Volunteer Fire Crews Keeping Busy On The South Plains - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/29/08

Volunteer Fire Crews Keeping Busy On The South Plains

This month, firefighters have logged a lot of hours on the South Plains.  Dry and windy conditions turned the area into a tinder-box, where even the smallest spark can turn into a raging fire.

NewsChannel 11 spent Tuesday learning how that is impacting those not paid to fight fires - the volunteers.

Almost all of our volunteer firemen and women have another job, which is their main job, but the large amount of fire call-outs have them working overtime lately. That means early mornings and long nights for some.

"It's a never ending job," Wolfforth Volunteer Fire Chief Charles Addington II said. 

For volunteer firemen like Addington, a call can come any time.

"We've had a tremendous increase in the number of grass fires," Addington said. 

From early in the morning...

"I think it was about 7:25 this morning that it paged out," Floydada Volunteer Assistant Fire Chief Randell Sims said. 

To the middle of the afternoon...

"We got the call, probably around 1:45 p.m.," Smyer Volunteer Fire Chief Chris Bradberry said. 

And into the night, the South Plains' volunteer fire teams are always on duty.

"Anything that's outside of the city limits, the volunteer crews will respond to, and that just takes us away from our normal daytime jobs," Addington said. 

It doesn't matter where the flames break out, because crews will come from miles around to assist.

"Lubbock County is blessed that we have 11 different departments in the county, and we all have mutual aide agreements, and we help each other out," Addington said. 

The county line doesn't stop help from coming, either.

"We had Levelland out here in route too, my department, West Carlisle and then Shallowater brought tankers out," Bradberry said. 

Monday's fire in Bailey County drew at least 10 departments from the surrounding area, including New Mexico. Tuesday morning five crews battled another blaze in Floyd County.

"We've got Lockney, Ralls, Petersburg and Floydada and Dougherty," Sims said. 

"If it wasn't for our neighboring communities and departments sometimes, we'd be very overwhelmed," Addington said. 

So, why do they do it?  What makes these ordinary people volunteer to fight fires?

"It's a job that needs to be done; it's a job that protects people.  We'd like for people to really understand what kind of a calling it is, and that sometimes it's thankless, but it's a job that has to be done, and we're glad to do it," Addington said. 

Crews expect to stay busy as long as the dry weather continues.

1/29/08
High Winds Fuel Cotton Burr Fire in Floyd County
NewsChannel 11 has learned that  40 to 50,000 bales of cotton burrs caught on fire and then spread to the surrounding grass.

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