A volunteer fire department is something pretty special. No where will one find a group of people more dedicated and responsive to their neighbors and fellow citizens. They training they go through is tough and hard. Fighting fires is hard and dirty work. Sometimes they get hurt and occasionally we lose one. They do this because they love their town and community. It seems like some folks found them more bother than they are worth.
The group’s president announced at Monday’s council meeting that the 50-year-old organization would disband at the end of the month. That does not mean the city will be without fire service.
La Marque had a hybrid fire department, staffed mostly by paid fire fighters and supplemented by about 10 volunteers. The volunteer group, however, was the conduit for about $60,000 in fire department assistance from residents through a $1 a month donation on the city’s water bill.
“We feel our services are no longer needed or wanted by the city of La Marque,” volunteer fire department President Brad Watkins said during the meeting. He did not elaborate about why the group thought it was not wanted.
I’m don’t know what issues were, but it is clear that the La Marque will be losing something that it will never regain. People like Bob Doolittle who have dedicated a large portion of his life to firefighting and his fellow firefighters. Bob tells the Channel 13 folks how it is in an interview:
La Marque is a coastal community that still retains its small town feel, even in its fire department. The city has a full-time contingent of firefighters, but its complemented by a small group of volunteers, including Bob Doolittle.
“It gets in your blood, the smoke gets in your blood,” said Doolittle. “And I’ll have been there 50 years this past March. I joined in 1960 up until now, and we’re going to go on until September 1 and then we’ll walk away from it because we can’t seem to get on with the city.”
The volunteers announced the end to a 60-year relationship earlier this week. Some blame the city manager, who we attempted to contact, but our calls have not been returned.