LCRA, City of Weimar award $50,000 grant to Weimar VFD for updated safety gear

New equipment will help protect firefighters from toxic fumes during emergencies

Dec. 5, 2023

LCRA and City of Weimar representatives present a $50,000 grant to the Weimar Volunteer Fire Department for new safety gear. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Kate Ramzinski, LCRA Regional Affairs representative; Major Mathis, firefighter; Milton R. Koller, Weimar mayor; Matthew L. “Matt” Arthur and Margaret D. “Meg” Voelter, LCRA Board members; Dolores Stoever, interim city manager; Mike Boom, firefighter; and David “Butter” Brandt, fire chief.

WEIMAR, Texas – A $50,000 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and the City of Weimar will enable the Weimar Volunteer Fire Department to buy new breathing equipment to help protect its first responders from smoke and dangerous gases at emergency scenes. The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $75,964 in matching funds from the department, will allow the VFD to discard its outdated air packs in favor of new ones that comply with National Fire Protection Association safety standards. The new self-contained breathing apparatuses will supply compressed breathable air to keep firefighters from inhaling noxious fumes during emergency calls. Weimar VFD Fire Chief David “Butter” Brandt said he was stunned at the cost to replace the department’s obsolete breathing gear. “The price of a new unit was almost double compared to the ones we bought last time, so we started looking for additional funding,” said Brandt, whose department has nearly 40 members, all volunteers. “We all thought it was out of reach until we came across the LCRA CDPP grant. We are very grateful for the help.” LCRA General Manager Phil Wilson said the new air packs will help protect Weimar VFD firefighters in dangerous situations. “LCRA is proud to help supply this specialized equipment to support and safeguard firefighters,” Wilson said. “Firefighters routinely encounter hazardous gases while doing their jobs, and these sophisticated air packs will help keep them safe as they work to protect the rest of us.” Wilson said he admires the dedication and courage of firefighters who routinely encounter a multitude of risks to help save lives and protect their communities. “I salute the department and its commitment to providing its firefighters with this potentially life-saving gear,” Wilson said.The Weimar VFD serves a roughly 150-square-mile area of Colorado County, which has about 20,800 residents. The department also provides mutual aid to other first responders in Fayette County. “We have a large influx of people coming in and building houses, and the area’s getting more congested,” Brandt said. “I would say our calls have increased 25 percent in the last couple of years, with a lot of that having to do with the drought index and wildland fires.” The new air packs will benefit both local firefighters and those in other departments, Brandt said, because the Weimar units will now be compatible with other departments. “That’s a big plus,” he said. “The NFPA is trying to get everyone to have the same equipment so we can share it seamlessly and keep doing our jobs safely.” The community grant is one of 45 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. The City of Weimar is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and is a partner in the grant program.

Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted in January. More information is available at

About LCRA

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.

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