KILLEEN, Texas — The city of Killeen Fire Department and the Fort Hood Fire Department were presented the U.S. Army 2022 Community Partnership Award during a city council meeting here March 14.
The Fort Hood Department of Emergency Services and the KFD are partnered with a mutual-aid agreement for emergency management, structural emergencies, wildland fires and swift-water rescue support.
This agreement responds to initial fire suppression protection to all of Fort Hood’s non-continuous housing villages, where nearly 1,500 Soldiers and families live.
“The partnership between our installation and the city of Killeen is strong,” Col. Chad R. Foster, U.S. Army Garrison - Fort Hood commander, said. “Everyone knows we had a fire on Fort Hood; it was the largest fire that we’d ever had on the installation. And I think the first to answer the call for help was the Killeen Fire Department.
“Everywhere we look, we see them helping us, we see them rendering mutual aid,” he continued. “I can’t thank you enough for your partnership from the city of Killeen to the Killeen Fire Department.”
The award was presented on behalf of the Department of the Army by Foster to Andrew Lima, fire chief for the Fort Hood Fire Department, Joshua Gillis, deputy fire chief for the Fort Hood Fire Department, Robert Adams, deputy director for DES, and James Kubinski, fire chief for KFD.
“We’re here to recognize this partnership, recognize you and to express our appreciation for you and what you do for us every day,” Foster said.
The Army Community Partnership Awards Program seeks to highlight examples of exceptional cooperation and diligence that will encourage continued collaboration to achieve the full potential of community partnerships.
“What this (award) means to Fort Hood and the community of Killeen is great partnership,” expressed Lima. “We need both of us to work on emergency situations and certain areas that we can’t handle because of our manning, and the city of Killeen Fire Department will assist us and vice versa. We’re always willing and they’ve been outstanding on helping out.”
The collaboration between Fort Hood and the city of Killeen has evolved into a seamless partnership between the two communities that has resulted in combined training in live fire structures, as well as swift-water and boat operator training on Fort Hood.
In March of 2022, KFD also provided substantial mutual aid assistance to help extinguish a 33,000+ acre wildland fire. The Crittenberg Complex fire affected roughly 15% of the installation’s acreage and took nearly a week to put out.
“On this particular day, as fire touched off, we had a tanker that overturned,” shared Kubinski. “That tanker had not ignited. It was completely full with thousands of gallons of gasoline. And we wanted to ensure that the citizens were safe.
“And so, while Chief Lima is dealing with what was going to be the biggest fire of his career, he sent us one of their crash trucks to sit on our scene and ensure the citizens were safe during that time, for almost six hours while we cleaned up that incident,” he continued. “So, this mutual aid agreement is imperative, and it is strong, and it ensures that the citizens of Killeen and the citizens of Fort Hood are safe, and I’m very thankful for that.”
Awardees were evaluated using the following criteria:
· improves Soldier/family quality of life
· improves or enhances readiness
· modernizes a service, system or process
· provides cost or other efficiencies
· expands capability
· improves community relations
“Thank you for the partnership,” Kubinski said. “It’s not just the city of Killeen who takes care of ourselves. It’s not just us helping take care of Fort Hood, it’s Fort Hood who helps take care of us. It’s great that we’re just a phone call away.”
“There is so much going on … and they are always there,” Killeen Mayor Debbie Nash-King said during her March 14 State of the City address. “I’m truly thankful for our first responders.”