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TCEQ aids federal and local authorities

Monday, Oct. 8, 2018 - Disaster averted

On Sept. 25, a fire broke out in a pile of approximately 96,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, a potentially explosive situation. Local resources were quickly overwhelmed. The Wood County fire marshal requested assistance and got it. Local, state and federal partners—including the TCEQ and EPA—rallied to support the fire department. A plan was developed and carried out successfully.

While this kind of incident is something responders train for, it would have been a lot more difficult without the fire department’s mobile command center. A grant awarded to the county in 2017 by the Texas Local Emergency Planning Committee Grant Program, administered by the TCEQ, allowed them to buy a dedicated truck to haul their mobile command post, as well as some much needed communication equipment. Wood County Emergency Management Coordinator Tully Davidson writes in a letter to the TCEQ, “Not having this equipment would have put us at a severe disadvantage during this situation. We just wanted to reach out and say ‘thanks’ for making a difference, not only in our incident, but for what you do for our state every day!”

The grant round for 2019 grants has closed, but a new round will open in 2020.