Fire trucks donated to 356 Fire Department line the front lawn at the station.
Amidst Tragedy, the 356 Fire Department Serves, TRINITY COUNTY, August 1, 2011 - One look at the 356 Volunteer Fire Station in Trinity County and you'll still see the burned out frame of a building that once served not only Trinity County but Onalaska and anywhere else their services were needed. But look closely and you'll also find a volunteer fire service that's very much alive and still serving. Just as a building does not a church make, neither does a building or a truck make a fire department. While trucks and equipment and buildings to house them are a very important part of their services, a fire department is made of people and manpower. Just a little over two weeks have passed since the 356 Fire Department burned in the night totaling the interior of their building, and the equipment it housed. Nevertheless, as we drove up to revisit the scene, the house was bustling with activity and a large fleet of fire trucks was parked out front. Mostly loaners from other East Texas Fire Departments, there was even a donation from South Carolina of a pumper truck fully loaded and stuffed to capacity and beyond with equipment including fire suits for the 356 fire fighters. 356 Fire Chief Jessie Baker was in a good mood. "This truck was donated to us from South Carolina" he said. He continued, "The truck is chock full of equipment including fire suits, fixtures and fittings, there's a brotherhood of firefighters a that brotherhood is alive and well". Volunteers were in the building which is still standing and has a foundation. Much of the debris has been removed, but it's clear to see that the 356 Fire Department still has a long tough road to hoe. "Monetary donations have been coming in and we've been given the use of a portable building to put much equipment" Baker told PolkCountyToday.com. According to sources, the fire is believed to have started from a faulty Ford truck that ignited itself in the night. Building or no building, the 356 Fire Department is thriving and serving. There's a long way to go, but with the spirited determination of its volunteers and community support and support from abroad, this little fire station will continue to put out fires, serve as emergency rescuers, and do just about anything it can to protect people. "We just want to help any way that we can" Baker said.
Chief Jesse Baker talks about the generosity of the community.
Volunteer fireman and helpers continue to work to rebuild the 356 fire station.
Chief Baker stands beside a pumper truck chock full of gear (donated from South Carolina).
Faulty electrical wiring from this Ford truck is believed to have been the source that started the fire.
Economy Portable Buildings out of Livingston loaned this large portable building to 356 fire station to house equipment.
Fire suits and other equipment are kept inside this portable building.
Original Story Below.
The 356 Fire Department sits burned out on July 17, 2011. The Department also helps Polk County.
Trinity County Fire Station Burns, TRINITY COUNTY, July 17, 2011 - Shortly after midnight on July 17, 2011, a passer by reported a fire coming from the 356 Fire Station in Trinity County. The witness called the Trinity County Sheriff's Office. Manpower was dispatched to the scene but the building and the equipment inside (including four fire trucks) were destroyed. Fire fighter Mark Mann took us on a tour of the burned out facility. "That's our kitchen", Mann said. "There's the chief's office" as he pointed to one burned out area after another. "Here's our trucks", he said. "We lost 1 tanker, 2 brush trucks and a rescue truck", "I haven't slept yet". Mann was fatigued, tired, and just down. In spite of his department's misfortune, Mann was generous enough to show us around. In addition to their trucks, they lost all their breathing apparatuses (oxygen tanks that fire fighters need to breath in smoke filled environments). Fire Chief Jesse Baker was happy to receive donation check from a local who drove up. Baker has been the 356 Fire Chief for 10 years. As a small rural fire department, funds and resources are tight and the building and its contents weren't insured. The fire is not believed to have been caused by arson and is believed to be accidental. An investigation is underway by the Trinity County Fire Marshal. The 356 Fire Department serves Onalaska and Trinity County.
The 356 Logo is still visible on the door. This pumper truck and 2 brush trucks and a rescue truck were destroyed.
This once nice dining area for firemen has been made a heap of burnt debris.
This brush truck on one side of the building may have been where the fire originated.
This was the 356 rescue truck.
356 Fire Chief Jesse Baker (right) accepts a donation check from local resident Gordon Pfister.
Chief Baker's wife, Gina, holds thirty something dollars that was pulled from the burned out station.
Fire Fighter Mark Mann lamets the destruction of his fire station (note roof nearly completely caved in).
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