NEHAWKA, Neb. (KPTM)- A small town fire department is used to battling flames, but not ones that start in its own building.
Around 8:20 Monday evening, the Nehawka Volunteer Fire Department went up in flames. Gladys Weston noticed the smoke when she was outside. "I saw smoke on the back of the building and thought it was the neighbors burning something."
Weston rushed next door to her daughter's house and called 911. "If mom hadn't been out doing that, how far would it have went before anyone discovered it," said Weston's daughter, Linda Nichols.
When firefighters arrived at the scene, all they could do was watch. "All of our protective gear, all of our firefighting gear, was inside this building," said Nehawka Fire Chief, Sean Huckleberry.
Huckleberry said he's isn't used to being on the other side of fires. "It seemed like forever, because you're waiting on the fire department to get here, you know. You kind of understand how people feel now."
"You could see that on their faces, the fireman's faces because they were just so desperate to get in there, but the had the training to know, do not open those doors," said Nichols.
The doors at the Nehawka Fire Department will remain boarded up until things are back and running. For now, the town of 200 will have to count on surrounding towns for help.
Six fire departments from all over came to help put out the fire Monday night.
"They just kept coming in," said Weston. "All the lights and the sirens, it woke the little town up. We call it ‘Sleepy Hallow,' but it woke all of us up."
Huckleberry said the department doesn't have an ambulance, fire trucks, or gear, but it does have support from all over the state.
"We've had tremendous outpouring of offers from every fire department," said Huckleberry.
Huckleberry hopes the department will at least be able to begin to fight fires in a week.
Firefighters are still investigating the cause of the fire.