Even fire departments, here in Wichita County, have suffered great losses during the fires. Punkin Center Volunteer Fire Department Chief Maxi Collins is now having to replace his powerful truck that burned during a fire just a few days ago.
Collins had this truck for 18 years. Not only was it memorable, but it had gone strong through many fires for years saving lives and homes. These are government issued G.I. trucks. The Texas Forest Service gives fire departments trucks as long as they are using them to put out fires. This particular truck had gone through fires in many counties and survived even recent fires from the Southwest end of Wichita County to the Northeast end all in one day. The truck made it until this past Friday.
A fireman brought the truck to the fire scene on Highway 367 and Old Electra Road. Collins says, "The engine died on him, could not get it started. He parked it on 367 and old Electra Road. When the fire jumped 367, it caught the truck on fire. There was not anybody in the truck. It was parked". The firemen were keeping an eye on the truck while they were extinguishing the flames, but it got to a point where there was so much smoke that they lost sight of the truck. Collins says, "All I can say is there was somebody looking over us that day. And we hope it doesn't happen again".
He says fortunately, no one was in the truck and no one was hurt. A vehicle can be replaced, but not a life. He is concerned about the fires in Possum Kingdom. Collins says, "I feel sorry for the people down in Possum Kingdom. We had a lot of destruction here, but they've got a lot more down there". Over 10 homes were lost in the same fire this truck burned in. The Punkin Center Fire Department needs a replacement fire truck as soon as possible to be ready for the next fire threat.
Collins says these G.I. trucks can survive places ordinary trucks can't. He already put in his request to the Texas Forest Service and is anticipating an answer soon. Otherwise, he will need $6,500 to replace the truck.