Mesquite fire history
The Early Years
While preparing the story of the history of the Mesquite Fire Department, literally thousands of photographs were sorted, labeled, and scanned. By chance, one photo captured the interest of this committee. It was an old photo, most likely taken mid-1940's, at what appeared to be a Fourth of July celebration. On a banner, painted on the stage were the words, “Mesquite Volunteer Fire Department, organized 1916, reorganized 1939." Could this be? Local tradition has told us that our department was officially organized in 1939 when 13 men got together to form a more efficient fire fighting group. Upon the rediscovery of this old photo, imaginations ran wild and the painstaking task of research began.
The question of fire protection came up again at the September 1, 1910 meeting. A committee consisting of A.W. Summers, J.W. Bovell, W.O. Parker, and R.S. Kimbrough was appointed to investigate the Eureka Company, which was placed before the council by Mr. Newbegin. It is recorded that his product, the Phoenix Extinguisher, consisted of a tube with soda acid inside. It was so affordable that every business and resident could afford to purchase one or two to have on their property. This would be the first record of fire extinguishers being introduced into Mesquite.
A. F. Gross
Other early important dates and events for the Mesquite Fire Department include April 17, 1913, when the city council passed the first fire ordinance. This ordinance had been read at previous meetings, but was voted down. Sarcasm was detected by the council secretary when recording the minutes by writing, “The third and final reading was approved. Finely passed.”
In April 1916, the account of $25.00 to Alva Summers for his services as fire marshal was deferred and the council ordered the fire marshal to make a report of his work. No report was ever recorded in the minutes and on February 1, 1917, Alva Summers’ services were discontinued. Joe Asberry was then appointed as temporary fire marshal.
January 1918, the council passed a resolution to authorize the mayor to pay $100.00 from the general fund for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any party or parties guilty of arson within the city limits. Record of this practice being discontinued has not been found.
In the April 1919 council meeting, the fire marshal was instructed to make inspections of the residence district of the city and was to be allowed the expense incurred in doing so. This would become the first home inspection.
April 1921, A.J. Miller was appointed as the third fire marshal and immediately reported to the council with the first recorded fire marshal’s report. The report included ten notices including flue repair, gas pump repair, trash removal, removal of coppers from fuse sockets, and removal of kindling from under stairway. It also shows there were four fire alarms during the year for a total loss of $1200.00 including $250.00 caused to the property of Mrs. M.R. Gross and $40.00 loss to the property of Mr. J.F. McCullough that had started from a grass fire.
Alderman L.C. Ebrite made a motion in September 1923, and was seconded by N.J. Porter, to organize a city fire department. The motion carried and the council authorized the secretary to begin organizing. No other record was found of this reorganization.
Fire marshal A.F. Tosch reported several fires during the April 1925 council meeting. The report showed a loss of $8800.00 in property damages for the year. The fire department laid 2800 feet of hose fighting these fires. The first fire was caused by a bad flue, the second by carelessness, third and forth was an unknown cause, the fifth was caused by electrical wiring, and the sixth and seventh by gross negligence. The key rate had been reduced by 15% that year. At this meeting, A. F. Tosch was paid the sum of $25.00 for the year for his services as fire marshal.
A council meeting was called on December 20, 1926 for the purpose of assisting in the reorganization of the fire department. The men chosen were;
Chief A.F. Tosch
1st Assistant Chief W.E. Lawrance
2nd Assistant Chief O.B. Kimble
The citizens of
On November 18,1927, the council agreed to pay B.F. Galloway $8.50 per month as rental on his building near the corner of Main and
Few fire department records were located between 1927 and February 1938 when a committee was formed to buy a truck chassis and make a trade to overhaul the pump and equipment and have it installed on the new chassis. On May 13, 1938, the front page of The Texas Mesquiter included a picture of the newly excepted fire truck. The truck was a 1938 Chevy with a 200-gallon booster tank with a 350-gpm pump. Current fire marshal, C.G. Parker was seated at the wheel. The city paid $1100.00 for the rig but it was estimated at being worth $3500.00. F.I. Walker paid $15.00 for an old fire truck chassis at the June council meeting. The minutes recorded that there were no bids above that amount. Records did not indicate the manufacture of this equipment but this sale was most likely the REO.
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Thank you Chuck Tull for all of your hard work on the Mesquite Fire history.
Page Last Updated: Apr 28, 2014 (17:35:59)