Volunteer firefighters ask Texomans to be cautious while using safety chains

Local News

This extremely hot weather and lack of rain are elements that can quickly lead to a very dangerous situation. Yet, there are another element firefighters really hope people will help avoid: a spark, many of which they say are preventable.

“It’s bad.” Lake Kickapoo Fire Chief James Mellard is referring to the amount of grass-fires he and his crew have responded to this year. Mellard says he’s been out the last four days fighting fires for more than eight hours at a time.

“It eats on you and it wears on you,” Mellard stated.

What also wears on Mellard is the number of fires in the area he says are started by dragging chains.

“Those chains are sometimes too long. And that loop, sometimes, either the weight of the trailer pushes down on the back of the vehicle or for whatever reason, those chains will get close enough to the ground,” Mellard explained. “Anytime they drag, they spark. And with the kind of conditions we have out here right now, a spark will ignite a fire.”

Mellard said to reduce the potential risk for sparks, people should shorten up the chains by tying them up with bungee cords or just twist the chains.

But Chief Mellard isn’t the only one concerned with chains starting grass fires, so is one of the salespeople at Big Tex Trailers. It’s not just because he makes a living there; but rather, if a grassfire starts, he’ll probably be out fighting it.

That’s because Chad Dorbusch is not only a salesman, he’s also a firefighter for Wichita West Volunteer Fire Department.

“It’s a huge problem. I mean, just a little bit of carelessness could start a thousand acre grassfire.”

That’s why Dornbusch said he takes it upon himself to explain to customers how to properly use safety chains to whatever is being towed.

“It’ll save a lot of hard work for sure and people’s property.”

And protecting that property comes at a cost, as Chief Mellard pointed out volunteer departments like Wichita West and Lake Kickapoo rely heavily on donations.

“It varies year to year. So, it’s hard to depend on what you’re getting in from that.”

Besides taking precautions, Mellard adds there’s another way to help area fire departments.

“And when I say volunteer, if you don’t feel like you can fight fires, come to one of our functions,” said Mellard.

For more information on current burn bans in Texoma, click here.

And for tips on preventing grass-fires, click here.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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