Ruben on the Road: Volunteer fire departments combine to cover Lipscomb County

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Published: Nov. 21, 2023 at 11:27 AM CST
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DARROUZETT, Texas (KFDA) - Ruben makes his way to Darrouzett where he meets with some fire departments who work together to cover Lipscomb County.

Alan Meier, assistant fire chief with Darrouzett Fire Department, says the Fire Association consists of six fire departments in Lipscomb County.

There are three departments on the north side of Lipscomb, including Booker, Follett and Darrouzett. The three departments on the south side are Locust Grove, Lipscomb and Higgins.

“Our goal as leaders of the association is to bring unity among all six fire departments so we can respond together and a unified command,” said Meier.

Follett Fire Department Fire Chief Neal Ashpaugh says it’s important for everybody to work together and be on one page, especially because of the fuel they have this year. Everybody has to be on the same page and know what to to when they get there.

“And I think that it just brings everybody together and more as a team for the whole county,” said Ashpaugh.

Meier says each fire department averages about 14 to 16 people.

“A lot of our money comes from people donating to the fire departments, because we’re 100% volunteers,” said Meier.

Meier says they get a little bit of money from the county, but most of the money comes from the people in the communities outside.

Right now, on a minimum fire, Meier says it’s costing each department about $100 each run. If they spend all day on a fire, it’s about a $1,000 bill and fuel.

“It’s important for us to respond in Oklahoma because Oklahoma is so short handed and sparse in between their fire departments. We’re just three miles from Oklahoma state line,” said Meier.

For a quick response, Meier says they go in Oklahoma to get fires under control to help those guys and vice versa, Oklahoma comes into Texas to help them out too.

“We’d rather respond and get a 10-22 to turn around and go home than it get plum out of hand and we’re out there for hours and hours, you know, so that’s the main thing. So everybody’s kind of on the same page,” said Ashpaugh.