Citizens concerned about Galena Park Fire Department staffing

HOUSTON – Plywood is now closing a Galena Park home on Graham Drive after last week’s fire tore through the Galena Park home. When fire crews arrived, there was only one firefighter authorized to go inside and search for victims.

“He entered on his own, to my knowledge the conditions deteriorated very, very quickly. Whenever someone’s property is at stake, when someone’s life is at stake, that’s why we’re here and he’s done his job and it’s time for other people to do theirs and make sure we can go out there as a team,” former Galena Park Fire Captain Heath Meredith said.

Meredith said working conditions for firefighters have deteriorated over the past two years.

“What I can tell you is that the City of Galena Park’s fire hydrant system is a serious problem,” Meredith said.

But the fire chief said they had enough staff for a town of 11,000 and had solved many, many problems.

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“We have made many improvements over the past three years as responsible for purchasing new equipment, ensuring we have the right levels of staff. The city is working very diligently to improve the water system, the sewer system, the streets, it’s a journey, it’s a marathon,” Galena Park Fire Chief Tom Ehlers said.

Councilwoman Maricela Serna, also a mayoral candidate, said she, too, is worried about the Galena Park firefighters.

” I am very worried. People keep calling asking what are we going to do? I don’t blame the firefighters, I think they went inside on their own, with enough funding, to do their job properly,” said Maricela Serna, public works commissioner and councilor.

“The people here are family to me and I take this very seriously, the fire department here. Our goal is to provide citizens with the best fire care and protection services they can get,” said fire chief Ehlers.

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The Chief invites anyone with questions or concerns to come to a Town Council meeting and be heard.

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening.

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