LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Last month the Lufkin Fire Department decided to brown-out - or temporarily close - Fire Station #3 on Atkinson Drive. Now, residents across Angelina County are concerned about the closure.
The Lufkin Fire Department provides E.M.S. services for the entire county.
"If you live in the county, and dial 9-1-1... your volunteer fire department has first responders... and an ambulance will be dispatched from one of the five stations currently in Lufkin," said Zavalla Fire Chief and E.M.S. Coordinator, Richard Brunk.
Some are worried the closing of station three could be the difference between life or death.
"The response time to the ambulance getting out to the victims of car wrecks, people having heart attacks, strokes or whatever," said Commissioner Robert Loggins, Angelina Co. Precinct 3.
Angelina County pays the city of Lufkin a fee for E.M.S. services on a yearly basis.
"The cities, the incorporated areas, they had to pay their part of it. I believe the county still pays $275,000," said Comm. Loggins.
"The people of Angelina County, out of our tax dollars, we pay for this ambulance service," said Chief Brunk.
The issue caught the attention of Commissioner Loggins when residents started calling.
"I've had a couple of phone calls people concerned about closing the fire station down," said Comm. Loggins.
Lufkin's Fire Chief Danny Kistner has a response to questions about E.M.S. resources after the closure.
"Essentially we are bumping back to four first-run ambulances. However, we will have two first-run ambulances in service: one at station one and one at station six... If we have to - if call volume gets as such - we'll shut an engine down and put an ambulance in service," said Fire Chief Danny Kistner, Lufkin Fire Dept.
Yet, worries that the closure could affect response times may be valid.
"Well, that's always going to be a concern when you close down a fire station. And there maybe an increase in response times to particular areas, simply because that fire station isn't going to be there anymore," said Chief Kistner.