Andrews Volunteers Share State Fire Memories - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Andrews Volunteers Share State Fire Memories

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

ANDREWS - The Riley Road Fire in Montgomery County charred more than 18,000 acres this past week. It destroyed 76 structures, some of them families' homes, lost forever.

For nearly a week, the Andrews Volunteer Firefighters joined with the Northeast Midland County Volunteers as the last line of defense for those homes.

"In West Texas, we are used to seeing the fire long before we actually get there," firefighter, Sara Henley, said. "Once we actually got to the location of the fire, we realized just how very big it was."

"Your adrenaline was shooting up because there was airplanes, helicopters, fire up in the trees," firefighter, Chisum Dolgener, said. "It was just a real exhilarating experience."

"We get down there and that's coming at us," firefighter, Kenneth Casbeer, said. "All of us are on the back of the truck. It's like, 'What have we got into?'"

The Andrews volunteers said the raging flames of the Riley Road Fire were unlike anything they've seen in the past but it was when they had a chance to meet the families of the homes they were saving that made it all worthwhile.

The firefighters ended up staying at the same motel as the families of the homes they were defending.

The gratitude that they showed was all they needed.

"We found out we pushed their fire around the home," Dolgener said. "The kids were excited. The family was relieved to know they still had their house. Here, you don't get a lot of fires with houses. Down there it was burning total subdivisions out."

"Seeing the kids, they still have a home to go to," Casbeer said. "Just, pretty real. Means a lot to you to know that you actually made a difference in somebody's life. That made the trip worth going on."