• Photo by Roxanne Thompson/The Mexia News
    Ken Tucker, of the Billington community, in far northwest Limestone County, surveys his hayfield, which burned on Jan. 15. Tucker and others in Billington want to build a small building in which to keep a fire truck for one of the surrounding fire departments to shorten the department’s response time. The nearest fire department, however, has few members to spare to fulfill the request.  

Billington man seeks fire substation

Prairie Hill fire chief says no way

By Roxanne Thompson, Staff Writer


A man who lives in the Billington community on the far northwest side of Limestone County requested help from commissioners at their Jan. 23 meeting in getting one of the volunteer fire departments to house a fire truck there in an effort to shorten response time. He is unlikely to get it, however, with Prairie Hill Volunteer Fire Department so short-handed.

Ken Tucker explained that a Jan. 15 grass fire burned a large portion of his hayfield, and the first of several responding volunteer fire departments did not arrive for about 30 to 45 minutes.

Four departments ultimately responded, and Tucker said he was not criticizing the departments, only wanting to get better fire protection.

“We have a group out there wondering what can we do to get some kind of fire protection out there,” Tucker told the court. “Is there anything Limestone County can do to get us a truck out there? We’ll build a building and put it in. We’ll maintain it and everything.”

Tucker’s hayfield had already been harvested, so he did not lose money from the fire, but the flames threatened several homes, he said.

“It could have been worse; we could have lost houses” he said later. “It was getting close to three houses: mine and two of my neighbors’. With the help of several fire departments we did get (the fire) out.”

The volunteer fire departments of Elk, Lake Mexia and Prairie Hill eventually arrived, and Coolidge was on its way, Tucker said, for about eight trucks total.

Prairie Hill Fire Chief Claude Hollister said he believes the response time was much shorter than the 30 to 45 minutes Tucker recalls. Hollister’s logs show a 19-minute response time to the fire.

Tucker’s memory may have been affected by the fact that he was watching helplessly as his field burned.

“When stuff is burning down, it makes a person nervous,” he told the commissioners.

Tucker emphasized, both at the meeting and later, that he appreciated the work of the firefighters.

“I’m not criticizing the fire department,” Tucker said, “because they did a fantastic job. They got here as quick as they could; this is all volunteer, and I’m so glad they actually made it out here. All the departments -- every one of them – those guys had other jobs or were doing something else, and they came to help me, and I really appreciate it; we all do.”

To read more of this story, pick up a copy of Thursday's edition of The Groesbeck Journal! You can also subscribe online or call 254-729-5103.

Groesbeck Journal

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Groesbeck, TX 76642
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