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512 - 398 - 2739

512 - 376 - 5679





The Lockhart Volunteer Hook and ladder Company was organized in September, 1888.  The first officers of the department were James L. Storey, President, and E.A. Masur, Secretary and Treasurer.  There was also a "washing committee" whose duty was to wash the truck after each fire.  The only equipment at this time was a small hand drawn truck, mounted on four steel wheels.  The apparatus carried several ladders and a number of rubber buckets.  This equipment was stored under the Old Opera House.  Most firefighting at that time was done by bucket brigade. 

    Several years later, the department bought two small hose carts with reels for carrying a small amount of hose from Mr. Seeliger.  These carts were usually pulled by several men, but if anyone happened to have a good horse near the fire house at the time of an alarm, it was usually borrowed to help pull the cart.  The main disadvantage of this was that the men who where helping pull the cart could not keep up with the horse.  Some of the old firemen say that this was one of the worst situations they have ever experienced.  once they (the horses) started pulling, the firemen could not get out of the way of the truck behind them;  they just had to hang on and pray that they would not stumble or fall.

    The first official uniforms of the department were ordered on March 14, 1890.  The following statement that describes the uniforms was taken from the minutes of the department meeting on that day.  "The motion was made and carried to buy a new uniform.  It is to be a seal brown dress suit, trimmed in red;  caps to be one and one-half inches higher than previous ones, and with gold trimmings."

    It has been told that some of the firemen on hearing the alarm bell would run home and put on their uniform before going to the fire.  In march 1901, a blue uniform with silver buttons was adopted.

    The fire equipment was kept under the old opera house until 1893 when the first fire station was built.  It was a two story frame building, twenty-four by sixty feet.  Soon after this, the department was divided into two companies;  The Hook and Ladder Company, and the Pump Company.  The president's title was changed to chief.  Mr. E. B. Coopwood was the second president and the first chief.  He served as Fire Chief for 29 years.  The department at this time consisted of Thirty-Three members.

    The first written constitutions was adopted in 1895.  Among other changes, it provided for an election of a queen and sponsors.  Miss Mamie Steele was elected the first queen of the fire department.  The department at his time received no help from the city.  All the money was secured from fines and dues.  The fine for missing a fire was $2.50 an for missing a meeting $1.00. 

    The trials and troubles of the old department were many.  The following incident was told by Mr. Marvin Carpenter, who was one of the oldest living members of the department.

    One night while a fine play was is progress at the old opera house, the fire alarm sounded.  Mr. Carpenter was sitting in the front row and made a rush for the exit.  The manager stood in the door and said, "You cannot go out."  Mr. Carpenter hit the manager and said he often wondered when the manager would stop rolling.  Mr. Carpenter got the truck out of it's house and got to the fire first.  He was assigned to keep one part of a building wet, and in doing so, had to stand on top of an open lard barrel.  The barrel was about half full of old, rancid, and sticky lard.  Mr. Carpenter had his best clothes on and while throwing water on the building, he slipped and fell right into the barrel of lard.

    In March, 1901, when two streams of water from 2 1/2 inch fire hoses shot 60 feet in the air from two different points in the city, Lockhart officially had running water.  When the ice plant was completed, a steam operated siren was placed there.  When the siren would go off, the water pressure would be pumped up in the lines, sometimes so strong, the lines would pop right out of the ground.  The city did finally realize what an invaluable service the courageous volunteers were providing and assumed financial responsibility.

    In 1912, a new city hall and fire station was built.  The equipment consisted of two up-to-date pumpers, one old pumper that was the first motor driven fire truck in Lockhart, and a hook and ladder truck.  The trailer part of the hook and ladder was built here in Lockhart, and was hooked to the back of a dodge truck.  The pumpers carry a supply on one and one-half inch hose and two and on-half inch hose.  Each pumper has a booster tank on it that contains a large amount of water.  When a fire plug is not nearby, the water from these tanks is used to put out a fire.  The hook and ladder has several ladders, salvage covers, axes, hammers, brooms, rope, and various other equipment that are useful in saving household furnishings and stocks of goods.  If the hook and ladder get to a fire before the water is put on it, the men usually try to get into the house and pile the furniture in the center of the rooms and cover it with salvage covers to keep it dry.  After a fire is put out, the firemen try to sweep all the water out of the house and try to restore things to their proper places if possible.

    In 1975, the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) was organized under the auspices of the fire department, and ambulances were added to the equipment.  There were seven paid employees, including the fire marshal.  The fire chief was still elected by the firemen.  Jack Hay was both the Marshal and Chief.  There were 31 volunteer members with half being EMS qualified

    To Date, the Lockhart Fire Department name has been changed to Lockhart Fire / Rescue.  The department is led by Fire Chief Jerry Doyle.  We currently have 12 full-time employees,  2 full-time staff employees, 3 reserve Firefighters and 2 support Firefighters.  Our current fleet consists of 3 Class A pumpers, a wildland interface engine,  an Antique engine, and 3 staff vehicles.     

    The fire department can be contacted anytime of the day or night, because four firefighters stay at the station at all times, thus it may be seen that the fire department has rendered one of the most useful and helpful services to our city.

Courtesy  of the Mark Withers Trail drive Museum, Caldwell County, Texas


Incident pictures - updated 10-08-03


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Staff - updated 11-05-06



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