Tomball Fire Department, ESD 15 shift focus to full-time firefighters, add 10 full-time positions

The Tomball Fire Department mans stations on Rudel, Holderrieth and Telge roads.

The Tomball Fire Department mans stations on Rudel, Holderrieth and Telge roads.

The Tomball Fire Department has added seven full-time positions since October, replacing a total of about 20 part-time and volunteer positions throughout the city’s two stations, Chief Randy Parr said. The city approved an additional $256,811 in its 2018-19 budget for six positions with a seventh position added in November to fill a vacancy.

Additionally, Emergency Services District 15, which contracts with the department, approved funding this fiscal year for three more full-time positions at its station on Telge Road.

“Our goal was to get to a point where we’re no longer volunteer-based; we’re a career-based system. In this budget year, we’ve been able to achieve that,” Parr said. “For the cost of providing benefits to six people, we could reduce our part-time staffing by 20.”

Full-time positions were added at the city’s two stations on Rudel and Holderrieth roads as well as at the ESD’s station, providing three full-time positions for each 24-hour period, Parr said.

“It means [firefighters] are going to understand the strengths and weaknesses within their group, and they will be able to roll up on a scene knowing exactly what they’re going to do before they ever get there,” he said.

More full-time staff allows the department to shift from measuring statistics to focusing on outcomes, such as decreasing fire losses and improving patient care, Parr said.

“We can start making a difference,” he said. “Let’s start looking at how well we actually perform on these incident scenes.”

Full-time positions are supplemented by part-time staff and volunteers, but Parr said he hopes to add two more full-time slots as funds become available. In total, Parr’s full-time crew totals 28 positions: nine at each station with one person filling in where needed.

Despite more full-time staff, Parr said he does not see response times decreasing significantly, as distance from stations poses a challenge.

“Response times are truly driven by driving distances and things like that,” Parr said.

The city owns land to build a station at Stanolind and Hufsmith roads, he said, but utilities must first be added.

ESD 15 owns land on Mahaffey Road for a future station as well. However, ESD 15 Commissioner Buddy Roth said he anticipates the station would cost about $4 million plus operating costs.

ESD 15 looked to voters in May for a $0.05 property tax rate ceiling increase to fund the fire station, but voters did not approve the measure.

“Right now we don’t feel like [it is] a good time to go back and ask again,” Roth said.

Without a voter-approved tax rate increase, funding would need to come from an increased tax base, he said.

“It’s constantly growing, and we’re hoping that in the not too distant future we might be able to do something,” Roth said. “We haven’t abandoned the mission. We’re still trying to get the [station] done.”
By Anna Lotz

Editor, Tomball | Magnolia & Conroe | Montgomery

Anna joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. In July 2017, she transitioned to editor for the Tomball|Magnolia edition. She began covering the communities of Conroe and Montgomery as well in 2020. Anna covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Anna served as editor-in-chief of Cedars, interned with the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C., and spent time writing for the Springfield News-Sun and Xenia Daily Gazette.


The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said power outages are not expected April 13, while requesting energy conservation. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
UPDATE: ERCOT call for energy conservation ends April 13 without need for power outages

An ERCOT official said "tight" supply and demand conditions arose on the state's electric grid April 13 due to forecasting issues amid planned, seasonal maintenance outages by some power generators.

Spearheaded by state Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston, the new court, if established, would expand the capacity of the county's criminal court system in hopes of reducing its backlog, which stood at 70,951 total cases pending before criminal district courts in Harris County as of April 8. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Harris County supports creation of new criminal district court to tackle case backlog

If the efforts are successful, this would be Harris County's first new criminal district court since 1984 when the 351st District Court was created.

Northwest Harris County Municipal Utility District No. 5 covers 22 communities and roughly 2,800 acres around the border of Cy-Fair and Tomball. (Courtesy Northwest Harris County MUD No. 5)
Northwest Harris County MUD pitches bond referendums to keep up with growth, bolster trail system

Northwest Harris County MUD No. 5—which caters to 22 subdivisions around the border of Cy-Fair and Tomball—is seeking voter approval on bond referendums that officials said will help maintain aging utility infrastructure, launch a water reclamation project and bring new trails to the community.

Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough speaks during a budget presentation April 13. (Screenshot via Montgomery County livestream)
Montgomery County commissioners begin FY 2021-22 budget talks

Budget talks have begun at the county level, with a workshop scheduled for late July.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended health providers pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine April 13. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
State, federal health authorities recommend pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 6 rare, severe blood clots

Hub providers in Dallas, Harris and Travis counties have all announced they will follow the recommendations and pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Hackberry Plaza to bring 15,000 square feet of space along FM 1488 this summer

The plaza includes two 7,500-square-foot buildings with approximately six tenants slated for each.

Armored Sports camps feature basketball, flag football and more. (Courtesy Pexels)
Armored Sports camps to launch in venues across Greater Houston

A new Christian sports camp for youth is launching this summer in churches across the Greater Houston area.

Montgomery County's active COVID-19 case count was 1,692 as of April 9. (Community Impact staff)
Montgomery County active COVID-19 case count drops below 1,700 as of April 9

The active COVID-19 case count in Montgomery County is the lowest it has been since October.

"Breaking Strongholds" is a faith-based, eight-episode series that explores topics such as suicide and depression. (Courtesy Terry Weaver)
Series shot in Montgomery County aiming for Hulu, Netflix deal and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Construction on Creekside Court, a KB Home community, is underway in Magnolia on Carraway Lane near FM 2978. (Courtesy KB Home)
97-homesite Creekside Court under construction at Carraway Lane, FM 2978

Construction on Creekside Court, a KB Home community, is underway in Magnolia on Carraway Lane near FM 2978.

Mental health services have seen an increased demand through 2020 and early 2021. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Q&A: Tri-County Behavioral Healthcare director speaks on increased demands from pandemic

Evan Roberson spoke on the demand for mental health services as well as what his organization has seen over the past year.

The temporary waiver covering initial vehicle registration, vehicle registration renewal, vehicle titling, renewal of permanent disabled parking placards and 30-day temporary permits will end April 14. (Hannah Zedaker/Community Impact Newspaper)
DMV officials say no grace period following waiver of car title, registration; new housing set for Magnolia, Cypress

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Houston area.