Firefighter

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Every year in the U.S., dozens of firefighters are killed in the line of duty. But there are hundreds more close calls, where a firefighter needs to be rescued after becoming injured or otherwise incapacitated. Virtually all firefighters, both volunteer and professional, rely on a simple device designed to alert their fellow firefighters when they need help.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Of the 14 confirmed fatalities in the West fertilizer plant explosion, 10 were first responders. Most were from West, but some were from nearby service districts like Abbott, Mertens and Navarro Mills, and one was a fire captain in the Dallas Fire Department who lived in West.

Of the town's 33 volunteer firefighters, five were killed and 11 were hospitalized in the explosion.

City of Bryan

Two Bryan Firefighters remain in serious but stable condition today after a deadly fire on Friday. Two other Bryan firefighters were killed.

Fire Lieutenant Eric Wallace, 36, died in the line of duty and Fire Lieutenant Greg Pickard, 54, passed away late Saturday afternoon as a result of his injuries. Firefighters Ricky Mantey and Mitch Moran are being treated for burns at a Galveston hospital.

Lea Luchsinger

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the Central Texas wildfires.

Thousands of people were forced out of their homes last Labor Day weekend by the massive wildfires and clouds of black smoke.

The fires went on to claim two lives and destroy more than 1,600 homes and thousands of acres of land.

Chris Barron is the Executive Director of the State Firemen’s & Fire Marshals' Association. He recalls getting the first notification about a fire in Pflugerville.

"We sent a brush truck from my fire department up there and a tender, a water tender up there, and, next thing you know, Spicewood had a major fire also and then Steiner Ranch had a major fire and so it was just back to back to back," Barron says.

Flickr user Images_Of_Money, bit.ly/LeSsiT

State lawmakers want to know what would happen if Texans were allowed to go across state lines to buy health insurance. It’s an idea some politicians say could reduce healthcare costs.

Today, the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs looks at the feasibility and fiscal impact of changing the insurance code to allow that.

Senators will also talk about whether volunteer firefighters should be protected from being fired for missing work because they were responding to an emergency.

White Water Baldy Complex

A little more than nine months after wildfires devastated parts of Central Texas, new fires are spreading through New Mexico, burning over 278,000 acres of forest. Twenty-five states, including Texas, have sent support to help fight the blaze.

April Saginor with the Texas Forest Service says some cities in Texas like San Antonio can afford to send firefighters and aid because the state has fewer fires to battle themselves.

 

“It’s happening, but they’re much smaller than they were last year, and we were able to contain them rather quickly,” she said. “So we’re in good shape right now, but we’re waiting to see what kind of rain we get later this month.”