A small Texas town is safer now that it has a new fire station.
The building in Davilla was paid for almost entirely by donations and a lot of that money came from a local woman who lost her house to a fire almost one-year ago.
Melody Croes and her 250 goats are getting ready to move into her new home.
“I've got about a month before I can move in,” said Croes.
A fire on February 25 ate through the walls and everything inside. Melody watched helplessly, waiting for the Bartlett Volunteer Fire Department to show up. It took about 15 minutes for them to get to Davilla.
“Unfortunately, it took losing her house to actually get enough people to say, ‘Hey, maybe we do need a station out there,’” James Grant, secretary of the Bartlett Volunteer Fire Department said.
After that donations started pouring in from all over the community and everything given to Melody to rebuild her home, she passed on to the fire department to create a new station.
“Because I had enough money from the insurance that paid off the house and the contents that I didn't need it. And I felt that the community needed it a whole lot more than I did,” Croes said.
The fire station was built on leased property. There is already a brush truck and a fire truck kept there and now neighbors have one less thing to worry about and one more reason to smile.
“12-15 minute response time before we had the building, now we're down to about five or less,” said Grant,
On August 29, the Bartlett Volunteer Fire Station in Davilla became fully operational and Melody was first in line to see it, but she didn't know it was dedicated to her.
“It was emotional. It was also a surprise, but it feels pretty good too,” Croes said.
Firefighters said dozens of neighbors chipped in with time or money after Croes lost her home.
The new station is on FM 487 in Davilla and of the 33 volunteer firefighters on the Bartlett Department; about half of them operate out of Davilla.
In the near future they would like to add a helipad and some EMTs so they can respond to medical emergencies more quickly also.