Linn-San Manuel fire department remains optimistic after fire destroys building

Elia Garza Vicencio has been a volunteer firefighter for the Linn-San Manuel Volunteer Fire Department for 27 years.

Sunday morning, she said it felt like a dream, but as she looked at a charred building, Garza Vicencio quickly understood it was no dream she was having.

A fire Saturday night, destroyed the fire department she's worked out of, for years.

"It's devastating, Garza Vicencio said.

It's just so hard to try and now see - it seems like it's a hurdle that we just have to get over and see what we can do."

Volunteer Fire Chief Domingo Hinojosa, Jr. said the news came during the fire department Christmas party.

A blaze engulfed the fire department, destroying vital equipment.

"We lost our fire truck, Hinojosa said.

Our fire truck was our pumper truck, which we use to fight building fires, structure fires, (and) it had our extrication equipment as well to be able to extricate people out of wrecked vehicles."

Hinojosa said it is an emotional experience for his crew, being on the other side of a fire.

"We felt helpless, you know, not being able to put out our own fire, being that we lost everything that we need and we had," Hinojosa said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Hinojosa said their plans for a new station continue.

Some, like Garza Vicencio, hope this loss will only make the small volunteer fire department stronger.

"We'll keep on going, Garza Vicencio said. We're going to keep on moving forward, and maybe stronger and more united - it's brought the department a lot more united."