Just after midnight 356 Volunteer Fire Department located near the Trinity/Polk County line was lost to a fire. Fire Chief Jesse Baker arrived on scene and was only able to sit at the street and watch as flames consumed the fire station, the tanker , two brush trucks and one rescue truck.
Other fire departments responded to the fire but it was to late to save the equipment.
This morning the volunteers are watching and wondering what they will do to protect this small community. The only insurance on the trucks was liability insurance. The station was uninsured. Unlike departments in Montgomery County funded by tax dollars , these departments are funded by donations.
With an annual budget of $14,000 of which $5,600 comes from the county. Ten percent of the budget was used up recently when the massive Trinity County Bearing Wildfire in fuel costs. . There are no paid staff. A lot of the equipment is obtained from other departments as hand me down equipment. Along FM 356 is a cyclone fence with a gate, inside several bags of aluminum cans. This is another way they raise funds throughout the year.
This morning Onalaska Fire Department made their brush truck available to the 356 Fire Department for as long as they needed. They will need new protective gear for the fire fighters, self contained breathing apparatus for entering burning buildings, fire hose, fire trucks and a new building. Also destroyed were their two sets of JAWS Of LIFE used to free victims from auto accidents.
This afternoon Chief Jeff Taylor contacted 356 Fire Department with an offer of a spare tanker which was replaced by a new one earlier in the year. This afternoon is was delivered to them so that they may be able to protect their community until they can obtain one of their own.
The Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office will be on the scene in the morning to try to determine the cause of the blaze. The Chief feels since it appears to have started on their 1999 Ford brush truck the possibility of a faulty electrical control switch, the cause of several Ford fires could be the cause. But he is going to wait for a final determination by the Fire Marshal.
ANYONE WISHING TO DONATE CAN MAIL IT TO:
356 VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT
12427 FM 356
TRINITY, TEXAS 75862
OR CONTACT CHIEF BAKER AT 936-662-2964