BEEVILLE, Texas — If 2023 is anything like last year, the Beeville Volunteer Fire Department expects to be busy responding to calls for help.
"Last year was very bad during the fire season. It was dry, very dry. We've had three or five calls every day on grass fires and all that. We were going to other towns or towns coming to help us. It's starting off this year again," Bill Burres, the Fire Chief of the Beeville Volunteer Fire Department said
The department's chief said his team responded to about 637 calls for service last year, which include mutual aid.
o continue helping the community and other nearby counties, Burres said he is trying to recruit more volunteers.
The department can have 70 members. Currently, there are less than 50. According to the chief, a handful of people retired or resigned last year.
"You go to a house fire or something especially in July and August it's 90 degrees you know 100. Wearing that air-pack bunker gear, you can't last that long. We need people to back them up, to let them rest, and help people fight the fires, he explained. "But it's not always about firefighting. There are a lot of things you can do in this department to help."
Firefighting isn't an easy job, especially when you're doing the work for free.
Take it from the department's Lt.Gregory Garcia. He has a full-time job with Bee County's Road and Bridge Department.
On top of that, he's been a volunteer for the fire department for about six years.
"It's exhausting, especially when we're busy. When the calls are up going, sometimes I have to leave work just to come help,"Garcia said.
However, even if it could be challenging balancing a full-time job, volunteering, and life he said it's worth it because of the fulfilling work he does during times of need.
"I like to help others and give back to the community. I love Beeville. Beville's a great place and I wouldn't trade it in for anything else in the world,"he added,
"It helps the city out too, being a volunteer. If the city had to go to a paid department, taxes will go up and all that. A lot of surrounding towns are like that, helping the city out and keeping the city at a minimum." said the fire chief. "So far we're doing a great job for the city. "
If you're interested in learning more about the volunteer fire department or if you want to apply you can call (361) 362-7609.