MEC&F Expert Engineers : Andy Loller, 42, a Weatherford, Texas firefighter, died while battling a grass fire in the Davis Mountains in West Texas on Sunday

Monday, June 11, 2018

Andy Loller, 42, a Weatherford, Texas firefighter, died while battling a grass fire in the Davis Mountains in West Texas on Sunday

Weatherford firefighter dies after battling grass fire in West Texas

By Prescotte Stokes III

June 10, 2018 10:48 PM


A firefighter died from injuries he sustained while battling a grass fire in the Davis Mountains in West Texas on Sunday, according to fire officials in Weatherford.

Andy Loller, 42, a Weatherford firefighter, was deployed to assist firefighters across the state at the Scenic Loop Complex in Jeff Davis County, Weatherford Fire Marshal Bob Hopkins said.

Hopkins said Loller suffered a medical emergency and was flown by helicopter to receive medical treatment. He was stabilized before being placed on a medical airplance, but passed away en route to an Odessa hospital, Hopkins said.

As of June 5, seven wildfires in the Scenic Loop Complex were still active and 18 total have been reported, according to data from the Texas A&M Forest Service.

Local fire departments in the Dallas-Fort Worth area took to social media to express their condolences.

Loller was a 13-year veteran in Weatherford and was assigned to Station 36 on the A-Shift. His death came as a shock, Hopkins said.

"He was physically fit. A wonderful man and dad. He took care of his body and ate well. It's just really sad," he said.

An autopsy will be performed Monday to determine the cause of death, Hopkins added.

Loller is survived by his wife, two children and one sister, Hopkins said.

Day 6: Crews Continue to Fight Scenic Loop Complex Fires in Davis Mountains
Posted on June 9, 2018

By Friday, fire officials said two of the six Scenic Loop Complex fires were 100 percent contained. (Photo by Marc Mullis)

By Saturday morning, two Scenic Loop Complex fires were 100 percent contained while other fires had spread across more acres in the Davis Mountains area.

The Scenic Loop Complex fires — which began on June 3 when a lightning storm sparked 18 fires in Jeff Davis County — have blazed for six days straight and affected more than 23,000 acres by Friday night. The Type I Incident Blue Team, a federal response group, has taken command of the fire operations, which has seen multiple fire crews and more than 250 responders from across the country.

The Jones/Phillips and Brooks fires have been 100 percent contained, according to fire officials. Together, the two fires had spread across 1,355.5 acres in the Davis Mountains area. In an operations update, Fort Davis Fire Department’s Jim Fowler said these fires won’t have any crews on them as responders work to control other blazes currently spreading throughout the region.

Fire teams are now working to control the four remaining fires, three of which are currently spreading through the Nature Conservancy in the Davis Mountains. The Long X2, 48 Tank Loop and Windmill fires have affected roughly 12,700 acres of the conservancy. Rainstorms on Friday dropped a half-inch of water on the Long X2 fire. This weekend, Fowler says, crews “will be building and reinforcing the lines on the southwest and south side of the fire and down to the Windmill Fire.” Crews will also build lines on the Windmill and 48 Tank Fires.

Fire crews have set up camp near the area in order to respond quickly to the three fires. The Preserve has been closed to all traffic unrelated to the fires.

On Friday, the Bear Mountain fire still had some active burning, but Fowler says it may have “settled down” overnight.

Fire officials say subdivisions in the region, like the Crow’s Nest and the Davis Mountains Resort, are not threatened by the fires.

Terry Krasko is with the federal response group. He says the Scenic Loop Complex fires acreage affected may grow, not because the fire is spreading, but because they response team will have completed mapping the Scenic Loop Complex’s range.

Among other response tools, crews have been making use of 4 single engine air tankers (SEATs). Krasko says these units can go into “extremely small places” where bigger tankers aren’t able to reach. He says, night time operations are in place to help control the fire.