LCRA Awards $25,000 grant to Winchell Volunteer Fire Department
Fire station expansion will expedite emergency response, protect trucks and equipment
May 10, 2023
BROWN COUNTY, Texas – The Winchell Volunteer Fire Department will be able to significantly expand its fire station, which doubles as a community center, thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority.lcra.org/cdpp.The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $70,500 in matching funds from the VFD, will enable the department to add two firetruck storage bays, an office, a storage room and a training room. The department now tries to accommodate five firetrucks in two bays, which sometimes delays emergency responses as firefighters have to move a vehicle or two out of the way before crews can head out to calls. Some equipment also has been damaged by being stored outside. “It is challenging for us to be responsive sometimes, especially in the wintertime,” Fire Chief Steve Adams said. During freezing weather, the pipes of the firetrucks stored outside are wrapped with heat tape, which must be removed prior to responding to a call. When time is of the essence, this can be a critical delay. “Getting enough space for our vehicles and being able to store them in an enclosed building is going to be a big help,” Adams said. “We would just get in the trucks and go.” The fire station also serves as a community center, and residents use it for birthday parties, baby showers, domino tournaments, competitive sports and other community gatherings. “Our building is available for fun and games and for any emergencies,” Adams said. In the 2021 winter storm, the station served as a shelter for area residents who lost power. “It was nice to have a building to house some folks and give them a warm and safe place to stay,” Adams said. The fire department also will add a training room where firefighters and emergency personnel can earn certifications and do training in-house, saving time for first responders and keeping them close to home in case a need arises. The new training room also will be used as a command center in emergencies. The Winchell Volunteer Fire Department also serves the Brookesmith community, Brownwood, and Brown, Coleman, McCulloch and Mills counties. The department averages 130 calls per year, including medical calls, accidents and mutual aid requests. The community grant is one of 34 grants awarded recently through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which helps volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in LCRA’s wholesale electric, water and transmission 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 will be accepted in July. More information is available at
The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and transmitting electric power; providing a clean, reliable water supply; and offering outdoor adventures at more than 40 parks along the Colorado River from the Texas Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. LCRA and its employees are committed to fulfilling our mission to enhance the quality of life of the Texans we serve through water stewardship, energy and community service. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934 and receives no state appropriations. For more information, visit lcra.org.