Useful Places In Dallas-The Dallas Fire-Rescue Department In Dallas is one of the finest fire departments in the world. The events that developed this world class fire department did not come very easily nor did it come quickly. The department is what it is today due to the tireless efforts of its members both past and present. Many people have come and gone, many fires have been fought, and many heroic deeds have been performed. The firefighters of today are not any different than the firefighters who took up a hose so many years ago in Dallas. True, they are more educated and better equipped, but they are just as dedicated and inspired. The following is a brief glimpse into what has made the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department what it is today.
A fire of unknown origin occurred in Dallas in July, 1860. The only structure that survived was a two-story building that housed a saloon on the lower floor. This incident promoted the idea of a fire department for defensive purposes. However, actual organization was to be delayed for several years due to the Civil War and the reconstruction that followed.
The constitution and bylaws of Dallas first firefighting unit, "Company Number One", was adopted on July 4, 1872. Two Gardner Village hand engines and ten small fire extinguishers which were carried on the members backs were the first equipment used. W.C. "Bud" Connor was elected chief of the 14 member fire department and for a little while, the organization was little more than a bucket brigade.
A horse-drawn steam pumper made by the Silsby Manufacturing Company was purchased in July of 1873. The apparatus became affectionately known as "Old Silsby". The Dallas Hook and Ladder Company became the citys second fire company shortly after the purchase of Old Silsby. In the early months of 1875, "Hook and Ladder Company Number Two" was formed, but the truck was burned beyond repair one month after it was purchased.
A water supply was developed in later years dictated by the fact that the city was growing at a great pace away from the Trinity River. Contracts were let for the construction of six large cisterns as a water supply to meet the citys needs. The cisterns were strategically located on Main and Houston, Main and Poydras, Commerce and Austin, Elm and Murphy, Elm and Market, and Elm and Lamar. All of the cisterns were 600 barrel capacity, except the one on Main and Houston which was 1200 barrel capacity.
The fire departments equipment of early 1879 consisted of one hose cart, one combination engine and hose cart, one engine company, and two hook and ladder trucks. All of this equipment was either hand or horse drawn. A fire in September of that year destroyed the wooden fire station on the courthouse square while the members were watching a circus parade. The bell tower used to sound alarms was also destroyed as a result of this fire.