BARTLETT, Texas - A volunteer fire department in Central Texas is hoping to save lives and homes in one of the small towns they serve.
The Bartlett Fire Department said every time there is a medical or fire emergency in Davilla, it takes them 20 minutes to get a truck on scene and firefighters said it's time for that to change.
The Bartlett VFD said they will build a substation to help people in Davilla.
Melody Croes raises hundreds of goats on her 50-acre property in Davilla. Last Wednesday, a fire started in her kitchen and quickly spread throughout her house.
"So I basically had time to grab my purse and the phone and come out and call 9-1-1. And in the time it took the fire department to get here, almost the entire house was already in flames," said Croes.
Croes watched helplessly as everything in her house burned, including one of her pets.
"If they had been here sooner, it's possible she would've survived," Croes said.
"Serena was her name. She was a yellow lab, about five years old, absolutely spoiled rotten," Croes added.
Croes said it took 20 minutes for a fire truck to arrive.
"It seems like forever when you're standing there watching things burn," said Croes.
Croes doesn't want anyone else in Davilla to suffer the same fate.
"If there'd been a station it probably, what one of the firemen told me, it would've taken ten minutes," said Croes.
When Croes' friends started raising money to help replace her things, she donated it to the Bartlett Fire Department instead to help build a small fire station in Davilla.
"I've seen things burning and I know it takes forever, so maybe if we can get this thing going for Davilla, it could help a whole lot of people," said Croes.
"Knowing she supports us like that, it really hits me in the heart," said Bartlett Fire Chief Steven Wentrcek.
The Bartlett VFD has been working on plans for a new station in Davilla for 10 years.
"The fire that we had recently just reinforces our resolve to get this done and we're going to get it done," said Wentrcek.
Wentrcek said this is the year those plans become a reality.
"Maybe it'll help everybody else around here. It's too late for me this time and hopefully there's never going to be a next time," said Croes.
The Bartlett VFD said they will match any donations for the Davilla fire station. They need $60,000 to build the building and then they will start working on funds for equipment and utilities.
You can donate to Croes' cause to help build the substation here: http://www.gofundme.com/nco9t4