WF firefighters honored, fire station decommissioned in ceremony

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WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Officials with the Wichita Falls Fire Department were celebrating its history and the men and women who have been a part of it, at a formal ceremony closing the chapter on one fire station Friday.

Riley Schreiber and several other Wichita Falls firefighters were recognized for their selfless and heroic acts, protecting the community during the ceremony. Not originally scheduled to work one hot day in August, Schreiber was called into work overtime and on his way in, he “rolled up on a car wreck, and a got out to see if everybody’s alright,” Schreiber said.

“I didn’t know it was Ashley until I crawled into the car and found that out,” Schreiber said.

Ashley is Ashley Schroeder, involved in a head-on collision in Archer County. Schroeder is the wife of a Wichita Falls firefighter who arrived on the scene a short time later and helped Schreiber get Schroeder onto a backboard and to the hospital.

A firefighter of five years, Schreiber said the job isn’t easy, but when responding to scenes, often overwhelming to see, his training kicks in.

“[It’s] just something we’ve been trained to do, and I’ve been praying for her,” Shreiber said.

“His heroics that day, his quick action, probably saved Ashley’s life,” Wichita Falls Fire Chief Ken Prillaman said.

The ceremony not only involved honoring the present but the past as well, as the old Wichita Falls Fire Department station number three, on Old Windthorst Road, was officially decommissioned. It was last used as a fire station in September 2000.

This is the first time the fire department has held a decommissioning ceremony for an old fire station. Prillaman said Friday’s ceremony and ceremonies like it serve an important purpose in today’s day and age.

“The men and women who served out of this building, who remain vigilant to the needs of their fellow citizens should be honored. And this ceremony is a way to do so,” Prillaman said.

Tragically, Iowa Park resident Jackie Horton Parker, 78, died in that Archer County accident.

Schreiber said Ashley Schroeder is still undergoing treatment but is doing better. Now that the fire station has been decommissioned, work will soon begin to demolish it to make room for the city’s new bus maintenance facility. 

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