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Crandall Fire Department Recovering From Financial Blow

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jennifer Lindgren
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CRANDALL (CBS 11 News) - Hundreds of people came together Saturday morning, for a pancake breakfast to support a local fire department.

The Crandall Volunteer Fire Department is recovering from a financial blow.

The department’s former treasurer and chaplain is accused of misappropriating more than $140,000.

Denny Mackey, 60, turned himself into authorities last fall, on charges of abuse of official capacity.

The Texas Rangers say they have evidence that Mackey put up fire fighting equipment as collateral to take out personal bank loans.

Chief Allen Cousins says he and the 19 other members of the small department have not spoken to Mackey since his arrest.

“I think it hurts everybody. You worry. You think about stuff. Knowing a guy as long as I knew this guy, and the way he treated us — always showed good faith, but behind our backs he was cutting us wide open,” Chief Cousins said.

Mackey posted bond and has not yet been indicted.  In the past, he declined to talk with CBS 11 News about the case, and his attorney could not be reached for comment today.

A spokesperson for the Texas Rangers says the investigation is ongoing.  Chief Cousins has been informed the FBI is now involved in the investigation as well.

“I think when it’s all said and done, there will probably be between $200-300,000 that we’re out of,” said Chief Cousins.

To stay ahead of the debt owed to the banks, Cousins says they will have to sell a fire engine, a brush truck and a water tanker — almost half the department’s fire fighting apparatus.

“It’s everything we use daily when we have calls,” Chief Cousins said.

Crandall Volunteer Fire Department receives funding through taxpayer dollars, including the City of Crandall and the Kaufman County Emergency Services District.

David Kirk, vice president of Kaufman County Emergency Services District 6, says the county stands with Cousins and the fire department.

Crandall Mayor Cody Fraser echoed his comments, saying city leaders stand with the department 100 percent.

“It’s very devastating for the community, for the fire department to be in the position they are in,” Kirk said.

Kirk was one of a few hundred people who showed up for the pancake breakfast fundraiser.

Families, politicians, city and county leaders, and fire fighters from departments as far away as Irving and Garland attended to show their support to Crandall.

“Id hate to think of the day where we have an emergency out on the highway, or someone’s house catches on fire and there’s a real need for help, and these guys aren’t here to provide for them. It’s crucial,” said Kirk.

People donated $5,300 at the Saturday morning breakfast alone, showing support for this fire department that has supported Kaufman County for 65 years.

“We felt like we’d been stomped on and nobody really cared about the fire department, but today showed there are a lot of people who really care about us,” Chief Cousins said.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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