City of Huntington VFD, Huntington VFD at odds over ownership of fire truck

City of Huntington VFD, Huntington VFD at odds over ownership of fire truck

HUNTINGTON, TX (KTRE) - Judge Bob Inselmann granted temporary ownership of a 3,000-gallon tank pumping truck to the City of Huntington Volunteer Fire Department.

The truck is currently being housed in the Huntington VFD, a different organization, less than a mile away.

In court, both sides argued they were the rightful owners. Evidence presented showed the title belonging to the city department. The city also paid insurance. Huntington VFD admitted to that but said they pay for the maintenance, and they need the truck.

"My thoughts are the city has gone long period of time and the judge saw we had a title," said attorney Jimmy Cassels.

Both departments used the truck and worked together until Huntington VFD lost funding from the city and the county association in 2013.

"They covered the insurance," Frances LaSalle said. "We covered the maintenance and housed the truck."  

LaSalle said there was one week were the truck was not at the station, but other than that it was always there. According to statements in court, the city felt Huntington VFD was hiding the truck from them and would never leave it very long in one place.

"They thought we would go to a fire with them and steal the truck while on scene," said City of Huntington VFD President Bobby Epperly. "I went with a council member and the mayor and talked to them. We told them we would let the legal process work out before we took any equipment.

Huntington VFD Secretary Kimberly Clark said she is saddened by the decision and is worried about the service.

"Without the truck, we cannot provide the proper service," Clark said. "We will still be able to respond, but it will hurt us."

The trial for rightful ownership is set for July 24. The Huntington VFD has until 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 30 to return the truck.

Copyright 2015