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Greater Houston Fire Battalion is a organization of individuals with a common interest in the Fire Department and Fire/EMS activities throughout the Houston area. Membership is $20 paid annually. The group meets every other month, usually on a Saturday. Fire photos and descriptions are emailed out on a regular basis; and the end of year Houston FD Multiple-Alarm Report is also sent to current members.

Jerald Duane Ricks

Jerald Duane Ricks passed away on December 12, 2013 at the age of 59. Jerald was one of those rare people--born (Feb. 16, 1954) and raised in Houston. He had several jobs during his too-short life, but the jobs he enjoyed most allowed him to indulge in his love of the fire service. That was his main passion since his teens.

Jerald rose to the rank of Assistant Fire Chief in the Houston Volunteer Fire Department (HVFD). A unique department, its members are trained by HFD members hands-on in the firehouses, then permitted to ride on the trucks and fight fires side-by-side with their career comrades. He was also one of the first graduates of HFD's Citizen Fire Academy.

Jerald not only had been a member since inception in the IFBA-affiliated fire buff club Greater Houston Fire Battalion, he had been its president for the past decade. He was also a Trustee for many years for the Houston Fire Museum, Inc. Outside the fire service, Jerald served for many years on the Houston Marathon's medical committee. He hated it as his deteriorating health meant he couldn't be involved in these passions anymore.

He is survived by his wife, Ruth Ricks; sister, Glenda Ricks; stepmother, Kathy Ricks; half-brother, Kelley Ricks; stepbrother James Watson and his family; and stepsister Charleen Watson and her family; as well as numerous other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his mother, Dorothy Ricks; and his father, Duane Ricks.

A visitation was held on Saturday, December 21, at the Schmidt Funeral Home Chapel near his home in Katy, west of Houston. Many relatives and friends spent hours sharing fond memories of Jerald, but the highlight was the performance of bagpipe music by Jerald's long-time friend, HFD District Chief Richard Cole. "Jerald didn't want a funeral, but I think he deserved one any way," said Cole. "I'm going to play a few tunes in his memory."


Recent Photos

    (All Photos)
  • Gulf Frwy - 7/13/14
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    HFD Engine 18's crew awaits water while preparing to attack a vacant motel fire on the Gulf Fwy (I-45 South) near Cullen, just east of Downtown at about 5:30 PM. The blaze spread rapidly, and 3 alarms had to be summoned to contain the fire to the 24-unit building of origin. This crew was among those that kept the fire from spreading to the south across a breezeway connecting the burning building to the former motel's main building. -- Tom McDonald
  • Locke Lane - 5/13/14
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    HFD was called out for an apartment fire in a dead-end complex off Locke Lane at Locke Lee Lane in west Houston during a driving rain storm around 5:45 AM. A smoky, stubborn blaze had to be tracked down in a narrow attic space, so a second alarm was pulled to get more manpower on the way even though most of those units were turned around. Two apartments were damaged as was a large segment of breezeway ceiling. -- Tom McDonald
  • Anita - 5/7/14
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    HFD District 6 Chief Wallace Page commands the "C" Division of a fire that fully engulfed two structures and damaged two others, including the one in this photo, shortly before 3 AM. Engine 7 was sent to check a hang-up call at Anita and Live Oak, arriving minutes later to find a single-story house and a two-story apartment building under renovation fully engulfed. A full first-alarm was already on its way, but three additional engines had to be called in to contain fire that spread into this occupied apartment building shown on Rosalie Street behind the original fire buildings. A fourth exposed house was damaged when a wall of the structure under renovation collapsed onto it. -- Tom McDonald
  • West Loop - 4/22/14
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    Crews from HFD Station 28 prepare to suppress a fully-involved cab and engine fire on an 18-wheel gravel truck about 5:45 AM. Ladder 28 and an HFD EMS unit protect two lanes of traffic for the firefighters working on the West Loop 610 near San Felipe just as rush hour commences on the busiest section of freeway in Texas. HFD policy provides for two suppression rigs to respond to freeway incidents with one expected to protect the other from oncoming traffic. -- Tom McDonald