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Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 10:42am

Fire Leaves 18 Homeless in Montana Vista

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POSTED: Saturday, May 21, 2011 - 6:42pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 - 3:57pm

MONTANA VISTA - Update: The Red Cross says they are helping the 3 families with a place to stay. We're told they put them up in an east El Paso Hotel.

(original story)

 We have the latest on a devastating fire.  Tonight, 18 people are looking for a place to live, after flames destroyed their two trailers.

The Red Cross says it will be helping the people victimized by the fire, as flames burning high and hot left nothing but burnt rubble behind.

"It's very dry right now and the fire spread rather quickly," said Sheriff's Office spokesman Jesse Tovar.

Two trailer homes, engulfed by fire in just minutes this afternoon.  High winds fanned flames that reached tens of feet high.

"I was going to go to work and I saw there was a lot of smoke on the trailer behind us.  Before you knew it, it was on fire and I couldn't do anything," said Jesus Garcia, who lost his trailer in the fire.

18 people lived in the two mobile homes, most related to one another.  Garcia said the fire spread so fast, he could only make sure everyone was safe.

"When I looked I saw smoke coming from the bathroom.  All I had the chance to do was get the two kids that were inside out," Garcia told us.

Many neighbors were outraged, after they say it took firefighters over an hour to show up.

"They always take forever to get where they need to go.  By the time they do, they're not ready.  It's just bad," said one neighbor.

The firefighters work as volunteers for the Montana Vista Department.  We've asked them about their slower response time before and were told it's inevitable. 

Few volunteers staff the station, and those that do have full-time jobs doing something else.

"They're dropping their main life duties to respond to other people's emergencies.  People, they don't know it takes a special kind of person to do this volunteer work out here," said James Younger of the Montana Vista Fire Department.

It takes state funding to turn a volunteer department full-time, something Montana Vista residents say they deserve.

We put in calls to the Montana Vista Fire Department to ask specifically about today's response time, but no one has returned our calls.
 

Comments News Comments

the residents of montana vista should be grateful for these volunteers. don't critize until you walk in their shoes. Thank you to the men and women of the montana vista volunteer fire dept. May God bless you for what you do

you should walk in this peoples shoes!!
we all pay taxes like everyone else and for some reason they prefer you people over us in the Montana Vista area.
Instead of writing your dumb ass comments, you should be looking for things to donate for this poor family. lets hope it doesn't happen to you! what goes around goes around, one day your going to be in there shoes and lets see what you wright then...

the community should be grateful and not be critizing, they men drop what they are doing to go an help. this is above and beyond. thank you volunteers of the montana vista fire dept, may God bless you for what you do

18 people in two trailers? That right there seems like a fire hazard itself there has to be some sort of law broken there. Instead of blaming volunteers how about be gratful none of those 18 people died which is remarkable itself.

Well not all montana vista residents are as rude as the ones interviewed. I myself have a 4mth old baby and had to find my neighbor to watch him so i could go help. I traded my son to assist helping the community but comments like these in the interviews don't affect me the ones that affect me are the sincere ones like these top ones. This is what keeps me motivated to keep volunteering. Good job to all of us members of Montana Vista Fire.

our families alone, we leave hot meals to return to cold ones, we dont show up to our payed jobs, and we risk our lifes for the community...

I showed up 3 hours late for work to assist the community, and still went to work right after and work a 10 hour shift. We do this job to help our community and it seems that people dont realize what we go through. We wake up at 2, 3, 5am to respond to medical calls and fires for FREE and still fullfill our personal daily duties. Your welcome because we fought the fire and stopped it from getting to neighbors homes and vehicles. Thank you for realizing we leave

It took the homeowner over 15 minutes. Once the homeowner calls 911 there is a 5 minute delay (not our fault) from the time the dispatcher sends out the page and we, firefighters receive it. Our nice trucks, we pay out of our own pocket for them, and the firefighter who showed up on scene first, is actually a paid fire fighter for the city so he knows exactly what he is doing. Our hoses are not popped they tore on scene when we fought this fire and WE pay to replace our hose.

thats my uncles house please help him gain a house back for his family

How ungrafteful can you be, these people have no right to complain about the fire dept in Montana Vista! The Montana Vista Fire Department is a group of heroes in my eyes, they are risking their lives for ungrateful people like these. If residents believe they deserve a full-time fire dept be ready to pay more taxes. We'll probably here them complain about that too. Do the people complaining know what the word Volunteer means? To the volunteers I commend you,keep up the great job and God Bless U

I wonder how many of these fireman work downtown or on the westside. People need to give them a break. They are doing the best that they can. Why don't the people who are complaining, start volunteering? Evidently they don't have nothing to do during the day but complain.

If you want the fire department to respond quickly then move into the city where you get what you pay for.

"They always take forever to get where they need to go. By the time they do, they're not ready. It's just bad," said one neighbor. Where does this person get off on complaining? Why aren't they prepared to fight fires? These people want service but they don't want to pay for it!

WHAT ARE U EVEN TALKING ABOUT. MAYBE YOU SHOULD DO RESEARCH BEFORE WRITING THIS COMMENTS. I PERSONALLY LIVE IN MONTANA VISTA AND PAY TAXES LIKE YOU AND EVERY ONE IN THE CITY. JUST BECAUSE WE LIVE IN MONTANA VISTA DOESN'T MEAN WE ARE POOR, FOR SOME, IT JUST MEANS WE WANT MORE LAND THAN YOUR STUPID LITTLE CITY CAN OFFER US. SO I HOPE THAT MAYBE YOU WOULD BE LOOKING FOR STUFF TO DONATE, YOU NEVER KNOW, IT MAY JUST HAPPEN TO YOU OR ME ONE DAY! BYE

I challenge the residents of Montana Vista who are complaining about extended response times to volunteer with the department and train to fight fire. Then when a call comes in, they can leave their jobs, hope not to get fired and respond faster than the current members. If these residents want more, then volunteer or get involved and make a difference in their community, rather than just voice changes they demand. Fire is devastating, but most important, all occupants are safe.

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