Limpia Crossing residents take steps towards fire station establishment

Limpia Crossing homeowners are advocating for the creation of a new fire station for their remote subdivision, which lies within the Davis Mountains and is half an hour away from emergency responders. Staff photo by Allegra Hobbs.

JEFF DAVIS COUNTY — Residents of Limpia Crossing, a subdivision in the Davis Mountains with around 110 homes located near McDonald Observatory, made strides towards the establishment of their own fire station this week when their efforts won the approval of Jeff Davis County commissioners.

A handful of residents addressed commissioners at a meeting Tuesday, and many more sat in the courthouse meeting room to show their support for the fire safety measure. While commissioners gave the proposal the green light to move forward, whether the site will act as a substation for the Fort Davis Volunteer Fire Department or operate as its own entity remains to be seen. 

The county’s existing emergency services, which include the Davis Mountains Resort, Cherry Creek and Valentine volunteer fire departments, are, in part, supported by an emergency services district (ESD) which is funded by a percentage of sales tax. 

Lonnie Hebert, a member of the Fort Davis Volunteer Fire Department and Limpia Crossing resident helping spearhead the new station, said response times to the subdivision in the event of a fire were inadequate. The Solar Park Fire, which occurred in the area this spring, did not destroy any structures nor breach the subdivision but was a little too close for comfort, said Hebert. 

“My main concern is structure support,” said Hebert. “Grass fires you can pretty much deal with and hold them at bay, but a structure fire if [it takes] 30, 45 minutes to get a truck there, you don’t have a house.” 

Limpia Crossing resident Kay Nehring saw the Solar Park Fire blaze from her front porch and agreed current response times to the remote locale were lacking. 

“We’re a long ways away from fire help,” said Nehring. “We’re a community, so we need to act like a community. We need to take care of our own.” 

The area has grown significantly over the years, said residents, and the absence of a nearby fire station contributes to high homeowner insurance rates. Hebert has had the idea to create a separate Limpia Crossing fire station for years and recently brought the idea to the local Homeowner’s Association to get the ball rolling. 

Land large enough for a three-bay building has been donated by a neighborhood resident, said Hebert, and property owners have volunteered to host water tanks on their properties. While it will be an expensive undertaking, its advocates say a bonafide fire station is sorely needed in the area and could be paid for with grants and contributions from the ESD. 

“It should have a brush truck or two brush trucks that carry 500 gallons of water,” said Hebert. “It needs to be a functioning fire station. Not just a pickup truck with a 100 gallon tank in the back of it.” 

Nehring, for her part, is working with others to establish a board to oversee the initiative and plans to spread the word regarding the need for volunteers and more within the subdivision. She said the remoteness Limpia Crossing residents enjoy can also pose a danger, and she hopes the community can band together to make the fire station a reality. 

“If you’ve got a building, then you start having a community,” said Nehring. 

Per recommendations from the county commissioners, including current Fire Chief Roy Hurley, Limpia Crossing residents will now make a presentation to the ESD board and meet with the Fort Davis Volunteer Fire Department to assess options. 

Judge Curtis Evans threw his support behind the Limpia Crossing fire station project, stating that the response time from town was “considerable” and the potential structure, in addition to on the ground assistance, would also help area homeowners with insurance rates. 

“I am in support of another fire station,” said Evans. “This would also help with their ISO [fire] ratings for insurance, that helps that community lower the insurance cost to their homes. That is one important thing we can help out [on] other than the actual fire.”