The exact date of organization is not known, but it was around the year 1869. After several serious conflagrations a group of citizens banded together and formed a bucket brigade. 1871 saw the first hand operated fire pump placed in service. In 1885 the Victoria Fire Company No. 1 replaced the pioneer bucket-brigades. By 1910 the city began a slow evolution to a professional department. In that year the first five salaried fire fighters were hired at $50.00 per month to perform “fire department and street duty.” From 1885 until the 1940’s volunteers made up the remainder of the force. The success of the volunteer fire fighters was attributable largely to enthusiastic leadership. Louis A. Fritz, remembered on the old courthouse steps with the inscription to “Uncle Louie” was the father of the department. During the years from 1885 to 1911 city fathers gradually created the legal and physical machinery necessary for volunteer fireman to protect the city. In 1915 a bond issue of $30,000 was for the construction of a modern fire house. Less then a year later the Central Fire Station stood on the northwest corner of the courthouse square; its cost was $14,189.
Looking back the volunteers appear perhaps to have been badly equipped, but in the early years of this century Victoria’s fire fighting apparatus ranked with the best. Matched teams of fine horses pulled the pumpers, and a bonus was offered to the first units to reach the scene. Mechanization was likely disappointing to the old timers, but in 1916 the city purchased its first motor truck an American La France pumper.
By the 1930’s the five paid fire fighters were still dependent on the hundreds of volunteers. The department was now fully motorized with two combination pumper/hose trucks, a straight hose truck, and a chief’s car. All headquartered at the Central Station. Today’s Department is staffed by 115 highly trained and motivated members, staffing five stations with 22 pieces of apparatus available for use.
Things To Do
Tropical Disturbance Update
Tropical Storm Bill came ashore at noon near Matagorda Island with winds near 40mph.
The main impacts for the Victoria area remain unchanged however the peak height forecast for the Guadalupe River increased.
- The eye of Tropical Storm Bill will move north through Victoria County at 6 or 7 pm tonight.
- Heavy rains of 3-5 inches and flash flooding are still forecast for the Victoria area through Wednesday morning but those totals could increase to as high as 8-10 inches in isolated areas.
- The Guadalupe River will rise to 27.8 feet on Friday, a moderate flood level. Ranchers near the river should move livestock and equipment to higher ground.
- City and County crews have staged pumping equipment in low-lying areas to help drain rainwater.
- The rains from this low pressure system should diminish by Wednesday evening.
- Drivers should browse to DriveTexas.org for statewide information on road closures.
- Do not drive through low water crossings with running water across it. It takes less than a foot of water to turn a car into a boat. Turn around, don’t drown.
- Do not drive through standing water in neighborhoods as the wave produced by your vehicle could push water into homes and businesses.