The Texas Panhandle’s volunteer fire department chief and one of his firefighters were killed when a tractor-trailer rig rammed their department’s sport utility vehicle, officials said. The Texas Department of Public Safety said in a statement that the accident occurred at approximately 8:40 p.m. Tuesday at US 54 northeast of Dalhart, which is about 70 miles northwest of Amarillo.
The Dalhart Volunteer Fire Department SUV was returning to the station from a call when a tractor-trailer traveling in the opposite direction attempted a pass on a two-lane road and slammed into the SUV, killing Fire Chief Curtis Brown, 51, and the firefighter. Brendan Torres is dead. , 19, DPS Sgt. Cindy Barkley said.
The truck driver was taken to hospital with unidentified injuries, Barkley said.
The investigation was on, she said.
Flags at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial are at half-staff to honor Brown and Torres, the fire department said in a Facebook post Thursday.
“Our thoughts and prayers as a community are with the families and firefighters of Dalhart firefighters who died in the line of duty,” Hartley County Judge Gordon and Dallum County Judge Ritchie said in a statement.
CBS affiliate KFDA-TV reported that Torres was described as a hardworking worker eager to join the Dalhart Volunteer Fire Department.
Scott White, chief of Hartley Volunteer Fire and EMS, said: “I think Brendan carried that application to the Dalhart Fire Department with him for a year, the day he turned 18.” “He went in and handed it to Curtis — he was that kid. He was the first if he was available, he was the first at the station. He lived and breathed. I spent a lot of time with him and he was a was a great kid.”
Funeral services for Brown and Torres will be held on Monday, October 10, the fire department said.
Dalhart is approximately 30 miles south of the Oklahoma border, 30 miles east of the New Mexico Line, and 65 miles south of the Kansas-Oklahoma border.
According to the US Fire Administration, 77 firefighters died in 2022.