City Firefighters Respond to Call for Assistance with Leesville Area Wildfires

The Winnfield City Council received a report during its Sept. 12 session that a four-man team from the Winnfield Fire Department responded recently to a call for assistance with wildfires in southeast Louisiana.

Assistant chief Cassidy Martin reported that the local team served from Aug. 25 through Sept. 2, mostly in the Vernon and Rapides parishes area.  Through the entire region, fires burned over some 60,000 acres, destroying 20 homes and one fatality was reported.  There were no injuries among the local fighters.

The team initially responded with both men and equipment but the council heard that a mechanical issue developed with the engine and the team’s mission was shifted to assisting the other departments in action.  “We were going nonstop between stations and fires.”  The council heard that since troubles with the engine occurred in response to this natural disaster, federal funding should be available.

Cassidy thanked Mayor Gerald Hamms for supporting the mission and stressed that because of the remaining firefighters and trained volunteers, the city’s fire protection was fully covered even with the response team assisting elsewhere.  “I hope it never happens but I’d like to believe that we’d receive the same response if that situation occurred here.”

The four on the local response team were Martin who acted was team leader and operators Matthew Harrell, Ryan Gagnard and Benjamin Murphy.

In other fire department business, the council approved the hiring of Ian McLaren as a volunteer firefighter.  Martin explained that McLaren who has served with the rural Fire District #3 has met with the Public Safety Committee.  “He will be a help to us.”