HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) – A house in Hays County was destroyed after a fire this weekend, according to the county’s Fire Marshal’s Office. It actually sits just a few hundred feet away from a fire station but no one actually works there at the moment.
A closed garage and an empty parking lot are what can be seen at South Hays Fire Department’s Station 13 on Hilliard Road in San Marcos.
Right now, there are no firefighters running the station.
It’s something that concerns Michael Lambert. He lives in the area and runs Flying Armadillo Disc Golf Club.
Lambert said he worries both as a business owner and a husband and father.
“If there was a fire that came through, you know, that would pretty much completely wipe us out,” Lambert said.
South Hays Fire Chief Robert Simonson said the station is unmanned because of a staffing issue. It is transitioning from being solely volunteer to now incorporating paid positions.
“We need to hire 18 people. We’re competing with all the other cities San Marcos, Kyle, North Hays, Austin, San Antonio,” Simonson said.
Simonson said filling positions takes time, but that getting the Hilliard station staffed is a priority because it is in a rural area.
“It does make the second highest number of runs annually,” he said.
Until that happens, Lambert is left hoping a fire doesn’t break out anytime soon.
“If they had two guys here that were able to operate a fire truck for the all the thousands and thousands of people that live out here, that could potentially save lives and property and animals,” Lambert said.
Simonson said they’ll start adding more part time staff while they try to get those full time positions filled.