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Firefighters save EMS barn

Firefighters save EMS barn
La Vernia’s District 1 Fire/Rescue firefighters turn out in force Oct. 3 to battle an electrical fire at the La Vernia Volunteer EMS barn. Fire and EMS personnel were participating in the community’s National Night Out event at the La Vernia Chamber of Commerce just a few hundred yards away when the fire started.

It could have been so much worse, but due to the quick thinking of passersby and a rapid response by District 1 Fire/Rescue, the La Vernia Volunteer EMS barn didn’t go up in smoke Oct. 3, as the community observed National Night Out.

First responders were out in full force for National Night Out at the La Vernia Chamber of Commerce Hall, just a few hundred feet down the road from the EMS barn on U.S. 87 last Tuesday night. The event was packed with firefighters, emergency medical personnel, and police officers, all sharing information about community and personal safety with community members.

Drivers on U.S. 87 noticed smoke pouring from the roof of the La Vernia Volunteer EMS barn just before 7 p.m., and called 911. Firefighters at the National Night Out event dropped what they were doing and mobilized the vehicles and equipment on hand for safety demonstrations to the fire scene, about 1/10 of a mile away.

District 1 Fire/Rescue personnel encountered smoke billowing from the building. The cause was immediately apparent -- an electrical issue with an ice machine at one end of the building.

“Thanks to the rapid response and professional actions of District 1 Fire/Rescue, only very minor smoke damage resulted --,” La Vernia Volunteer Ambulance Service President Paul Brunner said.

The EMS offices, training room, and sleeping rooms -- at the opposite end of the building -- had no fire damage.

Due to being at the National Night Out event, “no ambulances were in the bay when the ice machine burned up!” Brunner added.

Fire Chief Chris Thompson said most of the damage to the facility was caused by smoke.

“We at La Vernia Volunteer EMS are very grateful to the caller who notified dispatch, our dispatchers, and the District 1 fire command and firefighters for protecting a vital asset to the EMS of our community,” Brunner said.

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