New Hope VFD loses brush truck in Cement fire

Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 10:19 PM CDT
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CADDO COUNTY, Okla. (KSWO) - A Caddo County fire chief and a firefighter escaped with their lives while battling a massive fire over the weekend.

They’re hoping the community will help contribute to a new brush truck for New Hope Volunteer Fire Department.

Chief Eric Lopez and one of his firefighters were in a brush truck, fighting a large fire in Cement on Saturday, when the truck caught fire.

The two jumped out of the truck and ran for their lives as they watched the vehicle burst into flames.

“I was getting out of the truck and looked back that way, you see flames come behind the truck and we didn’t even have a chance,” Lopez said. “It took the truck out.”

Lopez said he’s just happy to be alive and thankful for the camaraderie firefighters in southwest Oklahoma share.

“A truck can be replaced,” Lopez said. “Life can’t. We’ve got many volunteers here that help each other. If it wasn’t for every volunteer, Cyril, Cement, without them. We’ve got brotherhood, you know, we have each other.”

New Hope Firefighter Rusty Tryon saw it all happen from a different perspective.

“I was in a different truck and seen two guys I’m on the same department with running over the hill,” Tryon said. “I’m like, ‘Okay, what happened?’ And we never heard a mayday call, nothing. They didn’t have time to grab a radio.”

The incident is a grim reminder of the fire back in March that claimed the life of an Edgewater Park firefighter.

“I’m glad my fellow firemen and my chief wasn’t hurt,” Tryon said. “It could have been a bad deal. We could be attending a funeral service.”

A new brush truck will run the department about $80,000 and they can’t do it alone.

Tryon said the department has responded to about 150 to 200 fires this year alone.

“Save lives, save structures,” Tryon said. “Split second counts when there’s a raging wildfire.”

The fire burned several hundred acres. According to Lopez and Tryon, a hay baler started it.

If you’d like to help the department purchase a new brush truck, you can make a donation by calling Lopez at 405-933-0361.

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