Certification and Training
The Andrews Volunteer Fire Department was a "catch as catch can" operation in 1945 when the first truck, a 1945 Mack, was obtained by Andrews County Commissioners.
The real push behind obtaining of the 1945 Mack truck was caused by the destruction of one of the oldest buildings in Andrews, namely Means Methodist Church. The fire occurred in early 1945, and a county-wide effort was immediately started to obtain a fire truck. World War II was winding down about this time, and the truck was obtained from the United States Air Force.
An organizational meeting was held at the old Coconaugher Cafe in March of 1946 at which time Opal Nix was elected temporary chief and Charles W. Roberts, Jr. was elected the first Secretary-Treasurer. There was no formal membership and when the whistle blew anyone who was in town, was not afraid of fire, and brave enough to try to assist, was on the fire department, at least for that fire.
In late 1946 a more formal organizational meeting was held at the Coconaugher Cafe at which time J.E. (Dick) Underwood was elected Chief and Charlie W. Burkett was elected Secretary-Treasurer. The membership was set at a total of 18 and remained so until the second truck, a 1950 Peter Persch was received in 1950, at which time the membership was increased to 24. Those who attended the first meeting at Coconaugher Cafe in March of 1946 and showed interest and appeared at the second organizational meeting were automatically considered Charter Members. From this time forward, all members of the department have been elected by a vote of the membership, with each active and current member having one vote.
The records were like the fire department in the early days, in that there was no minute book as such, and most records were momentarily kept on the back of scratch paper, or old envelopes, or paper napkins, and then sometimes disappeared or were not filed permanently.
On one occasion the minutes had been taken on a scrap of paper and then inserted into Charlie W. Burkett's pocket. Shortly thereafter all firemen loaded on the Mack fire truck to go out and roll the hose; the wind blew the recently made minutes out of Secretary Burkett's pocket. Much time was spent looking for the piece of paper but the minutes were never found.
This information came from the Andrews Volunteer Fire Department's Constitution and By-Laws pamphlet.