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Spicewood Fire Rescue open house June 11

Spicewood Fire Rescue Chief Sam Stacks

Spicewood Fire Rescue Chief Sam Stacks, firefighters, and the Burnet County Emergency Services District No. 9 board are inviting the public to the department's open house from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, June 11, at 9805 Texas 71 in Spicewood. File photo

Spicewood Fire Rescue is throwing open its doors to the public from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, June 11, at the station, 9805 Texas 71 in Spicewood.

Chief Sam Stacks said people can meet firefighters and first responders and get a firsthand look at the department’s gear and apparatus. 

The unit began as the Spicewood Volunteer Fire Department in 1976. Those early volunteers had to park the department’s two vehicles under a tree until one of the first VFD members, Dewey Hollingsworth, provided a building.

The department relied entirely on fundraisers and donations for support. The Spicewood VFD Auxiliary formed in 1978 to help with that and other needs.

The department purchased its first tanker used from Benton Harbor, Michigan, in the summer of 1985. Several members went to Michigan to pick up the tanker and drove it back to Texas in the heat. 

Somewhere along the line, Spicewood VFD funded and built its current facility on Texas 71. Eventually, EMS was added to the name and it became Spicewood VFD-EMS. 

Over the years, as the Spicewood community grew and traffic on Texas 71 increased, officials realized the need for more reliable funding, even as the community showed support through year-round fundraisers, including the popular demolition derby.

In 2014, residents voted to form Burnet County Emergency Services District No. 9, which could levy a property tax to support emergency services. In 2016, residents in ESD No. 9 approved a sales tax.

That same year, ESD No. 9 completed an EMS station on Spur 191 with Marble Falls Area EMS providing an ambulance and crew to offer faster response to the Spicewood area.

In June 2020, Spicewood Fire Rescue was formed from the volunteer department. In April 2021, the ESD brought on board the first paid first responders. Although the unit now has paid staff, it still needs and relies on volunteers. People interested in volunteering or supporting the department can learn more during the open house.

Burnet County ESD No. 9, which contracts Spicewood Fire Rescue for fire protection and rescue services, encompasses approximately 50 square-miles of southern Burnet County. The area is home to about 12,000 residents, but those numbers are increasing as more people move west of Austin. The district also includes a heavily trafficked portion of Texas 71.

daniel@thepicayune.com