Each year fire departments across the nation, as well as the communities they serve, celebrate National Fire Prevention Week. Our local fire departments are made up of volunteers. They volunteer their time and place themselves in great danger every time they respond to a fire or assist at a vehicle crash.
These volunteers rely on donations and a few government grants to get money for some needed training, equipment, fuel for the trucks and to operate the unit.
The equipment is also funded with the help of donations received from citizens. The donations help the fire departments qualify for grants – and the departments must chip in a healthy share to buy the equipment. Many of our smaller departments must rely on purchasing older equipment the larger departments have replaced with newer trucks.
Every year these fire departments struggle to survive due to lack of donations and lack of volunteer personnel. Eleven volunteer fire departments serve Atascosa County.
While most of the volunteers are away from their home areas during the day; when a daytime fire call goes out, those who can — do respond. Lately, it has been a problem. There are fewer and fewer volunteers due to the influx of oilfield activity and the jobs it brings. Workers are lured by the better pay and this leaves the departments with a shortage of firefighters. Jourdanton Volunteer Fire Department Chief David Prasifka said “It’s been tough for us. The department’s volunteers are down due to the oil field. Two to three fire departments have to respond to one house fire so there are enough men to handle it.”
They put their lives on the line every time the fire alarm sounds and they rush to whatever problem has occurred— whether it be a grass fire along the roadway, a home or business fire, to rescue a trapped victim of an automobile accident or to clean up a hazardous material spill.
MEET THE DEPARTMENTS
Pictures of each department and the business community which show their gratitude are on pages xC and xC in this issue.
25580 Pleasanton Road
San Antonio, Texas 78264
The actual location of Ata- Bexar “County Line” VFD is just a few yards inside Bexar County on Old Pleasanton Road, but they respond to a large number of fires and wrecks in Atascosa County. We consider their members as “ours.” The department has been in service for 31 years. Anyone in the northern Atascosa County area that is interested in joining this department should know they hold business meeting on the 3rd Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. Come to the meeting so we can meet you.
Their 40-square-mile area of responsibility with 1,300 households crosses the dividing line into both counties.
The department now has two paid full-time firefighters at the station – paid by Bexar County.
The officers include: Treasurer Ronald Umburn, President/Safety Officer Billy Hommand, Captain-1 Patricio Wilson, Secretary Nancy Miller,
Chief/Vice Pres. Shonda Farrinacci, Asst. Chief Doug Inmon, Lt. Paul Espinoza and Board members Mellissa Hammond and Milton Miller.
P.O. Box 5
Campbellton, Texas 78008
The Campbellton “Paisano” VFD collects community dues — an annual donation mailed in by Campbellton area residents. However, the department’s area also covers an area that includes McCoy, Peggy and Fashing.
The Paisano department will hold their annual fund-raiser Turkey Bingo on October 13. Don’t miss the great food, refreshments and Bingo, please take time to make a donation to Campbellton VFD at the address above.
The department, which is in need of both members and donations, asks that residents from the southeast corner of the county send in a donation. “Paisano” firefighters cover most of the southern and southeastern portion of the county. They are often called for assistance at accident sites on IH-37.
The department’s officers include: Fire Chief Martin Llamas Jr., Asst. Chief Homer Garcia, Secretary/ Captain/ EMT-B Chris Llamas, Lt. Joe Sotello and Treasurer Dora Llamas. Those interested in becoming volunteer firefighters may contact the fire chief at 830-256-4456.
P.O. Box 101
Christine, Texas 78012
Christine’s VFD is looking to add new members. The current members have been working hard to keep their equipment running and need donations to help fund purchases of necessary gear.
The department’s area of responsibility covers the south central portion of the county.
Anyone interested in joining the department should contact one of the members. They meet the third Tuesday of the month at 7 p.,m.
The department’s officers include: Fire Chief Joe Meyers, President Matthew Jerkins, Secretary Janene Meyers, Treasurer Jackie Jerkins, Vice President Ernest “Cotton” Seiffert.
P.O. Box 714
Charlotte, Texas 78011
Donations are always needed. Money raised helps the department maintain their equipment and allows the members to receive related training and to purchase needed equipment.
The department is inviting area residents to come and join them for the Charlotte VFD Firemen’s Barbecue of Saturday, November 10, 2012. The firefighters will be serving Brisket or Chicken (with all the trimmings) starting at 11:00 a.m. at the Charlotte Fire Station. The cost is $6 per plate. The profits will be used by the department for operating costs and equipment.
This department has a very big need for volunteer members. Even if you are a resident living near Hwy. 173 to the north or the McMullen County line to the south, please volunteer.
The department’s area of responsibility is the largest of any area in Atascosa County. It extends from Hwy. 173 south to the McMullen County line. The department is also one of the smallest in number of members. The department could certainly use additional members and the community’s support.
Officers in the department include: Fire Chief Robert Romo, Asst. Chief Jerrod Roberts and Sec./Treas. Clarissa Romo.
Jourdanton, Texas 78026
Jourdanton VFD has a large area of responsibility in the center of the county. It reaches southward near Christine and northward toward Poteet. The east and west boundaries are bordered by areas covered by the Charlotte and Pleasanton departments. Jourdanton fire-fighters are in need of volunteers and donations.
Chief David Prasifka said “It’s been tough for us. The department’s volunteers are down due to the oil field. Two to three fire departments have to respond to one house fire so there are enough men to handle it.” He also mentioned that it is more difficult to get to the fires because of increased traffic. He is grateful that the Automatic Mutual Aid is in place for Jourdanton and Pleasanton.
The department answers about 200 calls each year that are fire or wreck related.
The department will be demonstrating fire prevention and offering tips at the Jourdanton schools all day Friday, October 12 by the old gym.
Jourdanton VFD officers include: Fire Chief David Prasifka, Assistant Chief, Jay Fojtik and President Tommy Poenisch.
P.O. Box 193
Leming, Texas 78050
Leming VFD responds to fires between Leming and Ata-Bexar to the north as well as areas to the east, west and south to Pleasanton.
The officers at Leming VFD include: Fire Chief Andrew Martinez, Pres. Juan Ramon Rodriguez, Vice Pres. Domingo Martinez and Treas. Jessica Ottinger, Asst. Chief Carl Ottinger, Secretary Loren Gillespie. Members in Leming meet first Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. They held a fundraiser last week by selling concessions at the Verdi Community Center 7 mile Garage Sale event.
P.O. Box 299
Lytle, Texas 78052
The Lytle Volunteer Fire Department was established in 1955. It covers the northwestern corner of Atascosa County. However, their responsibility does not stop there. They are dedicated to the prevention and suppression of fires, as well as response to medical emergencies and other incidents in Lytle as well as Atascosa, Bexar and Medina Counties
Lytle VFD, like other departments in the county, needs lots of new members and donations.
Officers for 2012: Chief / Tresaurer Matthew Dear, Asst. Chief / Vice President Roger Garcia, President Kevin Dear and Secretary Abygail Perez.
Poteet, Texas 78065
Rossville VFD is in a totally rural area and covers a large area that wraps around Lytle’s area of responsibility. It reaches northward to Bexar County and westward to Medina County.
The department has been gaining new members, but they certainly need your financial support.
The department began in 1989. Rossville VFD meets on the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Rossville Community Center. The department has some upcoming fundraisers in November. There will be a Pony Plop (similar to Cow Patty Bingo) and the big annual Rossville Turkey Shoot, which is scheduled for November 18 — the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
Breakast with Santa
In December the Rossville VFD will host “Breakfast With Santa” for the childrenon Saturday, December 15.
Officers in the department include: Fire Chief Adam Zavala, Asst. Chiefs Joseph Castillo and Andrew Walla, Captain Marcus Krempin, Lt. Ryan Reid, Pres. David E. Reyes, Vice President Loretta Zavala, Treas. Kathy Daniel and Sec. Amanda Castillo.
P.O. Box 405
Pleasanton, Texas 78064
The Pleasanton VFD has typically been the largest department in the county. With the size also comes a large area of responsibility in fighting fires. It covers an area from between Jourdanton and Pleasanton on the west to the Wilson County line on the east.
There has been a decline in department membership as the area’s workforce has taken jobs in the oil and gas industries. They are no longer available to respond to fires while working for large and sometimes distantly located companies.
The department also supports a large rescue unit which includes Jaws-of-Life equipment. In addition, the department’s members also train in water rescue. It is also custodian of a communications van designated for regional homeland security.
The county’s Emergency Management Coordinator/ Fire Marshal, Chuck Garris, also doubles as the department’s Fire Chief.
The department trains every Monday night at 7:30 p.m.
The department’s officers include: Fire Chief Chuck Garris, lst. Asst. Fire Chief Rudy Ortiz,2nd Asst. Fire Chief Junior Bosquez, President Aaron Leal, Vice President Sheridan Murray, Secretary Gene Bosquez, Treasurer Chris Tavernier, Public Information Officer Louis Gutierrez Jr., Sgt.-at- Arms Hunter Saenz, Chaplain Randy Zepeda and Board Members – Joe Bosquez, Joe Carrasco, Josh Jackson, Jorge Quiroga, Josh Rodriguez and Stephen Wilson.
25 Primrose Lane
P.O. Box 966
Poteet, Texas 78065
The Primrose fire department is one of the county’s smallest in size but has a large area to cover — reaching into Bexar County — and needs donations to help keep the fire trucks running and to buy new equipment. They certainly need your donations and volunteers.
The department reorganized a few years ago and makes every effort to move forward and grow. The fire department really needs firefighter volunteers who live within a five mile radius of the station. The department also has a real need for your donations.
Primrose VFD meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 7:30. Come and become a member.
Department officers include: Fire Chief Bubba Lasater, Asst. Chief/Sec./ Treas. Alice Lasater, President Jeffrey Eshem, Vice-President Jimmy Newman, Public Relations Alice Lasater, Chaplain Texas Alfaro and Secretary Eva Miller
P.O. Box 966
Poteet, Texas 78065
The Poteet VFD is located in the heart of the Strawberry City on Avenue H. The fire station is also home for the large strawberry monument, the Poteet family monument and the Poteet Canyon monument.
Daytime firefighters needed
Poteet VFD is in need of additional members and would especially like to have more firefighters who can respond during the day. The department is in need of several pieces of equipment.
The department’s area of responsibility reaches northward to the Blackjack Oak area south of Primrose. To the west, the area reaches almost to Rossville. The eastern boundary is near Leming and goes south to the area covered by Jourdanton.
The department’s officers include: Fire Chief Curtis Adams, Asst. Chief Fabian Herrera, Captain Gerard Herrera, President Rick Flores Sr., Vice President Nemencio Tijerina, Co-Captain Justin Carrasco, Treasurer John Franklin, Secretary Araceli Tijerina, Training Officers Tina Neely-Lopez and Chris Lopez.
Deserving of honors
These firefighters are able to protect our community because they have the support of their employers. These businesses deserve much needed thanks. The auxiliary groups are another facet of the volunteer fire departments. They work to raise money and help feed and hydrate the firefighters during prolonged battles.