Westworth Village shutters volunteer fire department



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Posted on June 30, 2014 at 10:14 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 30 at 10:39 PM

WESTWORTH VILLAGE — A volunteer fire department that was established more than 25 years ago responded to its final call on Monday night.

The Westworth Village Council recently decided to outsource fire responses to nearby Fort Worth, leaving the volunteer firefighters cleaning out their lockers.

"We've had a while to adjust," said Senior Chief Don Day. "But that doesn't make it a lot easier."

Day said about 30 people worked at Fire Station No. 41, some part-time.

Many of them stopped by over the weekend and on Monday to clean out lockers, sort through old photos, and reflect on years of trying to help the small community of 3,000 in western Tarrant County.

"I can look at something and recall someone's name or a piece of equipment they broke. A lot of memories here," Day said.

He said the Town Council made the decision in an effort to save money. He admitted the Westworth Village department needed some costly upgrades and improvements to trucks and other equipment.

But some people who live nearby aren't convinced it is the right move.

"How can you put a price on safety?" asked Gina Funicello, whose mother lives on the street behind the fire house.

Funicello was actually in a severe accident 20 years ago when her car flipped along Highway 183. She hit her head on the windshield, broke her leg, and passed out.

But it was the quick response of Westworth volunteer firefighters she credits with getting her through it.

"I attribute the fact they were so close to my survival in at that accident," Funicello said.

Westworth police will take over some calls that previously would have gone to the fire department, while Fort Worth firefighters will handle actual fire emergencies.

The town will pay Fort Worth more than $250,000 annually for the service.

E-mail tunger@wfaa.com