Beaver Creek Volunteer Fire Department looks to move forward after two months without water access
The BCVFD says it’s concerned friction with landowners association board could hinder solving future problems
BEAVER CREEK, Texas (KBTX) - Members of the Beaver Creek Volunteer Fire Department say they’ve had no access to water for about two months until its well was repaired this past Saturday.
That well is owned by the Beaver Creek Landowners Association Board, and the fire department says it should’ve been fixed sooner. The friction between the two groups has caused the BCVFD to become concerned future issues like this won’t be addressed properly.
The BCVFD says they lost water access on April 6 when a pipe burst. It not only made filling up their tanks after responding to fire calls more difficult, but it also meant there was no running water to their station.
“We tried to get access to the well to repair it and was denied,” BCVFD Chief Joseph Walden said. “After receiving emails and letters stating that the water was down and will be down for an undetermined amount of time, and even receiving letters from their attorney stating that it was a mere inconvenience of us not having water, we placed a porta john here so that we’d have bathroom facilities.”
“This totally blindsided us as far as water being not a necessity, especially when it comes to fires,” BCVFD Vice President Curtis Desaulos said. “First thing you think about for putting out a fire is water.”
Walden says the department serves about 1,500 residents and answers roughly 50 fire calls a year. To get water over the two-month period the BCVFD was without it, he says they either had to use the dirtier lake water, which can damage the department’s pumps, or buy water from the City of Snook.
“During the conflict between us and the BCLO board members, the City of Snook now charges us if we go get water from them,” Walden said. “We chose really not to use them unless we had to.”
Walden says that not only does the principle of buying water for the purpose of fighting fires bothers him, but it’s also a strain on a department that’s funded solely by fundraisers and donations. What’s more is that Walden says not having access to water made it difficult to hold fundraisers like their spaghetti dinners in the first place.
“When we get a fire, we do get a small stipend from the county, but it just begins to cover fuel,” Desaulos said. “If we’re there any amount of time, and we use things like foam, a hose breaks, or whatever happens, we have to come up with that money because we’re totally self-funded.”
Beaver Creek resident Jessica Howard says she could’ve lost her home had the department been unable to respond when an electrical fire filled it up with smoke. She says she was sitting on her bed with her kids when her son smelled the smoke. Howard said she had no idea where the fire was because she couldn’t see any flames.
“I called and within a matter of about 10 minutes, the whole fire department was here,” Howard said. “If they don’t have water, we have to wait for the Snook Fire Department if they’re available or Caldwell to come. That’s 15-20 minutes just for them to get here and commute.”
Howard says having the BCVFD nearby is what’s best for the community. She owns two lots in the neighborhood, and she says she burns a lot of the land clearing that they do.
“We are a large community out here, and to not have a fire department is just unreasonable,” Howard said. “Any moment in time, that wind can catch it and carry it off. If we have to wait for another fire department to come, it very easily could destroy my property or my neighbor’s property.”
The department is concerned about facing similar difficulties solving future problems, but they want to move forward.
“Let’s put the history behind us and take a new stand,” Desaulos said. “We’re here for the same reasons. We’re neighbors. We need to get along. The basic needs of the fire department are here, and we know what they are.”
KBTX reached out to the Beaver Creek Landowners Association Board for an interview. They told us in an email any delay in the repairs to the well was due solely to the time limitations on the contractor making the repairs.
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