A Little History
In 1977, a neighbor's house burned to the ground before KFD could get here…all we could do is take care of the grass around it so it wouldn't spread. David decided we needed a fire department so he called the neighbors together and the Turtle Creek Fire Dept. was born. He had no money, equipment, or know-how, but he called the Forestry Service and got a small brush truck that was kept under a tarp at Frank Jones' house. We had meetings and training at the schoolhouse and David haunted the County Commissioners meetings trying to get help. We gradually got bunker gear, helmets, and boots, but no firehouse. David found out the property on the creek belonged to John Sandidge, and approached him about donating it. He said if we had a firehouse built in three years, we could have it…then the work started.
The land was even with the creek so he talked the county into dumping dirt (a lot of dirt) so he could build it up. All the firefighters learned to lay rock as a large wall was put up. We had fairs and Bar-B-Q's to raise money for the building. The women's auxiliary put out a cookbook that paid for the doors. Before it was completely finished, David bought a bingo and popcorn machine…we had bingo twice a month with the ladies selling baked goods, popcorn and drinks…more money for the building.
In 1980 the building was completed and Mr. Sandidge turned over the deed. A neighbor gave him an old 1939 Buick which he traded for an old ambulance. The county helped equip it and two firefighters attended school and became certified EMT's.
Then he started fussing for air packs which the county was reluctant to finance…but finally gave in. Twice a month, there were training sessions from learning how to deliver babies to high water rescue. He then decided the firehouse should be manned 24 hours a day for a quicker response. Retired folks and women manned during the day, working people stayed the night. With bathrooms, kitchen, and rec room with TV, pulling night duty was no problem.
He was the first to have an all-woman crew…a driver, Lt. and two firefighters…they received the same training as men, including attending A&M Fire School.
Just before he retired, there was a terrible accident on Lower Turtle Creek Rd., in which three teenagers were joyriding, missed a curve and ended up partially in a creek. We were the first ones there. The driver was dead but we had to get the other two our as we could smell gas. Couldn't get the doors open but David knocked out the windshield with a crowbar and one of our skinny firefighters was able to get in there to assist getting them out. David decided then and there we needed a Jaws of Life but retired before that was accomplished. I know the Commissioners Court breathed a sigh of relief when he retired. - Vivian Davis