ST. PAUL, Ore. (KOIN) — The St. Paul Fire District will soon be able to upgrade outdated equipment — while also honoring a firefighter tragically killed in the line of duty — thanks to new funds by a foundation.
On Wednesday, the St. Paul Rodeo Foundation donated $74,890 to the district. The funds were from a fundraiser in memory of volunteer firefighter Austin Smith, who was killed in a fire on Feb. 3.
Smith is described as a “beloved member” of the district, St. Paul Rodeo family and the overall community.
“The fire district is honored to receive these funds from our community to be used in Austin’s name,” said St. Paul Fire District Chief Bryan Lee. “This gift will go way beyond the original intent, by purchasing the tools we need and then some benefiting the entire community, thank you.”
Initially, the goal was to raise $65K to buy an extrication toolset for the St. Paul Fire Department to replace 40-year-old equipment that is no longer functional with current vehicles, the St. Paul Fire District said.
The toolset will include spreaders, air bags and struts. This will make it easier to handle while cutting through high-strength steel vehicles.
“All these tools will aid in the safety of our first responders as they rescue patients in life-threatening accidents,” the district added.
St. Paul Fire District Captain Mark Daniel said these donations given in honor of Smith to the district will benefit everyone in the community.