LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - When firefighters respond to a call there is always the threat of danger or injury. Recently in Upshur County, an East Mountain Volunteer Firefighter sustained an injury while fighting a fire, but it was not from the fire itself.
The dangers of a fire are pretty obvious. Clayton Lenoir found that out the hard way other dangers lurk at a fire scene.
“I joined the fire department to help people not be helped. I just never thought I would find a water meter box open in a yard at eight o’clock at night and fall in,” Lenoir said.
He dislocated a kneecap and pulled ligaments and is on crutches. East Mountain Fire Chief Jimmy Burks says there are things at a scene that can hurt you.
“In the middle of the night, dark like it is flashlights only do so much you know; stepped in a hole. That’s a danger we deal with too,” Burks said.
There are other dangers, especially at night.
“Ditches, stuff like that; barbed wire. There’s a variety of things that we face,” Burks revealed.
Arriving at a scene like a structure fire and hopping out of a truck sometimes terrain is ignored.
“And you’re running a hundred miles an hour you don’t slow down to gather what’s going on around you,” Lenoir explained.
Lenoir explained why they don’t slow down.
“We try to put the fire out. That’s what we’re there to do,” Lenoir said.
Fortunately for East Mountain at least, injuries don’t happen often.
“I’ve been with the fire department for eleven years, and this is actually the first time that we’ve had to file a workman’s comp claim,” Burks stated.
Lenoir says he hasn’t been told how long he’ll be incapacitated.
“I go back to the doctor on the fourteenth to discuss knee surgery and go from there,” Lenoir said.
Lenoir is also out of work right now and is a single parent raising two kids.
“No money at the holidays makes it real hard,” Lenoir stated.
Fortunately, his 17-year-old son Carson, who is a junior volunteer with the department, says as far a Christmas goes, he’s happy with the gift of electricity.
The City of East Mountain is holding a fundraiser and bake sale to help Clayton Lenoir’s living expenses. It’s 11 am to 3 pm Sunday at East Mountain City Hall right next to the fire department.