In 2004 a group of concerned citizens recognized the need for a fire department in eastern Kendall County, selecting Bergheim as a central location. The Kendall County Commissioner – Precinct 2, helped the group obtain a deed from Kendall County for land on which to build the fire station located at SH 46 and Old Curry Creek Road. Construction began in June 2007 and two years later Bergheim VFD officially began operations.
As an expansion of services, Cordillera Ranch maintains two facilities on property — a satellite station was constructed by Bergheim VFD near the east gate of Cordillera Ranch on FM 3351, and Cordillera Ranch has allocated a bay at the new Maintenance Facility building. Bergheim VFD is actively fundraising to obtain a new fire engine to leave at Cordillera Ranch, with a goal of fall 2019 to purchase the truck and equipment that would cost in excess of $450,000.
In the event of a fire, Cordillera Ranch maintains fire hydrants every 500 feet in the Clubhouse area, in addition to a 20,000-gallon water tank at the east gate, which was purchased by Bergheim VFD. There is also a 50,000-gallon rain water collection tank at the station’s main facility as well as a water pumper/tender that can shuttle 2,000 gallons of water at one time. Boerne, Kendalia, Sisterdale, Leon Springs and Bulverde/Spring Branch are the closest stations called upon for assistance and additional water when needed, and Bergheim VFD reciprocates. Bergheim VFD will also acquire a fire hydrant at their main station as part of the water supply agreement being secured by Boerne ISD from Guadalupe Blanco River Authority. The school district will pay to extend a pipeline from Cordillera Ranch to the new middle school property at SH 46 and FM 3351, running through the fire station’s property.
Besides increased protection of Cordillera Ranch and surrounding areas, these improvements could also mean improved ISO rating for residents in the future. Bergheim VFD currently has an ISO rating of “Class 4/10.” For properties in their service area — located within five road miles of a Bergheim station — an improved Class 4 rating was instated on May 1, 2016. Properties beyond five road miles are a Class 10 rating. “That’s why we need the third engine to reach the Kreutzberg area and lower the ISO. Once a third engine is obtained, the State Fire Marshall’s office will come down and rerate us. It will take time but it will be a huge improvement,” says Bergheim VFD Fire Chief Adam Hawkins.
This improved rating means that homes and businesses outside the five road miles of one of these stations may see a reduction in insurance premiums. Generally, the better the rating, the lower the premium; however, that can vary among insurance companies. Not all insurance companies use these ratings when calculating insurance premiums so it’s best to check with your insurance agent when writing or renewing your homeowner’s policy.
Bergheim VFD services over 56 square miles in eastern Kendall County, which includes Bergheim, 11 neighborhoods and over 2,200 addresses. This service area is bordered on the north by the Guadalupe River (Edge Falls Road); on the east by the Comal County line; on the south by FM 3351 at the Silver Hills subdivision; and on the west by SH 46 at Rust Lane. Bergheim VFD is the first responder to fire and emergency calls in eastern Kendall County and is a backup responder to other fire departments outside their main service area.
“About 70 percent of our calls are medical; 15 percent are structure fires, not necessarily in Bergheim but in surrounding areas where we are called to help; and 15 percent are grass fires, hazardous materials clean up, swift water rescues, etc., — we can respond to at least 50 different types of incidents,” says Hawkins. Money from Kendall County maintains the main station and all equipment, but other purchases such as new engines come from grants and fundraising. “It comes down to funding and volunteers. We are truly a 100 percent volunteer fire department. Our area has a very unique situation in that most volunteers live outside the area. Because of this, our response times can be delayed due to volunteers traveling in. The way for this to change is to have consistent funding that will support a full-time staff to be on call when the need arises. Our goal is to maintain a safe environment,” concludes Hawkins.
Engine 31, a 2014 pumper/tender, is the first truck dispatched to a structure fire. It carries 2,000 gallons of water and is capable of transporting a 6-man crew. Proceeds from the Cordillera Shindig in 2015 contributed to the purchase of this engine.