Fighting fires with family

By Morgan Chesky - bio - email

Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

BULLARD, TX (KLTV) - This is the story of an East Texas family who fights fires together and stays together.

For third generation firefighter Keith Newburn, fighting fires is a family affair.

"My family has actually been part of the fire department here in one form or the other since 1955 when this department was formed," said Bullard VFD Chief, Keith Newburn.

A picture of his grandfather, founder and ex-department chief of Bullard Volunteer Fire Department hangs on the station wall. Newburn continues his legacy which is no surprise as he mentions favorite activities.

"Fighting fires is the number one thing and running a tractor and playin' in the dirt is the other thing," said Keith.

For Keith and his fifteen year old son Ryan, the best of both worlds is a local brushfire. Using a bulldozer to contain the fire, the father-son team work in sync with dad running the dozer and Ryan just a step behind. It is a reality wife and mother Betty Newburn has had to get used to.

"The boys don't necessarily like it all the time because mama is gonna be mama," said Betty.

Watching her children grow up from following dad to fighting the fire in downtown Tyler, she has found the best strategy to be able to cope.

"Just sit back and let them do their thing I know they know what they're doing its all I can do," said Betty.

Now joined by six others who share his name, Newburn hopes they'll continue to battle their own blazes.

"Hopefully we'll keep the clan going and keep the Newburn name going in the fire department for several more years," said Keith.

One of Newburn's daughters is now a volunteer fire fighter in Oklahoma, and Newburn's middle son Gary is hours away from qualifying for the fire academy.