Los Fresnos Fire, EMS Chief Sets the Record Straight About Both Departments

Fire, EMS chief Gene Daniels, far right, gives an  explanation about the jobs they do to the city council. To his right is paramedic Edgar Bazan. Photo: Tony Vindell/LFN

Fire, EMS chief Gene Daniels, far right, gives an explanation about the jobs they do to the city council. To his right is paramedic Edgar Bazan. Photo: Tony Vindell/LFN

by Tony Vindell/LFN

Saying he wants to set the record straight, the boss with Los Fresnos Volunteer Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services said their jobs are to serve the city, its residents and its surrounding areas.

As chief for those two departments, Gene Daniels told the city commission there has been some talk around town that those who work there are either underworked or overpaid.

“I just want to set the record straight,” he said during the Tuesday, April 10 meeting of the city council. “We are not here to ask for more funding.”

Daniels gave an overview of both departments.

The 35 volunteer fire fighters make the department one of the largest in the Rio Grande Valley.

In 2017, the department logged 420 calls, of which 151 calls were made within city limits, or 36 percent of the total calls made.

The department has an annual contract with the city for $75,000 and an annual budget of a little more than $660,000.

“Our call volume keeps going up,“ Daniels said. “But we are not here to ask for more funding. We just want to show you what good value you are getting.”

On the other hand, the EMS received 1,779 calls in 2017, with 867 of those calls coming from city residents.

EMS has 22 medics and operates on an annual budget of more than $860,000 – a figure that is soon to reach the $1 million mark.

“We are not here to make money,” Daniels said, referring to EMS’s non-profit designation. “We invest back into the community.”

An example of that is the $1.8 million fire house under construction on the east side of town – a project funded by EMS.

After his presentation ended, Mayor Polo Narvaez praised the two departments and their staff for the work they do for the community.

“We know we are getting a good value for the amount of work you all do here,” he said. “It takes a special breed of people to do what you do.”

Daniel Conejo, a former Houston resident who relocated to Los Fresnos about two years ago, said the city has one of the finest EMS departments in the state.

He was at the meeting to ask the city to do something about spraying for mosquitoes in the Point Crest subdivision and also used his time to praise EMS while he addressed the council.

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