The Hidalgo County Emergency Services District No. 3 ("ESD No. 3") is a political subdivision located in Hidalgo County, Texas. In 1987 voters in our area passed a referendum to create the Rural Fire Prevention District No. 3. The primary purpose for the creation of the entity was to provide for the availability of emergency ambulance service to unincorporated areas within Hidalgo County Precinct 4 which were not otherwise being guaranteed service from ambulance companies because of their rural nature. Once organized, the entity provided for the availability of emergency ambulance service by contracting with available qualified ambulance companies to agree to provide service in our area in exchange for a set subsidy intended to offset the economic loss from operating in such rural areas. In 2003, the Texas Legislature converted all then existing rural fire prevention districts to the current "Emergency Services Districts". The Texas Health and Safety Code creates the mission of our entity and provides most of the guidance as to what its powers and duties are. The coverage area of the ESD No. 3 is an approximately 600 square mile area located mostly to the north of Edinburg and covering all the way to the north county line (maps of the general area of the ESD No. 3 can be found below). In addition, the ESD No. 3 also provides financial commitment and equipment through agreement with the Linn San Manuel Volunteer Fire Department ("LSMVFD") in relation to the LSMVFD's services in the area of the ESD No. 3. Lastly, because the City of Edinburg Fire Department also provides coverage to areas of the ESD No. 3, our entity has also entered into interlocal agreements with the City of Edinburg relating to facilities and equipment. All of this is made possible by collecting property taxes on property located within the boundaries of the ESD No. 3. Because the ESD No. 3 has a fiduciary duty with the spending of your tax dollars, the Board of Commissioners of the ESD No. 3 strives to make the best and most efficient use of taxpayer dollars in following its mission.
The ESD No. 3 is governed by a board of commissioners that is appointed according to law by the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court. Commissioners on the ESD No. 3 board are appointed for two-year terms and can be reappointed for successive terms. To be eligible to be an ESD No. 3 commissioner, a person must reside in or own property within the area of the ESD No. 3.
Luis Flores, III, Board President
Aaron Vela, Vice-President
Travis Richards, Secretary-Treasurer
Patrick Eronini, Member
Gail Cappadona, Member
In 2011, the building housing the Linn San Manuel Volunteer Fire Department ("LSMVFD") burned down leaving the LSMVFD without a station to operate from. In 2013 the ESD No. 3 entered into an interlocal agreement with the County of Hidalgo to contribute $250,000 towards the construction of an emergency services facility located off of Highway 186 and Expressway 281. The facility currently houses the LSMVFD. Additionally, it can serve as a location for the ESD No. 3's ambulance service provider to respond from as well as provides a location for other agencies such as the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety. The facility can serve as a staging area during declared disasters affecting the area. Additionally, the ESD No. 3 funded over $80,000 for the installation of an emergency power generator for the facility during times of emergency.
The City of Edinburg Fire Department also responds to calls for service in the area of the ESD No. 3 at times that the LSMVFD, which consists of all volunteer firefighters, is unable to respond to fire or rescue calls in our area. In an effort to facilitate faster response times for service, especially to the south eastern portions of the ESD No. 3's area, the ESD No. 3 entered into an interlocal agreement with the City of Edinburg to contribute $500,000 towards the construction of the City of Edinburg Fire Station No. 5 located in far northern Edinburg on Davis Road near Expressway 281. The station also provides dormitory space and a location for the ESD No. 3's ambulance provider to place its personnel and ambulance to provide service to nearby areas of the ESD No. 3.
In an effort to ensure the availability of the latest and most reliable firefighting and rescue vehicles in relation to the services of the LSMVFD in our area, in 2015 the ESD No. 3 purchased a new Ferrara Tanker Truck on an International chassis for use by the LSMVFD in the area of the ESD No. 3. The vehicle is housed at the emergency services facility that was partially funded by the ESD No. 3.
In 2019, to address the need to have a sufficient water supply for fighting fires in rural locations without a readily available water connection, the ESD No. 3 purchased a 4000 gallon rescue tender built on a 2019 Freightliner chassis to support other firefighting vehicles servicing the area of the ESD No. 3. The vehicle is housed at the emergency services facility that was partially funded by the ESD No. 3.
When fighting fires in areas such as the ranch and brushland which predominate the area of the ESD No. 3, equipment such as a tractor to trench fire breaks is indispensable in stopping the progression of a fire. This is especially crucial during the hot summer months when the risk of brush fires is at its highest. When the tractor being used in the area of the ESD No. 3 broke down with the summer months approaching this year and the price to repair it was substantial, the ESD No. 3 agreed to partially participate with the LSMVFD in the purchase of a new Kubota tractor with a substantially increased working capacity and the reliability of a new unit. The tractor should provide a useful service life of many years to come and will vastly improve the ability to fight fires when needed.
Throughout the past several years, the ESD No. 3 has purchased equipment and gear that are made available for use by the LSMVFD fire department in providing its services to the area of the ESD No. 3. Such equipment has included radios, bunker gear, self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), jaws of life spreaders and cutters, rescue air bags, and portable defibrillators. Purchasing updated and reliable equipment and gear ensures the continued availability of quality services to the residents and property owners in our area.