The Pleasanton Express would like to wish all of Atascosa County a Happy 4th of July weekend! With that being said, Atascosa County Fire Marshal Roger Garcia would also like to remind everyone to stay safe this holiday weekend and be mindful of firework policies in your respective cities.
“Be firework safe out there. Use your common sense when it comes to using fireworks. Please keep open flames away from children and supervise all children when it comes to popping fireworks,” said Garcia. “Be sure to pop fireworks at a safe distance from other people. It’s all about common sense.”
Citizens may pop fireworks in the county limits, however, the tri-cities of Pleasanton, Jourdanton and Poteet do have a “No Fireworks Policy” within their city limits. This means that you cannot pop fireworks inside city limits, only in the county. Please adhere to burning policies during the holiday weekend as well. You must call the Atascosa County Fire Marshal’s Office at 830- 769-2029 if you are planning to burn any kind of material before doing so.
Fire Marshal Garcia also assured that volunteer fire departments will be available to cover Atascosa County this 4th of July weekend should their assistance be needed.
“Do not hesitate to call 911 if there is a fire outbreak. The faster you call us, the faster we can contain the fire. We are here to protect the citizens of our county,” said Garcia.
At this time, the Pleasanton Express would like to recognize and extend a huge thank you to the Pleasanton VFD volunteers for their hard work and dedication throughout the years. Those volunteers include Zaccheus Aguero, Brayden Bauer, James Birger, Gene Bosquez, Junior Bosquez, Santiago DeLeon, Xavier Garcia, Christian Gonzales, Michael Griego, Carlos Herrera, Kimberly Ingram, Jason Krueger, Aaron Leal, Benjamin Martinez, Joseph Obregon, James Self, Cody Smith and Kevin Tucker.
The Pleasanton Express will continue to follow this story as it unfolds. If you have any information on the history of the Pleasanton VFD or if you are a volunteer who would like to go on the record, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 830-569- 6130 and ask for Rebecca.
Richard Troell, former Pleasanton volunteer firefighter and fire chief, shared some history.
Pleasanton VFD’s beginnings
The first Pleasanton VFD fire station was located on Hunt Street, which consisted of just a barn with a truck. Later, a station with three stalls was built on Pleasanton City Hall grounds (where the parking lot is now), but it was eventually outgrown due to the increase in volunteers joining. The Pleasanton Women’s Club owned about ½ block by Center Pharmacy on Hunt Street that was gifted to the VFD by the City of Pleasanton. A large fire station with a big meeting room was built and this became the home of the Pleasanton VFD located at 219 W. Hunt St.
In October 2018, the newest state-of-the-art Pleasanton Fire Station was opened on Airport Rd. that now serves at the main headquarters. The fire station on Hunt St. remained as the volunteer firefighters headquarters.
Meetings, trainings and Wintergarden District
In their new fire station, the firemen met every Monday evening to take care of trucks. Once a month, they held training classes for them and other departments in the area. During the summers, many of them gave up their vacations from their full-time jobs to attend Fire School at Texas A&M University to become certified. This included classroom instructions and a large field where they practiced actual firefighting.
Pleasanton VFD and other fire departments in the district would meet about twice a year to have a business meeting of sorts. After lunch, they held “pumper races” and other contests with their trucks and hoses. The women’s auxiliaries also participated in activities and contests. The last evening, they would put up a cable with a target suspended from the cable. There were nozzles at each end of the cable to push the target to the other end.
The VFD also had a very active Firemen’s Auxiliary. The women would provide water and food for the firefighters when they were out on calls for many hours at a time fighting large grass fires. Once a year, the firefighters and auxiliary held a large banquet at the station and the fire chief would give out awards and certifications.
Jaws of Life and water rescues
Pleasanton VFD was one of the very first departments to acquire the life-saving tool that is known as the Jaws of Life. Not even San Antonio had it at the time. The Jaws of Life is a hydraulic tool with two large jaws (think like scissors), that could literally cut a wrecked car apart so the people trapped inside could be removed without causing further injury to them.
As other departments across Texas gradually obtained this tool, Pleasanton held training sessions to teach firefighters from all over how to use it. Under Fire Chuck Garris the department continued Jaws training, holding classes every January, which is usually a slow month for fires. During these classes, they obtain wrecked vehicles to demonstrate how to take them apart to extract victims safely. Departments come from all over Texas to attend this class.
Many years ago, before the Pleasanton River Park was built, folks liked to swim and boat in the river and would usually go in at the Adams Street bridge. Sometimes, someone would get into trouble in the water. The fire department obtained a rubber raft and a boat with trained firefighters in water rescue.
Since the town was divided in two by the railroad tracks and a train could block traffic for a long time, one fire truck was kept in North Pleasanton, as it was called long ago. There was a fairly large community building with one stall for the truck which housed a grass truck and pumper truck.
How do you call firemen? CP&L had an office at the corner of Adams and Main St. where they put up a large creosote pole behind their building where a siren was mounted on top. They sounded the siren every day at noon and whenever there was a fire. Eventually, the VFD got a plectrum fire alarm that hung on their belt and would send a signal out when there was a fire.
Later, fire officers obtained an electric unit they kept at their house. It put out a loud tone when there was a fire and a police dispatcher would give the location of the fire.