TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - For over two years now, plans have been in the works to form an explosive ordnance device team, or bomb squad, based in East Texas. Previously, teams from the Dallas area or Shreveport would respond to calls here, but now the new team will be able to serve all of East Texas.
“The regional team will be able to respond to different agencies' requests at that point and provide a quicker response than we could get from the entities that are further away,” Tyler Fire Chief David Coble said.
Over the last few months, coble has helped the team gather the tools necessary to form the squad. At today’s Tyler City Council meeting, the department accepted an $82,000 grant from the East Texas Council of Governments to fund two bomb suits like these. Other materials, such as a bomb-defusing robot, are being loaned from other departments -- all items required for certification from the FBI.
“They [the FBI] came in about 10 days ago and they gave us the go ahead that our equipment was adequate enough for the team,” Coble said.
The three members that will make up the bomb squad are currently in Alabama training for the different scenarios they could encounter on the job. Coble says that while the terrorism threat for East Texas is low, the squad can serve several purposes.
“I believe everyone always thinks terrorism whenever they think about explosive devices. Sometimes in an area like here in Tyler, it was an armory at one time, and so as we do construction here in the city, they run upon old ordnances all the time and so those could also be mitigated by our team,” Coble said.