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Donna Fire Department gains new chief and paid staff

Along with a new fire chief, the Donna Fire Department will now have a paid staff.

As the city of Donna grows, so will their fire department.

Donna city commissioners approved to turn the volunteer fire department into a fully paid staff.

"We were all volunteers and it was fine but now with the money, it's a little something everyone can win off of," said Assistant Fire Chief for Donna, Ricardo Estrada.

The city will now have 17 paid firefighters, including a new fire chief with over 40 years of experience.

"I'm happy to be here, it's a fantastic job," says Cesario Araguz, Donna’s new Fire Chief, who started on Nov. 29.

Araguz was a firefighter in the Marine Corps, then spent 10 years at the Mission Fire Department, and 23 years working with McAllen Fire. He even worked with Progreso Fire Department for some time.

Now that he is in charge at Donna Fire, he says priority number one is having better trained firefighters.

"These guys are going to be super trained individuals, they're going to get trained, get their class B drivers license, pump operations, EMT classes and such."

Araguz says he's also planning to order new bunker gear and equipment for the firefighters.

"We're getting complete sets from caps all the way down to boots."

The new positions are costing the city about $132,000 dollars, but officials say it won't cost residents one penny.

"We're going to provide better service for our citizens, safer community and this is what our commercial people are asking for," said Donna City Manager Carlos Yerena, "It's a great deal and we're doing it all within budget without having to raise taxes."

The department is still looking for firefighters to hire.

If you'd like to apply, you must have 80 hours of firefighter training experience.

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