Crandall firefighters work to raise back money allegedly stolen - Dallas News |

Crandall firefighters work to raise back money allegedly stolen

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Firefighters at the Crandall Fire Department say they were betrayed by one of their own, swindled out of thousands of dollars.

Now, the department is scraping by, forced to sell trucks and equipment to pay off debt. Firefighters are gearing up for a fundraiser to replenish what they lost.

Firefighters had two fully-equipped fire engines, but now they’re down to just one.

For the firefighters, there's not only the feeling of betrayal, but also a real safety concern that they’re not able to help the community to the best of their ability.

In October, 60-year-old Denny Mackey, a local preacher and the department’s chaplain and treasurer, was charged with abuse of official capacity for allegedly misappropriating funds.

“It was very shocking,” said Chief Allen Cousins. “Everybody trusted him, you know? I’ve learned a big lesson.”

The loss was discovered in September. The department had just $1,000 left.

Cousins says Mackey was applying for personal loans using the department’s information, even putting up fire trucks as collateral.

Now, the banks want their money. Cousins estimates the loss is well over $200,000. The department recently sold several trucks and the equipment on board.

Cousins says responding to recent fires is tougher with fewer resources and no money for training, adding that even nearby cities are losing out.

When people call for mutual aid, we need to go help them, we can't because we ain't got but one engine,” he said. “And that leaves us high and dry here in our city.”

The department says it’s grateful for the community's support as it tries to move on.

“We’ll get there,” said Cousins. “It’s just gonna take a long time.”

A benefit fish fry and auction will take place on Saturday, May 17 at the Crandall High School cafeteria at 5 p.m.

The Texas Rangers are investigating. Mackey has not been indicted, but his attorney says they’ve been cooperating with the investigation, even handing over some records.

Once the Rangers’ investigation is complete, they’ll hand it over to the district attorney’s office.

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