QUITMAN, Texas (KETK) — On Thursday, KETK recognized the Quitman Volunteer Fire Department for the service they provide to their community.

“We’ve got an excellent crew right now,” said Fire Chief Scott Wheeler. “If anyone is interested, we’re always willing to take some more volunteers on. There’s always a shortage.”

Wheeler explained that the process for becoming a volunteer fireman is very simple, saying that all one has to do is come by and pick up an application, fill it out and bring it back. He said they meet twice per month on the second and fourth Wednesday.

When asked about the ratio between paid and volunteer firefighters, Wheeler said that “there’s more volunteer firefighters than there are paid in this whole entire state. I believe it’s over 75%, something like that, that’s volunteer.”

Wheeler also explained that people need to proceed with caution when it comes to burning trash or lighting fireworks due to the heat waves we’re experiencing combined with how dry it is. He even went as far as to say that it is not a good idea to be burning anything under the current conditions.

“We always worry when it comes around the Fourth of July with anything that’s projected into the air, starting pasture fires, things like that. People don’t understand that the simple buildup of leaves on a roof, with the drought conditions we’re experiencing, it can simply burn a house down in a matter of minutes. They just need to be very careful.”

Quitman Fire Chief Scott Wheeler

Of the attractions to Quitman, Wheeler explained that fishing is the most popular in the area with its close proximity to Lake Fork, as well as four other county lakes.

Peters Chevrolet Buick Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Fiat provided team members with a free snacks to show their gratitude. Peters Chevrolet is also making donations to different groups of East Texas first responders this year.