Sandy Oaks VFD fights to open doors again

Published On: Jan 30 2013 12:21:19 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 02 2013 11:03:12 PM CST

A volunteer fire department on the county's south side is fighting back after getting shut down by Emergency Services District 6.

The Sandy Oaks Volunteer Fire Department was forced to close its doors on January 1.

Wednesday, they hosted a community meeting at their fire station to rally support and to inform residents about how they are making every effort to stay open. Outside its station, an upside down American flag flapped in the breeze. Firefighters said it was not a sign of disrespect, but a sign of distress and a call for help.

"That's why we called this meeting," said Taylor Squires with the Sandy Oaks Volunteer Fire Department. "To let the community know what we are tying to do to reopen our doors in the next two weeks."

Ofelia Arellano, a resident who lives in South Bexar County, showed up to Wednesday's meeting hoping she could help get the department's doors open again.

Arellano said even though ESD 6 is providing a new crew of 6 firefighters for the area, she said she does not feel safe without Sandy Oaks firefighters responding to her area.

"They have saved my life several times," said Arellano. "We need them. We need them here and without them, I don't know."

Eddie Bravenec, attorney for the Sandy Oaks Volunteer Fire Department said his first priority is to get funding restored. He's filing a temporary injunction in court within the next few months to restore funding to the department and to restore services.

He said he believes ESD 6 is in the wrong.

"They didn't give proper notice," said Bravenec. "They just sent off a letter and she said, "We'll send it to my attorney," and they never did that and the contract requires before they do anything that they go to mediation and they never did that."

For a list of recent stories Stepanie Serna has done, click here.