With the ongoing dissolution of Liberty City Fire & Rescue, the start-up department’s assets and debts are being divvied up.
The operation’s primary fire engine has reportedly been sold to one of its board members, and he currently employs the organization’s former fire chief. A second fire engine was delivered on Monday to one of the folding agency’s primary contributors — apparently unusable, the truck is worth a fraction of the local philanthropist’s funding for the department.
Meanwhile, much of LCFR’s equipment, records and other inventory is locked-down in the former fire station at 627 West Point Rd. The property owner is demanding $8,000 in unpaid rent before he’ll relinquish the stock.
At least one of the department’s board members says the closing of the operation comes as a surprise. Another is working with the former chief — who reportedly resigned in mid-March — to dispose of the group’s assets amid conflict information about the closing of the department.
The doors are locked, chained from the inside, at Liberty City Fire & Rescue’s station near Liberty City. The power and phone service have been cut off, and the group’s Facebook page has been deactivated.
Officially established in November 2012, the department’s organizers aimed to create a 24/7 operation of paid firefighters funded through grants and claims on local homeowners’ insurance following fires. Liberty City’s second firefighting operation (Sabine Volunteer Fire Department provides emergency services for the area) drew seed money from multiple contributors.
Leasing a shell building on West Point Road, LCFR personnel renovated the facility and steadily purchased and acquired inventory for the operation including bunker gear, extraction equipment and at least four vehicles including two fire engines, an ambulance and a 2.5 ton truck contributed by the Texas Forest Service.
After spearheading the start-up for about a year-and a-half, C.W. Crutcher says he resigned from his post as fire chief in March.
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