SAN ANGELO, TX — Literal lines dividing the City of San Angelo from surrounding communities all within Tom Green County.
"We only respond to addresses within the city limits of San Angelo," said Fire Chief Brian Dunn.
When it comes to responding to structure fires, his fire department can only respond to certain addresses.
"If you come up with an address say in Grape Creek or Wall or one of those areas then you'll get the response that is slated in there that comes up for your address,” said Dunn. “Everything is pre-put in for dispatch so when that address comes up the computer system tells them what trucks to send."
But it's not that the San Angelo fire fighters don’t want to respond to all the fires around town.
"Property taxes is what pays for public safety and it pays for the infrastructure," said Dunn.
"Where those lines are drawn is anywhere there's a city limits so the city limit sign," said Jose Rivera, the deputy fire chief for the Grape Creep Volunteer Fire Department.
He says those living within city limits reap the benefits of the cities’ fire department, but they also carry the burden of higher taxes.
"So, there’s 10 volunteer fire departments in our county and if you live outside the city limits your house is being protected by volunteer fire departments."
Where it gets tricky, is when there's a fire closer in proximity to a San Angelo fire station but not within its jurisdiction.
"Highland Range, Buffalo Heights, and the area behind the coliseum," said Rivera.
"Those areas are approximately 12 to 15 miles from our fire station,” he said. “Essentially, the city of San Angelo stations are closer to those neighborhoods but because those citizens live outside of city limits they do not receive city fire services."
"In a matter of 5 minutes a small fire in a room can engulf your whole home in a matter of 5 minutes essentially minutes and seconds count," said Rivera.
He adds that while firm lines divide San Angelo right now, he hopes the services provided are of the same quality.
"That's why we're always asking for volunteers and asking for support, so we can provide those services to the citizens who choose to live outside the city limits," said Rivera.