East Texas fire chief after station badly burned by truck fire: 'It's a totally helpless feeling'

Published: Nov. 30, 2015 at 11:42 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2015 at 12:16 AM CST
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Source: KLTV News Staff
Source: KLTV News Staff
Source: KLTV News Staff
Source: KLTV News Staff
It's one call that most fire departments aren't accustomed to hearing. At around 8:30 am Monday, Chief Marvin Vinson with the Crims Chapel Volunteer Fire Department in Henderson woke up to smoke coming out of the fire station.
"I stepped outside to get the newspaper -- I do live next door -- and saw smoke coming out of the vents on top of the station," says Vinson.

The chief, the only one at the station when it caught fire, says the situation was hard to grasp, but he realized he had to act quickly.

"My bunker gear's in there, everything's in the fire station. So it's a totally helpless feeling," Vinson says. "I just know the quicker I could call for mutual aid, the better it was going to be."

Shortly after, multiple fire departments responded to help one of their own. Firefighters say a truck inside caught on fire and spread to other parts of the station.

When Jonathan Prior, who's been with the department for two years, heard a vehicle inside was on fire, he expected the worst.

"I wasn't expecting it to be standing here. If I wouldn't have called my captain back I probably would've just assumed that the whole station was on the ground," Prior says.

While the fire was put out quickly, it caused some serious damage.

"It's hard to come and see everything and how severely damaged it is, but we'll be able to rebuild and continue to run calls in our area," says Prior.

Other departments say to rebuild, Crims Chapel will need help not only from fellow firefighters, but from the community they serve as well to be able to continue the fight.
Chief Vinson says it's unclear how much equipment was damaged, but says before they can resume calls, all of the inside needs to be torn down. Several fire departments will help monitor their area while they are going through repairs.

A PayPal account has been set up on the station's homepage to accept donations. If you would like to give to the Crims Chapel VFD, please click here.

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