DEPARTMENT 1888 - Present
Evidence shows that Lufkin’s first volunteer fire
was organized, but it declined over the next several
1900- At this time,
equipment mainly consisted of buckets, water barrels,
and 160 feet of hose. There were a few water mains and
fire hydrants, presumably installed by the railroad.
1915- C N Humason becomes
the first Fire Chief of Lufkin Fire Department.
The department consisted of two hand drawn carts, five
hundred feet of 2 1/2 inch hose, two nozzles, and
twenty-five volunteers. A small eight by ten building,
on Cotton Square, was the home of the department.
May 4th. A devastating fire struck Lufkin, it destroyed
the business houses on Lufkin Ave. and then struck the
H.E. and W.T. Railroad.
An apparent restructuring of the organization occurred,
forming the Lufkin Volunteer Fire Department with C N
Humason remaining as the Fire Chief. It seems plausible
that some sort of reorganization did occur because of
the major fires of 1901.
A fire, originating practically at the same location as
the fire in May of 1901, burned several businesses, some
1910 By now the
department grew by leaps and bounds.
There were two livery stables in town, at the sound of
the fire bell they would race with their teams to the
fire station and hitch the horses to a hose cart. The
first to accomplish the task would receive $5.00 and the
The city purchased a second-hand, horse drawn hose and
A two story City Hall and Fire Station were built on
Cotton Square, the horses used to pull the fire wagons
were housed there. This brought about Silvin Root, the
first paid firefighter, whose primary job was to care
for the horses.
A horse drawn ladder wagon was bought by the city. The
wagon was equipped with a forty foot ladder, a
forty-gallon chemical tank, and 150 feet of hose. At
this time, the department also owned 1,000 feet of hose,
a steam fire whistle, and two fire alarm boxes.
On the night of March 2nd, a Sunday, the Southern
Pacific depot exploded, remains thought to be human were
found to be animal remains. In 1916 the agent was found
in California and brought back to Lufkin, he faced
charges of insurance fraud. The agent stood trial and
was found innocent.
1926- W.L. Jones becomes
the second Fire Chief of the Lufkin Fire Department.
A Ford Model-T truck, sporting a forty-gallon chemical
tank, becomes Lufkin’s first motorized apparatus. It was
restore in 1976 by firefighters, and is still maintained
by the department.
Shortly after the acquisition of the Model-T, an
Overland chassis was purchased and combined with the
existing ladder wagon, providing a second motorized
piece of apparatus.
Lufkin’s first true "pumper" was purchased, an American
La France, type 40, triple combination pumper with a 350
gallon per minute pump.
Ottie, Lufkin’s most famous horse, owned by Chief
Humason for 32 years, dies at the age of forty-four. She
began her work pulling an ice wagon and later servicing
the Lufkin Fire Department.
A large fire prompted the purchase of a second American
La France pumper, this one with a 750 gpm pump. This
piece of apparatus stayed in service for over 30 years.
1949- Harry Kerr becomes
the third Fire Chief of the Lufkin Fire Department. By
this time six paid firefighters were on staff
supplemented by volunteers.
A new Central Fire Station was completed and new
apparatus purchased. The apparatus consisted of a Peter
Pirsh 500 gpm pumper and a Peter Pirsh "city service
truck", which was equipped with an assortment of ladders
and a forty gallon soda acid tank. *Central station is
still in service today.
In April, the Ruby Café burned with an estimated loss of
The Zeagler Mill burned with an estimated loss of
A large fire, known as the Bledsoe Fire, endangered the
entire east side residential area of Lufkin. Strong
south winds blew embers over a wide area. After the fire
was "tapped out", two homes were destroyed and three
more were damaged.
By this time the Fire Department had a paid staff of
seven and 25 volunteers.
The Department acquired a Dodge truck fitted with a 300
gallon water tank.
1981- Roscoe C. Gibson
joins LFD as a volunteer and later in 1942 he becomes a
paid firefighter. Under Chief Kerr, Gibson becomes LFD's
first training officer.
Dr Joe Burch donated a 1937 panel truck to LFD and was
stocked with first aid supplies.
The City bought a Dodge two-ton truck and converted it
into a booster truck (mini-pumper). This apparatus was
equipped with a 500 gpm pump, a 500 gallon water tank,
1,000 feet of 2 1/2 inch hose, and two, 150 foot
- Note- There were many
large fires reported in lumber mills and other plants
during this era. The most costly fire occurred at Perry
Brothers Variety Store and Offices in downtown Lufkin.
Leo Shotwell was named Lufkin's fourth Fire Chief, with
ten paid firefighters.
The Department was provided with a 750 gpm Seagrave
pumper that remained in service until the early 1980's.
- Note- A second fire
station was built for LFD at a cost of $30,000 and six
new paid firefighters were hired, bringing the total to
sixteen paid firefighters.
1969- D.C. McPherson was
named LFD's fifth Fire Chief. McPherson served as Fire
Marshal from 1949- 1960 and as Fire Chief from
LFD took delivery of its first aerial ladder, an
American La France, along with an American La France 750
Station #3 was opened to better serve the east side of
On October 1st, LFD began to provide county
wide ambulance services. LFD was one of the first
departments in Texas to provide this service.
Thirty-eight firefighters were employed at this time.
The city made a major apparatus purchase which consisted
of three Ward La France 750 gpm pumpers and three Ward
La France 250 gpm boosters.
Norvell Terry served as LFD's sixth Fire Chief from
December 1969 until August 1970.
Two new substations were opened. Station #4 and Station
#5 were equipped with the apparatus purchased in 1969.
Captain Delane Boddie became LFD's seventh Fire Chief by
On January 13th, at approximately 5:15 p.m.,
Lufkin Fire Department was called out to the Mill Supply
of Lufkin Industries. Forty-two of LFD's 45 firefighters
responded, as well as firefighters from Nacogdoches,
Diboll, and Apple Springs. Four pumpers supplied nine 2
1/2 inch hose lines and pumped 800,000 gallons of water.
The blaze was Lufkin's most expensive fire, causing an
estimated two million dollars in losses.
After working through the ranks, Billy A. Stephens was
named LFD's eighth Fire Chief.
On July 5th, around 6:30 p.m. a Polk Oil
Company tank truck jack-knifed and overturned. A Tyler
FBI agent, Charles Brown, was traveling behind the
tanker and crashed into the wreckage. Gasoline was
spilled, ignited, and flowed into the storm drains.
Agent Brown was killed by the explosion. Firefighters
were kept busy tapping out spot fires and protecting
businesses at the scene of the wreck. Twelve
firefighters, including one from Diboll, and one from
Nacogdoches, brought the fire under control in three
A third shift was added to LFD, reducing the average
work week from 72 hours to 56 hours. At this time the
department was staffed with 57 paid firefighters and 2
On January 2nd, LFD responded to a reported
structure fire. First in units were faced with cold
northern winds at around 40 mph. The high winds were
fanning the flames from the State Welfare Commodities
Warehouse to the neighboring Scott Lumber Company. The
fire had gained too much headway to save either of the
structures. A defensive attack on the fire was taken and
off duty firefighters were called in. A total of forty
firefighters fought the blaze for 17 hours, an estimated
LFD took delivery of a 1979 American La France 1500gpm,
triple combination pumper.
- Note- EMS goes from
Red Cross and first aid training to State Certified
LFD received an American La France 1500 gpm pumper with
a 75 foot ladder. The ladder was pre-piped with a 1000
gpm remote fog nozzle.
LFD upgrades its EMS service by selecting several
firefighters to become EMT- Paramedics. This improvement
was a major advancement for LFD.
Unfortunately Fire Station #2 was closed due to budget
Formed Hazmat team trained to the Technician Level
Chief Stephens retires after 33 years of service. At
this time the department was 60 firefighters strong.
Kenneth J. "Buzz" Snyder was hired as the ninth Fire
Chief of LFD. Chief Snyder came to LFD from Shreveport
Fire Department, where he served as Chief of the Fire
Prevention Bureau. Chief Snyder was the key in the
implementation of Hazardous Material Control, better
known as Hazmat-Mat.
Contracted EMS and Heavy Rescue with Angelina County.
LFD took delivery of a 1990 FMC 1500 gpm pumper. It was
the last custom made fire engine produced by the
billing implemented for major insurance
companies\Computerized reporting to the Texas Fire
Commission and Texas Dept of Health\Pete Prewitt becomes
Lufkin Fire Department's 10th Chief.
fire and EMS reporting- all stations and the Fire
Administration\Computerized records in Fire Inspection\
Forty certified paramedics in the department
Department volunteers coordinate the annual Rodeo Parade
and Bar-B-Q Cookoff at the Downtown Hoedown.
and Fire Departments work together to develop a physical
training room to be used by both departments
paramedic training program implemented
Challenge Team takes 2nd place in the state.
increased: 12 additional fire fighters/paramedics hired.
Opened Fire Station 6 in November 1998, located in base
of 2 million gallon water storage tank on Whitehouse Dr.
(see Feb. ’99 Fire Chief Magazine). LFD instrumental in
organizing Fire Academy at Angelina College.
LFD joins World Wide Web.
- 2001- The terrorist attack on
9-11-01 brought new responsibilities to the Lufkin Fire
Department, including testing capability for anthrax and
other bio agents. Lufkin Fire Department also provides
advanced technical capabilities such as infra-red
scanning devices which provide visibility in the
pitch-black atmospheres of structure fires and other
Numerous grants received, for emergency equipment, from
Homeland Security, including infrared cameras, gas
detectors, protective clothing, self contain breathing
2005 - Grant
approved, $640,000.00, 990% funded by FEMA, for new
Aerial Platform Truck, to be delivered in the winter of
2006. Total grants received, past 4 years (including
Aerial Platform): approximately $1 million dollars.
from Old Station 4 on the Loop into new Station 4 on
Trailwood. Placed Platform into new Station 4.
Received first Pierce Fire Engine with Compressed Air
Foam System, later retrofitted to Rowe CAFS system.
Received grant for FireBlast 451 Simulator Training
Kistner from Garland Fire department named 11th Chief of
department. Chief Kistner was instrumental in forming 2
man Engine companies, creating an EMS consortium within
the Medical Community, facilitating the ISO audit and
starting the new Station 3 project.
2 new Pierce Arrow XT Engines with Rowe CAFS. They are
the new Engine 5 and 6.
delivery of the new Pierce Engines and new Pierce
Special Operations/HAZMAT apparatus. Chief Ted Lovett
named 12th Chief of the department.
Station 3 opened housing Truck 3, Engine 3, Rescue 3,
and Med 3. Honor Guard established representing Lufkin
Fire with Funerals, ceremonies, and public service
Received 7 new ISG thermal imaging cameras through an EL
Kurth Foundation grant Deployed personnel to provide
fire protection to the citizens of West after the
fertilizer plant explosion. Honor Guard assisted in the
burial of several fallen firefighters. Took delivery of
a new PIERCE Arrow XT pumper with Rowe CAFS system for
station 4, this gives us 3 identical (standardized)
frontline apparatus. Ran 12038 total calls .
Opened new fire station 5 at 1408 Kurth Drive.
Received a new
Chevrolet brush truck equipped with Rowe CAFS system
from wildfire equipment. Received a grant from the E.L.
Kurth Foundation to purchase a Chevrolet passenger van
for the honor guard.