New Deal VFD resources limited after plethora of calls

New Deal VFD resources limited after plethora of calls

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NEW DEAL, Texas -

The New Deal Volunteer Fire Department responded to multiple fires within a week originating from the same piles of burning cotton seed.

County Commissioner Precinct #4 Patti Jones said she wasn't sure what it was at first.

"My understanding, it's old cottonseed that had gotten wet at some point in time in a warehouse, and the company that they belonged to ended up filing with their insurance and getting an insurance claim on it."

Farmers purchased the rotten cotton seed for fertilizer, and the piles were relocated.

"You take them out of one large contained area and you spread them out into an open area, then there's more access to the oxygen or to the air to them to keep them stirred up, keep them smoldering and keep them burning," Jones said.

The same piles keep burning, and the calls to the New Deal VFD keep multiplying.

"Somebody driving by and they see smoke or they see the start of some flames, they call 911, 911 then gets in touch with the Sheriff's dispatch, and then the Sheriff's dispatch sends the dispatch out to the VFD, whoever's district that's in, which all of these have been in New Deal's district."

Volunteer firefighters responded to their tenth call over these piles Monday, fueling the more than three dozen calls on other county fires just this year. 

"Over 40 calls just since Jan 1. If you take ten, that's 25 percent of their calls on this one particular episode."

Jones said the department is stretched to the limit.

"They don't have the funds, they're not paid staff, they're volunteers. So, they are truly what you'd call public servants. They serve from the heart."

She said she will be taking a look at the funding for multiple area VFD's and see about bumping the money allotted, due to this heavy fire season. Fire chief Randy Teeter said he will be looking into where exactly the cotton seed fires started, how the piles got there, and hopefully trace it back to who is responsible.

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