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Volunteer firefighters helped during storm

January 23, 2016 • Local News

Volunteer chiefs from District 8’s volunteer fire departments received awards for the help they offered the community during Winter Storm Goliath (Submitted Photo).

In December, Winter Storm Goliath wreaked havoc on southeast New Mexico, closing many businesses and roads within Chaves County and stranding many residents in their homes, or in their cars on the side of the road.

Throughout the storm, the community came together, with many good Samaritan’s assisting those in need. Volunteers with four-wheel-drive vehicles drove around town pulling out cars that were stuck in the snow, and delivering food to people who were homebound and running out of the necessities.

One group of volunteers, the District 8 Volunteer Fire Department’s of East Grand Plains, Midway and Sierra, were out in force during the storm, never stopping until the roads were cleared and snow started melting.

According to Fire and Safety Services Director for Chaves County Angelo Gurule, there were two instances in which patient’s had heart attacks, and volunteers had to assist ambulances in pulling these individuals out by sled, because the ambulances couldn’t make it down their driveway’s.

During one call, first responders had to dig through a four foot snow drift to assist an elderly lady who had fallen on some ice and broken her leg.

When they finally reached her, they were able to asses the situation, take her vitals and splint her leg. They then had to carry her out to the ambulance who transported her to the hospital.

The East Grand Plains VFD responded to fires and helped rescue stranded motorists. They also assisted in clearing roads of snow with tractors, worked 12 hour days, and logged in about 108 volunteer hours during the storm.

Midway VFD responded to 14 medical calls, one accident with injuries, and one car fire. They were also out delivering food and water to those in need, and taking medication to those who could not get out on their own, and assisting motorists. In all, the Midway VFD responded to over 75 public assist calls.

Sierra VFD were out 24 hours a day patrolling their district looking for motorists in need of assistance. They also assisted in Emergency Medical Services responding to one cardiac arrest, and delivered medications to those who could not get out on their own.

According to Gurule, there is always a need for new volunteer fire fighters. In order to volunteer, contact the Chief of your local VFD, fill out a background check and start attending meetings.

In December, Winter Storm Goliath wreaked havoc on southeast New Mexico and west Texas, dropping 20 inches of snow within 24 hours in Roswell. The storm caused hazardous road conditions and many businesses including non-essential city services were closed.

Residents had difficulty leaving their houses and many were left without enough groceries or medication to survive.

Staff writer Bethany Freudenthal may be contacted at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or reporter03@rdrnews.com.

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