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New Safety Measures in Place for Hidalgo Co. Water Pump Hous

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HIDALGO – With the violence across the border heating up, the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse is putting new safety measures in place.

Othal Brand Jr., the general manager for the center, said safety is his number one priority.

Past events at the pump house have prompted him and other employees to keep a close eye on the situation at the border.

"They sounded like fireworks. It hit the cement and the cement started like flying,” recalled Manuel Villarreal, who's been working at the pump house for six years.

He said he will never forget the first time he got shot at while on the job.

"We were working by the new pump station and a friend of mine says, ‘Hey compadre, they're shooting at us!’ So we blew out of there,” he said.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS first told you about the pump station and its employees being allowed to carry guns in 2016. Since then, other safety measures have been established.

"On the new pump station, we have like sheet metal and on the inside of sheet metal we got Kevlar, about an inch of Kevlar to protect ourselves a little bit. Just in case they shoot at us again try to protect ourselves,” Villarreal said.

Brand said activity at the station is nothing new.

"Several times I've been down to the river to check on the guys and pumps myself and there have been several times I've pulled up and there have been three to five guys standing there at the pumps, illegal's," he said.

The general said adding other measures such as lighting, a boat ramp and cameras all over the perimeter has them feeling at ease even with the increased violence across the border.

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