Texline Volunteer Firefighters and EMT’s busy in community
By Robin Scott
Texline is a small community just northwest of Dalhart, but the communities’ interest in one another is large. Texline’s Volunteer Fire and Rescue is made up of community members who work full time in other careers, but respond to the call of duty when the alarm goes out. They each give their time to their community willingly and soon the department will have a new facility.
At a recent celebration in Texline honoring the first anniversary of the Community Center, the volunteer firefighters and EMT’s were out mingling with the community, sponsoring the outdoor games, and giving safety lessons in the Panhandle Fire Safety trailer. The event was just another opportunity for the firefighters to aid their community, which goes beyond the borders of Texline. The population of the tiny town is just 512, but the surrounding community includes approximately 700 more people. A portion of the proceeds from the celebration was donated to the fire department’s building fund. Assistant Fire Chief Pat Dodson commented, “We are happy to come out to any event that benefits Texline. We enjoy getting to know everyone in our community. We also are happy to talk about the new facility and what it means to Texline.”
Fire Chief Ray Eads is a full time science and industrial arts teacher with the Texline Independent School District. He’s been a firefighter for nearly 40 years and an EMT for nearly 30 years, and he is excited about the building of the new fire department. Chief Eads noted, “We’re going to be able to get all of our trucks inside. Right now we have three that are outside. We have two ambulances and seven fire trucks.” The new facility increases the size of available space from 3,200 square feet to 10,400.
The new fire department is approximately 40 percent complete. Money spent for the new building has come from donations and grants, and according to Assistant Fire Chief Dodson, “The county and the city of Texline have also provided money.” The new facility is larger and has more amenities than the old building. The new facility is handicapped accessible, will have both male and female bathrooms, showers and dressing rooms. The firefighters’ wives were thrilled to discover that the new building includes a laundry room. Also included are separate offices for the Fire Department and EMS, a small conference room, a large conference room and a kitchen.
The old facility will be used by the city to house city equipment that is now stored in a Quonset hut that is neither heated nor insulated. Dodson stated, “We will be better able to handle a large incident, as far as if people had to be housed or fed.” Back in the blizzard in March of this year, firefighters from Texline rescued four stranded truck drivers and the community took them in until it was safe to get back out onto the roadways.
Firefighters from Texline recently assisted the Dalhart Fire Department on an all-night fire at the Beck Ranch about 30 miles outside of Dalhart. Assistant Fire Chief Dodson noted, “I was out there all night and then back out the next day when it rekindled. That next day, firefighters Taylor Ferguson and Mike Beachamp were also out at the scene.” He also noted that Texline Fire and Rescue is all volunteer, and so is EMS. He commented, “We have no paid positions in Texline. We all have our regular daily jobs.” Dodson is a mechanic along with several other firefighters. He noted, “Ray is a school teacher, Brad Riley with Poole Chemical, Greg Ward works for the Texline school district, and Carl and Bret Poling are farmers.” Fire Chief Eads stated, “We have school teachers, house wives, mechanics, business men, farmers, truck drivers and people from other occupations that give their time to serve their fellow man.” The diversity of the men provides a vast amount of experience that they each bring to their volunteer work.
Texline Volunteer Fire and Rescue includes firefighters Fire Chief Ray Eads, Assistant Fire Chief Pat Dodson, and firefighters Taylor Ferguson, David McGaughy, Brett Poling, Michael Gard, Mike Terwilliger, Trevor Smith, Mike Beachamp, Joe Burns, Brad Gard, Brad Riley, Greg Ward, Carl Ensz and Jeremy Howard. EMS includes Ray Eads, Pat Dodson, Brad Riley, Greg Ward, Carl Ensz, Les and Jolene Koehn, Ann Ferguson and Cynthia Boggs.
Eads stated, “The new fire station will benefit our service. We will be able to house all of our trucks. Temperature control on the fire trucks is critical in winter, and on the ambulances is critical all year long. All of the equipment will be better organized, cleaner and easier to upkeep.” Space for the trucks is important, but equally important is space for the every day tasks required of Chief Eads. He noted, “With all of the required paperwork, it is also going to be nice to have the new offices. With the laundry facility and showers, we will be able to clean ourselves and our clothes and not take the hazards home to our families and take a chance on contaminating our homes.”
Eads commented about the men and women of his department by saying, “Our jobs as firefighters and as EMT’s are the same as for those who are paid, but we are not paid. I do thank the paid members in surrounding communities because they help us stay up to speed with our training and equipment. I have a great deal of respect for firefighters and EMT’s, paid or volunteer.” His dedication and pride has a long history. He noted, “My father, uncle, brother, wife, brother-in-law and two sons have been volunteer firefighters. Things have changed quite a bit in the time that I have been serving and the time my father served. These people do many jobs that are not like many others. They do not get to choose the time, place or weather that they are out in.”
Firefighters and EMT’s must be ready in all situations. Eads stated, “We’ve worked fires where the fire hose nozzle could not have been turned off or the house would have frozen and the ground became like an ice skating rink. We’ve worked wrecks from one person to 12 people. We have minimized pain and suffering and saved houses and property from fire. This is what thousands of firefighters and EMT’s, paid and volunteer, do every day.”
Eads also noted, “Are the members of the Texline Fire and Rescue special? Yes. They are my friends and my family and I trust them with my life. It is easy to be the Fire Chief in Texline because of the dedicated people that are here to serve.” Eads also commented that he hates giving lists of names of people for fear of leaving anyone off of the list. He added, “If I left anyone out I am truly sorry, they are all so important.”
For more information about the Texline Volunteer Fire Department or the new fir department facility, contact City Hall at 806.362.4849.