Many times in emergencies we rely on volunteer fire departments to respond.
But the Leona Volunteer Fire Department in Leon County is out of commission after three of its fire trucks were heavily damaged when a school bus crashed into them last Sunday.
Now firefighters in Leon and Madison Counties are pulling their resources together to keep residents covered until the trucks can be repaired.
Fire trucks won't be rolling out of the doors at the Leona Volunteer Fire Department for a while.
Sunday morning 33 Odessa high school students, their teachers and chaperones were on their way back from a field trip at Huntsville State Park when they crashed into three Leona fire trucks responding to a pickup truck and grass fire on I 45 North of Madisonville.
"God was surely looking out for them," said Cyndi Summerville of Leona.
Summerville has lived here since 2001 and can see the fire station from her front door.
With the fire vehicles out of commission, help will have to come from Centerville or elsewhere until Leona can get them repaired.
"I just found out because I work so much. I guess I'm really personally glad that no one really got hurt seriously... I hate to hear that you know this accident came about," she added.
DPS Troopers believe a Leona fire truck caused the crash when they pulled out in front of the bus on the interstate to respond to a grass fire.
Leona Fire Chief Charles Nash declined to go on camera but tells us they are still waiting for their insurance adjuster to inspect the damage.
While Chief Nash wouldn't let News 3 inside to look at the trucks pending the investigation, he did give us a copy of the day's paper detailing more pictures of the damage.
In the meantime other departments are filling the gaps.
Madisonville Fire Chief Thom Jones tells us response times could lag by five minutes but they say it will work even as summer wildfire season approaches.
"We're hoping it's gonna work out fairly well. It's a much wetter year this year than it was last year. The citizens are more concerned about watching their fires. Our numbers are way down than a normal year," said Chief Jones.
"Hopefully they'll be able to get the trucks fixed and up and running pretty soon," said Cyndi Summerville.
When Leona will be up and running with fire service again is anyone's guess for now.
13 Odessa High School students and a firefighter were treated and released from area hospitals Sunday.
DPS doesn't expect to issue any citations at this time.
The Leona Volunteer Fire Department is also working on getting a loaner truck from the Texas Forest Service.
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