Ready To Roll

The Louise Volunteer Fire Department’s fleet may be a small one, but the men and women of the department, like any others, face dangers every time these trucks roll from the station. Monday, the simple act of checking a tire led to two being hurt.

Two Louise firefighters struck by a pickup Monday night while returning to their station are recovering from their injuries as local communities pull together to help.

“I got a text message saying Steven wanted some sweet tea from Prasek’s,” Louise Volunteer Fire Chief Tommy Johnston said Tuesday, adding the simple request from an injured fireman helped lift the spirits of the entire department. Friday, he added “Everything is going real good. He’s looking better.”

Steven Henderson and Bobby Popp are the two Louise volunteers struck by a pickup Monday night on FM 647 as they attempted to check a tire on their fire truck.

Suffering possible internal injuries, Henderson was transported from the scene via Life Flight helicopter ambulance to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.

The cost of his injuries should be covered by the department’s insurance policies, Johnston said, but added they were still collecting funds for auxiliary expenses like family travel, parking fees and other items not covered.

“We were still in service at the time on the trash fire (when the accident happened),” Johnston said.

A medical relief fund has been established at First State Bank of Louise. Those wanting to make donations can visit or contact any branch and say they want to make 

a donation to the Steven Henderson Medical Fund.

Another fund to benefit Popp is in the process of being established. Popp, the other fireman struck, was released from Oak Bend Hospital Tuesday. “He was in good spirits. He’s banged up and his thoughts are with Steven,” Johnston said.

Those wanting to make donations can also do so through the Louise or El Campo Volunteer Fire Departments, or via Scott Charbula or Bill Morris at Superior Motor Parts.

The local communities have stepped up to help, the fire chief added, saying he’s grateful for the support.

“Everybody has been willing to help. It’s amazing these three towns 10 miles apart – Louise, El Campo and Ganado – when something happens, they come together to help,” Johnston said.

The two were returning to Louise about 8:56 p.m. Monday from a call, traveling north on FM 647, south of U.S. 59.

At that point, the firefighters were struck by a 2016 black Dodge 3500 dually pickup driven by LVFD firefighter John Roades who was traveling south on FM 647. Department of Public Safety investigators say Roades, who was leaving the station en route home, did not see the two men in the roadway.

Roades was not injured and no charges have been filed as the investigation continues.

A bake sale will be held today starting at 8 a.m. at Sablatura’s Grocery in Louise with proceeds going to assist the two firemen and their families. Organizers are also accepting baked goods 

The Louise VFD has a chicken fried steak dinner fundraiser starting at 11 a.m. Sunday at the fire station which had been planned long before Monday’s crash.

The $10 plates are to go or dine in. They are not sold in advance.

The department, Johnston said, is hoping it will be a sell out with 800 plates prepared.

A $10 per ticket raffle is being sold as well.

As the department works to support its injured men, area firefighters are providing backup for any calls that come in. In a small department like Louise VFD, two men can make a huge difference in their ability to respond, especially during the work day.

“I’ve talked to Ganado and El Campo. They are now both responding right off the bat. Everyone is helping out,” Johnston said.

 

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