3) nonprofits to repair or replace infrastructure and equipment damaged or destroyed by Hurricanes Matthew, Florence, Michael, and Dorian. Golden LEAF Disaster Recovery Grant Program funds have supported 11 fire station projects totaling nearly $10 million.