Fire damages vacant Bloomington mobile home

Firefighters spray water through the window of a vacant Bloomington mobile home that caught fire in May 2019. No injuries were reported by the Victoria County Fire Department.

The Victoria County Fire Department in June completed its first volunteer fire academy and graduated 10 volunteers.

The program was spearheaded by Victoria County Fire Marshal Richard Castillo, who will present a report about the academy’s success and recognize the graduates during the Victoria County commissioners’ Monday meeting.

“It’s a sense of pride for them and for us to have these people trained and prepared to serve this county,” Castillo said Friday.

The program began in September and finished in June, and operated at no cost to the county, Castillo said. Participants attended multiple evening and weekend classes throughout the course of the program.

Castillo and commissioners discussed the idea of a volunteer fire academy in April 2018. Castillo told commissioners that graduates of the program would leave with skills similar to those of entry-level professional firefighters, and the academy would provide a way to recruit and retain more qualified volunteer firefighters.

The graduates completed a curriculum allowing them to become eligible for certification testing through the State Firefighters’ and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas for Firefighter I and Firefighter II certifications, according to a memo from Castillo.

“It all resulted in having a great service to train these men and women, who will go on to serve the county,” Castillo said. “The opportunity was there to do this, and with the blessing from the county, we seized it.”

The academy would not have happened without Victoria County firefighter and training officer Michael Carbajal, who was “instrumental with getting this off the ground and making it a success,” Castillo said.

Also on Monday, Victoria County commissioners will receive proposals for pharmaceuticals for the Victoria County Jail, and consider Victoria County joining the Minnesota Multistate Contracting Alliance for the purchase of pharmaceuticals for the jail.

Morgan Theophil covers local government for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6511, or on Twitter

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