Armstrong Co. community responds to the Mallard Fire

Armstrong Co. community responds to the Mallard Fire

ARMSTRONG COUNTY, TX (KFDA) - As crews continue to battle the blaze that sparked in Armstrong County a week ago, people thanked those fighting the fires while sharing their own experiences over the last week.

One resident whose family has been in Armstrong since 1918 lives right off County Road 20 and says her home allows her to see when danger strikes - including smoke from the Mallard Fire.

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"I called in last Tuesday evening about this time actually after that storm passed over, I knew it was lightening," said Peggy Meatatnia, an Armstrong County resident.

Since Tuesday evening, Peggy and her family have stayed out on the highway past 1:00 a.m. to watch the blaze and implement any necessary precautions.

Even her 11-year-old nephew is part of the effort to protect the family land.

"Write it down, because he's been out there helping," seat Meatatnia. "What he saw, how he felt and to collect family digital photographs, put it together because in fifty years, he'll own that place. He needs to look back and have a personal record of what happened here."

The incident commander of the Mallard Fire has slept only twenty two hours over the last seven days.

While he's losing his voice from what he says are tiresome days, it's worth every second.

"It's my life. I own a construction business but I've given that up this whole last week to do this," said Claude Fire Cpt. Dwayne Holt who is also the Incident Commander for the Mallard Fire. "I've been doing this twenty years and I wouldn't give it up for nothing."

His efforts and that of his family have not gone unnoticed by the community.

"My wife is actually a firefighter also. Has been for 17 years," said Holt. "But she stepped down and started taking care of helping keep these guys fed, hydrated, medical needs. She has been there, her and my daughter."

As these firefighters are putting their lives on the line, it's who they're protecting that makes all the difference.

"Heart. We just love what we do. We love to take care of people," said Holt. "I just want to thank all the people that's helped us keep this going and keep my guys out there."

After this fire season, the Claude Fire Department will be looking to replace one of its trucks and repair others.

If you'd like to help support those who protect you, you can contact your local fire department and find out what their exact needs are.

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