BASTROP COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — With wildfires an ever-present threat in Bastrop County, the people living in the area now have more fire protection with the creation of a new fire station along State Highway 95, in between the cities of Bastrop and Elgin.
“From the 2011 Bastrop Complex Fire, very few good things came, but this is one of them,” said Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape at a dedication ceremony for Bastrop County ESD No. 2’s Fire Station No. 4.
After the 2011 wildfire that scorched 34,000 acres, destroyed nearly 1,700 homes and killed two people, the county received state and federal help to build a new fire station. The original Station No. 4 was unmanned and located in a residential neighborhood.
With the help of a grant from Texas’ General Land Office, the county had enough money to acquire the land and build the $4.2 million station. “That money will now be an investment for centuries in the protection of Bastrop County and its citizens in this area,” said Pape.
Since the fire station is located right across from Camp Swift, Pape said firefighters there are perfectly positioned to respond to emergencies throughout the county. The other fire station in ESD No. 2 is approximately 7 miles away on Farm to Market 1441, near Circle D-KC Estates. There will be five paid firefighters at this location manning five trucks, three of which are brush trucks.
For all the attendees at the ceremony, the shiny and new fire station reminded everyone of Mike Fisher, the well-known director of emergency management who was a beacon during the Bastrop Complex and Hidden Pines fires. Fisher passed away in July.
“It was his vision — his dream — to have a fire station at this location,” said Pape. “Mike had been a firefighter with the city for years before he came on with the county as our director of emergency management. He knows the value of a fire station and he knew that we needed a new facility in this part of the country to protect everybody.”
In August, a wildfire that started along State Highway 71 burned 25 acres and forced numerous homes in the Royal Pines subdivision to be evacuated.