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Texas Fire Chief: No More Night Calls Near Border

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Texas Fire Chief: No More Night Calls Near Border

Texas Fire Chief: No More Night Calls Near Border

Photo courtesy the city of Alamo, Texas.

Rolando Espinoza, fire chief of Alamo, Texas.

Alamo, Texas


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The city of Alamo, Texas near the U.S.-Mexico border.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- As the bloodshed continues on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, the chief of a South Texas fire department said he will no longer respond to calls at the border.

Rolando Espinoza, fire chief of the city of Alamo – about 7 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border – said the increased threat of mayhem spilling over from Mexico puts his 30 firefighters in too much danger.

"Now, when they call us out there, because of the border violence, we're always concerned about getting shot at," Espinoza said.

He has heard of numerous encounters of Border Patrol agents getting into cross-border shoot-outs. And he once inadvertently came close to a drug deal in progress that could have turned ugly real quick.

So Chief Espinoza decided no call is worth the life of one of his men, made up of 10 full-time firefighters and 20 volunteers.

His department will not respond to night calls at the river - usually involving the recovery of "floaters" or migrants who drowned trying to enter the U.S. illegally.

Now, even daytime duties may be limited.

"During the daytime, when we go out there, because of the border violence, we ask the Border Patrol to be there with us, because they do carry weapons," the chief said.

Chief Espinoza said people living at or near the border should expect delays if they're calling his department - he will not send firefighters without armed U.S. border agents there.

It's unknown how many other fire departments in the Rio Grande Valley border region are following suit. Chief Espinoza said he does not know of any counterparts in nearby towns that respond to night calls at the Rio Grande.