SHIRO — Shiro Volunteer Fire Department is planning a derailment exercise Saturday, Nov. 18, to coordinate mock responses to a major disaster.
The plans were announced during the Nov. 9, Shiro Town Hall meeting. Shiro VFD Chief Dan Sharron said the exercise is planned from 8 a.m. until noon. He encourages other departments, law enforcement, first responders and more to participate, stating a joint effort is needed when responding to a disaster of that magnitude. He also encourages the community to come witness the training.
In the mock scenario, a train carrying toxic chemicals derails off the tracks in Shiro. The chemical becomes airborne and are likely fatal if inhaled. It also causes a fire. There will be varying factors including wind direction and wind speed.
The training won’t close any roadways or railroad tracks. A command post will be set up at Shiro VFD to coordinate the mock response. In the event of such disaster, additional departments will need to be dispatched, emergency notifications sent out, homes and businesses evacuated, roadways blocked off, and medical response.
One of the major concerns Sharron shared is the amount of time it takes to fill tankers and a lack of hydrants. He stated there is a hydrant on Texas 90 and one on Texas 30, however both of those are over 5 miles away.
Sharron said one of the major water suppliers for the department is Tenaska Frontier Partners Ltd, however there are certain times throughout the year the water is drained for maintenance, so that source is not always available.
The fire department is pricing a tank to place at the VFD to store water. They vary in capacity and price. Another option is if property owners with ponds allow the department to pump ponds to fill the tanker. He stated the truck needs to be able to pull up to within a certain distance to the pond without getting stuck. The department would also need access to any gates leading to the pond. Contact the department for more information about offering access to a water source.
Chief Sharron stated the department leases the property where the station currently sits from Anderson-Shiro CISD.
According to Sharron the contract expires in 2029, and he is unsure if the district will want to continue to lease the property to the VFD. He said communication has been minimal, but he plans to reach out to the district to discuss the lease.
Community member AnnaBeth Neason informed people in the meeting that TxDOT is gathering information for the I-14 Central Texas Corridor that will travel one of two routes, Texas 30 or US 190.
She stated Shiro residents need to speak against the Texas 30 route because it would diminish the town with the amount of right-of-way space required. Public comment ends Nov. 20. The link to the comment card is available at, https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/get-involved/bry/i14/101823-comment-card. pdf. For more information call, 979-484-7358 or email, BRY_Interstate14Central@txdot.gov.
During the I-14 discussion, talks of incorporation ensued. One of the community members said she has spoken with Plantersville Mayor Karen Hale about the incorporation process. Plantersville is the most-recent city to file for incorporation.
Multiple community members said incorporating is a great way to protect the Shiro community and will also allow the town to apply for much-needed grants to assist with water needs, sanitation and more.
To learn more about the Shiro community or Iola VFD, email, Chief Sharron, firstname.lastname@example.org.