History of Houston Fire Department
The History of The
Houston Fire Departmentstarts at about the same time that The Allen (Augustus and John Kirby Allen) brothers founded Houston, the population quickly grew and the need for a fire department became necessary quickly.InfoboxFireDepartment
name = Houston Fire Department
motto = "Semper Paratus" (always prepared)
established = 1838
staffing = 266
strength = 4,100
stations = 90
engines = 86
trucks = 37
squads = 19
rescues = 8
Haz-Mat Units = 6
airport units = 18
fireboats = 15
EMSunits = 57
FirstResponderBLSorALS = 25
chief = Tyrone Freeman
In 1837, the town of Houston had grown so quickly that fires had become frequent. While log homes were more common, there were quite a few people that were living in tents. The original
platof Houston consisted of 62 blocks. By the end of 1837 there were over a 1,000 people within the city limits. Augustus Allen organized a bucket brigade, named it “Protection #1” and applied for a charter in 1838. [ cite web|url=http://www.houstontx.gov/fire/abouthfd/history.html#THE%20ORIGINAL%20STATIONS%201%20-%2028 |title=History Of Stations |accessdate=2007-07-22 |last=Evans |first=Jay |year=2005 |work=City Of Houston ]
August 14, 1838, the city fathers formed Protection Fire Company No. 1 and constructed a firehousefor the company at the corner of Fannin and Preston. The fire company's motto was Semper Paratus ("Always prepared"). One of the first pieces of equipment was a large barrel with holes drilled on either side with a rod and two wheels placed on it with handles attached to the rod (“axle”) so that the men of the town could pull it. This barrel also had buckets attached with hooks at the top. By the end of 1847, Houston had cisternsand its first homemade fire engine which consisted of a big wooden box with wheels on it and a pump and a hole attached to the bottom of the pump. The pump would suck water out of the cistern into the box where the water would be pumped into the exit hose leading to the fire. This original homemade fire truck was stationed on what we know as Market Square. [ cite web|url=http://www.houstontx.gov/fire/abouthfd/history.html#THE%20ORIGINAL%20STATIONS%201%20-%2028 |title=History Of Stations |accessdate=2007-07-22 |last=Evans |first=Jay |year=2005 |work=City Of Houston ]
In 1848, the State of
Texasgranted a charterto Protection Fire Company No. 1, the first fire company chartered by the state.
In 1852, Liberty Fire Company No. 2 was constructed on Franklin between Travis and Milam. Until 1858, the total firefighting force consisted of a pumper, a force pump, and several bucket brigades. The hook and ladder company was added in 1858 with the aid of prominent businessmen and was held at Company No. 1
In 1859 James A. Cushman was elected to be the first fire chief of the
Houston Fire Department. Houston’s first cistern was created to help supply water for fire fighting and wooden buildings were banned from being built within four blocks of Main Street.
In 1865 Hook & Ladder No. 1 moved into new quarters at Franklin & Travis. Liberty No. 2 in 1866 purchased the first horse-drawn steamer. While in the same year, it was illegal to use water from the cistern for any uses other than for firefighting. cite web|url=http://www.houstonfiremuseum.org/history/index.htm-%2028 |title=History Of Stations |accessdate=2007-07-22 ]
Stonewall No. 3 was organized in 1867 with a
donatedhand pumper in Second Ward on the corner of Travis and Capitol.Protection No. 1 traded in its hand pumper for a steamer similar to one that Protection Company No. 1 currently had.
Mechanic No. 6 was organized in 1873 at Washington and Preston with a hand pump.
Brooks No. 5 was organized at Liberty and McKee in September 1874. It opened with a wagonload of chemicals and added a hose reel a later. The following year, the new fire company acquired the first chemical engine in the city. Stonewall No. 3 moved into new quarters on Travis between Prairie and Texas streets.
In 1878 a 25-year contract was established for a municipal
waterworksusing the water above tidewater of Buffalo Bayou. A New York firm was awarded the contractand the water lines were laid by the following summer. Mechanic No. 6 received a new hand pumper in 1878 and sold the old equipment to Rescue No. 7. (Junior fire companies, of which there were several over the years, were composed of boys too young to join a regular company.)
July 10, 1879, the new water system, which had just been completed, was tested during a major fire at Congress and Main that involved a number of buildings. With the increased pressure available, the fire was put out in two hours. The downside to this was that the citizens had undrinkable water for several days every time there was a major fire.
telephoneswere installed in all of the fire stations.
In 1881 Curtin No. 9 organized with a hose reel on Commerce between Travis and Milam, while this
organizationexisted prior to this date, young men that were considered too young to join the other companies manned it.
Due to the inherent problems with a
volunteer fire departmentbeing unable to respond to a fire in a timely manner, an attempt was made to establish a paid, full time fire department in 1882 to “ensure perfect discipline, if nothing more.” Several businessmen backed this movement, but the firefighters strongly objected.
The main reason fire companies didn’t respond promptly to fires was the city’s failure to provide supplies,
engineersand drivers. One firefighter had reasoned that if the city wasn’t able to supply a “Volunteer” fire department, how could it manage a paid department? A number of the current and past firefighters were influential with their political and monetary clout and the proposal for a paid fire department was defeated. cite web|url=http://www.houstonfiremuseum.org/history/index.htm-%2028 |title=History Of Stations |accessdate=2007-07-22 ]
In 1882, Hook and Ladder No. 1 were destroyed in an
arsonfire by two dissatisfied members of the company due to the condition of the building and truck that resulted in the loss of the building and fire truck. The Structure and engine were immediately replaced.
In 1883, Stonewall No. 3 moved to a new location on Preston between Louisiana and Smith. The company had 25 active members.
artesian wellswere drilled in 1887 to supplement the water from Buffalo Bayou for the distribution system. It was later determined to be the third largest artesian reservoir in the United States and in the same year Curtin No. 9 Fire Company relocated in the fire station abandoned when Brooks No. 5 disbanded in 1883.
Volunteer firefighters purchased a lot in Glenwood
Cemeteryon Washington Avenue in May 1888. It was intended for the burial of deceased members of the volunteer fire department. Cost of the cemetery lot was $300. The following month, firefighters began a drive to raise money for a monumentto erect on the lot. They put on balls, picnics, theatricals, and other entertainment. Proceeds soon reached the needed amount, and a stone monument was ordered from a T. E. Byrnes. The following year the monument for the Glenwood Cemetery arrived in December 1889. Atop the monument was a marble statue made in Carrara, Italy. It was a life-size statue of Robert Brewster, the oldest living volunteer firefighter at the time. cite web|url=http://www.houstonfiremuseum.org/history/index.htm-%2028 |title=History Of Stations |accessdate=2007-07-22 ]
In 1889, Protection No. 1 moved into a two-story brick fire station at 612 Fannin.
Liberty No 2 disbanded in 1890, after its worn out steamer was sold for junk.
In 1892, the city began to pay one driver on each fire company. Paid drivers cared for the fire station and responded to all fires. They worked
24-7and were paid $100 a year.
Washington No. 8 began operations on August 4 at 1307 Crawford with a Clapp and Jones steamer and a hose wagon. Seibert No. 10 organized a couple weeks later. Seibert opened with a hose wagon at 205 Chartres. A new steamer was ordered to go along with the hose wagon.
After several major fires destroyed several buildings and claimed several lives due to faulty equipment,
MayorJohn T. Brown gave his sanction for a paid department, after he learned the city did not have to buy the fire stations of the volunteers. The city only had to purchase the apparatus and horses; fire stations could be leased. Packard then drafted an ordinance, and the ordinance passed at the next meeting of the Board of Aldermen.
Formation of HFD from VFD
Volunteer Fire Departmentcame to an end on June 1, 1895 with Chief Thomas Ravellwas appointed fire chiefof the new fully paid fire department. Chief Ravell met with the Fire Safety Committee of the Board of Aldermento establish rules for the paid department. Paid firefighters would work 15 days straight followed by one day off. The schedule was then repeated. Firefighters would rotate on outside fire watch during the night, usually in two-hour shifts. Being absent twice from a firefighters post and drinking on duty were causes for termination. Ravell decided to allow firefighters an hour off three times a day for meals.
Some of the 350 volunteer firefighters were selected by Chief Ravell to fill the paid roster of 44 firefighters. More than one-half were single men who were paid
housekeepersand drivers of the volunteer fire department and the remaining were officers and firefighters from the ranks of the volunteers. A few of the volunteers were listed as extra men, later referred to as supernumeraries. They were new recruits who were trained at a fire station and became firefighters as openings occurred.
Seven volunteer fire stations were taken over by the city. One was the station owned by members of Hook & Ladder No. 1 at San Jacinto and Praire. It became the Central Station. Chief Ravell assigned Steamer No. 1, Steamer No. 2, Chemical No. 4, and Hook and Ladder No. 1 to the fire station.
The other six fire stations were:
* Hose Company No. 3, 408 Smith
* North Star Hose Company No. 4, Montgomery and Gano (another reference puts the location near North Main and Hogan)
* Mechanic Hose Company No. 6, 1106 Washington
* Washington No. 8, 1307 Crawford
* Hose Company No. 9 at 910 Keene
* Hose Company No. 10, 205 Chartres
The fire stations were leased by the city, and the
fire apparatusand horses were purchased from the volunteers. The new Houston Fire Department began operations at one minute past midnight on Saturday, June 1, 1895.
In 1897, the city contracted with the Gamewell Company to expand the Gamewell fire alarm system.
In 1899,the first station constructed by the city was Station No. 7 at 2403 Milam at McIlhenny, Fire Station No. 10 at 205 Chartres was rebuilt at the same location in 1900.
William W. Thomas, a volunteer who is credited with organizing Washington No. 8 and securing the equipment, was elected to the Board of Aldermen in 1900 and became chairman of the Board's fire committee. Three steamers were purchased for the paid department while he was chairman. One of the steamers, assigned to Station No. 2, was named in his honor.
In 1903, Houston doubled its size in the first
annexation. Galvestonians had been flocking to Houston to resettle after the 1900 hurricane destroyed the island. Two fire stations (No. 3 and No. 6) were rebuilt in the newly annexed areas. The city went from nine square miles to convert|16|sqmi|km2.
February 8, 1904, a new central fire station opened at Texas Avenue and San Jacinto in 1904, to replace the old location due to a fire.
In 1905, James Appleby became the first
commissionerof Fire and Police under the new city government.
December 24, 1908, Fire Chief O'Leary was the first fire chief to die in the line of duty, while fighting a blaze at a railroad switchyard.
In 1910, a new position of
Fire Marshalwas created, and the fire department purchased its last steamer.
Houston firefighters came under city civil service on
May 1, 1914. All of the firefighters were put on probationfor one year. Future firefighters would be given medical, physical, and moral examinations and serve an eighteen-month probation period.
Fire Station No. 11 was built on Washington at Fowler shortly after annexation of the city of Brenner.Station 11 got the first piece of motor fire apparatus built in the motor repair shop at central fire station.Fire Station No. 12 went in at Sumpter and West in 1916
A motorized tractor was added to the horse-drawn water tower in 1918. Most Horse-drawn equipment was replaced with motorized equipment by 1919.
* Station 14 at W. 12th and Yale
* Station 13 W. 18th and Nicholson
Fire Station 15 was built the same year at Houston Avenue and North Main. It opened as a hose company.
Commissioner Allie Anderson had been a firefighter and knew of the incredible strains the current work schedule involved, so he created a second platoon in 1921. The two platoons then alternated monthly between 10-hour day shifts and 14-hour night shifts. In the same year, all of the fire apparatus had been motorized. The last of the horses were retired to a city park.Fire Station No 16 went in at 1413 Westheimer and Yupon in 1923.
Because major fires downtown snarled traffic, and onlookers interfered with firefighters, Fire Commissioner Allie Anderson appointed a safety committee in 1924. The purpose of the committee was to respond to major fires and assist police in controlling the traffic and the crowds. He also ordered firefighters to inspect buildings that were potential fire hazards, and planned to create a fire prevention division. A new central fire station opened at the corner of Preston and Caroline in 1924. Both the offices of the fire and police departments occupied upper floors of the five-story structure. Included was the city jail. Fire alarm and police dispatchers shared the penthouse. Members of the department organized the Houston Fire Fighters’ Benevolent Association in 1924. Each firefighter was asked to donate two dollars a month to help pay
funeralexpenses of active and retired firefighters.
Another huge annexation by the city caused several more fire stations to be added:
* Fire Station No. 17 went in at 319 Sampson and Preston,
* Fire Station 18 in a tent in the 4400 block of Walker (later moved into permanent quarters at 619 Telephone and Eddington)
* Fire Station 19 at 1804 Gregg and New Orleans.The City of Harrisburg was part of the annexation of 1926. The city had two fire stations that were absorbed into the HFD:
* Fire Station 20 (Avenue F and 73rd)
* Fire Station No. 22 (7825 Harrisburg)In 1927, Fire Station No 23 opened at 824 San Antonio and Manchester. A training facility, another recommendation of NBFU, was built beside the central fire station in 1928 at the corner of Preston and Austin. The training facility had a five-story drill tower with a smoke basement, and a small building beside the tower to teach ventilation.Two more fire stations opened that year:
* Fire Station 24 at Palmer & Bell (Station 24 earlier opened in a tent on Polk Street)
* Fire Station 25 at Blodgett & Velasco.
Fire Helmets were provided by the fire department beginning around 1930. The first helmet was made of a composite material that was essentially cardboard heavily coated with shellac and paint. It had an extended brim attached to the back of the helmet. Three hundred of the helmets were purchased. Bullard Company manufactured the helmets, and the design was called "Hardboiled." Chief Seibert said the helmets were "light-weight and well-ventilated."
In 1930, Fire Station 26 opened at Broadway and Park Place. The Harris County Emergency Corps was organized in 1931 to provide first aid at emergencies, and to train firefighters in first aid and resuscitation. The Corps also performed salvage work at fires.
A salvage wagon went in service sometime in the latter 1930s and ran out of Fire Station No. 1. It carried large
tarpaulins, called salvage covers, which were used to protect furniture and goods from water during a fire. The Harris County Emergency Corps had performed salvage work. The salvage wagon was later moved to Station 2.Working hours of firefighters were reduced in 1939 to an average of 72 per week. The new schedule had the two platoons switching between the day shift and night shift each week instead of monthly. They still worked 10 hours on the day shift and 14 hours on the night shift.Fire Station No. 27 went in service in 1940 at 6302 Lyons and Kress. It was a two-story, one-bay building of Classical Revival style architecture and was designed by Houston architects, Hamilton Brown and Howard E. Westfall.
In 1941, Fire Station 28 opened at Berry and Louisiana, and Fire Station No. 4 was moved to 4106 S. Shepherd and Banks. Fire underwriters had recommended the move of Station 4 to southwest of the city. A ladder and district chief were added to the new station.
Two-way radios were installed in district chief's cars in 1944 and ended the dependence on street fire alarm boxes to communicate with fire dispatchers.
A huge annexation of areas surrounding Houston in 1949 doubled the size of the city. Reserve fire apparatus and grass fire trucks (boosters) were put into several volunteer fire stations that were swallowed up in the annexation. A citizen donated a track of land at Berry Road and Jensen Drive for a new fire station. New fire stations from the annexation were:
* No. 29 at Barkley and Winkler
* No. 30 at 514 King and Helmers
* No. 31 at 522 Crosstimbers and Haygood
* No. 32 at 822 W. 34th and Brinkman
* No. 33 at 7100 Fannin north of the medical center.
The workweek of firefighters was reduced to an average of 60 hours on October 1, 1950. Firefighters rotated between a 10-hour day shift for a week and 14-hour night shift for a week. The day shift switched to the night shift by working 24 hours on Mondays. The Monday became known as "Long Monday," and was dreaded by many of the firefighters. The night shift got Mondays off when firefighters changed to days. Each firefighter received two days off each week, one more off day than was granted under the old work schedule.Dry powder fire extinguishers were introduced into the department in 1951. The new type of extinguishing agent made it possible to fight small metal fires. The largest purchase of fire apparatus in the department's young history amounted to 19 pumpers and ladder trucks in 1952. American LaFrance manufactured them all.
Fire Station 34 was built on a donated lot at 2812 Berry Rd. and Jensen in 1952. The station was headquarters for new District 8. The following year a new Station 28 opened at 5116 Westheimer near Sage.
Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) were put on the cars of the district chiefs and on all ladder trucks in 1953. Development of furnishings made of synthetic fibers and plastics made breathing more difficult during fires. Yet, the old "leather-lung" firefighters ignored the new breathing apparatus. They had a tradition to uphold, that of a "smoke-eater." Later after engine companies were furnished SCBA, the airpacks were usually buried under other equipment in the basket of the engines. A firefighter was considered a wimp for some years, if he donned an airpack at a fire.Fire Station 35 opened in 1953 at Holmes Rd. and South Park Blvd.
In 1954, all first line fire apparatus were equipped with 2-way radios. Only chief cars had radios prior to this time. Each ladder company was equipped with 12 salvage covers. This allowed salvage work to begin much sooner in outlying districts. Only the salvage wagon, located at Station No. 2 downtown, had salvage covers, and its response time to outlying areas was taking too long as the city expanded and Fire Station 41 opened at 805 Pearl and Amarillo
The first black firefighters were hired in August 1955. There were ten, but one flunked out of training. The remaining nine rookies were assigned to Fire Station No. 42, a recently annexed fire station located in a predominantly black neighborhood near the Ship Channel. With the
Texas City Disasterstill in mind, Houston Fire Department and the chemical companies along the Ship Channel organized into a group pledged to aid each other in the event of a disaster. The group was called the Houston Ship Channel Industries Disaster Aid Organization.
On the last day of 1956, Houston doubled its size with another huge annexation. It included areas served by 13 volunteer fire departments. Houston Fire Department kept seven of the stations as permanent fire stations and assigned one firefighter to each station. Volunteers at the fire stations continued to respond to fires.
At the beginning of 1963, a third shift was created and reduced the average workweek of the firefighters from 60 hours to 56 hours. Firefighters now worked three 10-hour days, three 14-hour nights, and then were off three full days. One hundred, two promotions were made to cover the extra shift.
In late 1965, city council raised salaries of firefighters by $50 to spur recruitment. Top pay for veteran firefighters was only $464 per month, the lowest paid firefighters among cities with populations of one million or more. The low pay hampered recruitment, and only three men frequently manned pumper companies. Manning of ladder companies sometimes fell to two laddermen.
A new 4-story headquarters opened at 410 Bagby on February 1, 1968. Fire Station No. 1 occupied the first and second floors. Administrative offices were on the third floor, and offices of Fire Prevention and Arson occupied the fourth level.In April 1969, a new central motor repair shop and maintenance complex opened at 1010 Girard. Cost of the complex was $600,000.
Houston's new Intercontinental airport opened in the summer of 1969 twenty miles (32 km) north of downtown. Fire Station No. 54 housed several crash rescue trucks and was located at the end of the two runways.
The new fire training facility at 8030 Braniff Street, just south of Hobby Airport, opened on November 10, 1969. The facility had two classrooms, a service garage, a multipurpose auditorium, and an office building. At the rear of the 15 acre site were a six-story drill tower and a two-story fire building for recruit training.
On March 31, 1975, Linda Honeycutt began her training at the Fire Training Academy. She became the first female firefighter and was assigned to Fire Station No. 9. A new fire alarm building opened in December at Preston and Bagby, across Preston from the new fire headquarters and Fire Station No. 1.
On July 31, 1979 the city's second largest fire in history erupted at the Woodway Square Apartments in west Houston, spreading over an area equal to about 10 city blocks which went to seven alarms and required 130 firefighters. [ [http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive.mpl?id=1992_1045667 Call that retiring fire chief feared never came] ] The loss was put at $30 million, but there were no deaths or serious injuries, [ [http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive.mpl?id=1988_563393 150 YEARS OF FIREFIGHTING/The history of the Houston Fire Department] ] but left 600 people homeless. [ [http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive.mpl?id=1996_1324837 The next steps after house fires/Families clean up; county seeks laws] ] The size and rapid expansion of the fire were blamed on wooden shingles, which prompted a change in building codes. [ [http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive.mpl?id=1996_1329922 Wood shingles targeted/Officials may ban them after 2 fires] ]
In 1980, city council authorized two reductions in the workweek of firefighters. First a Kelly Day dropped the average workweek to 50 hours. The second reduction substituted a platoon day for the Kelly day. The platoon day gave firefighters 24 hours off after every sixth shift, and lowered to 46.7 hours the average workweek. Preservation of old Fire Station No. 7 as a fire museum began in 1980. The station had been proclaimed a fire
museumby city councilin 1977, but little was done to preserve the building. Chief Rogers assigned Captain Calvin Mendel to oversee the renovation project.
Seven rescue/salvage trucks were put in service in 1981, permitting the old salvage truck and special equipment van to be removed from service. Eight new telesquirt pumpers also went on line. By 1981, all pumpers were outfitted with convert|4|in|mm|sing=on supply lines. The switchover from the old two-and-a-half-inch hose began in 1980. Hours were reduced to 46.7 hours per shift.
Headquarters was moved to the Logistic Center at 1205 Dart Street. The vacated space on the third floor at Fire Station No. 1 was taken over by Fire Prevention and EMS.
In January 1986, fire dispatchers began answering calls through the new 9-1-1 system.Six of the 22 fire districts were eliminated, and four quadrants were established. Deputy chiefs were moved out of headquarters to command the new quadrants, and reported directly to the fire chief. Also the photography section and Street Index were closed down. Arson investigators now had to take their own pictures. The aides were transferred to fire apparatus. Chiefs would have to drive themselves. If they needed an aide at a fire, they grabbed one of the firefighters on the scene.The largest acquisition of apparatus in the department's history took place in this year. Twenty-two engines, 16 ladders, and 30 ambulances were purchased. cite web|url=http://www.houstonfiremuseum.org/history/index.htm-%2028 |title=History Of Stations |accessdate=2007-07-22 ] In 1987, mobile automatic status terminals (MAST) were installed on all fire and EMS units. The terminals ended the excessive radio transmissions on the fire frequency. A button on the MAST was pressed by the officer to report his status, which was recorded in the dispatch computer.
The city once again went north this time to annex the 1960 area and the HFD built a temporary Station #96 at West Greens Road and Mills in 1995. In 1999 a new Station #96 was built at Willow Chase and Breton Ridge to service the Willowbrook Mall area and opened in 2000.
In 1995, Houston expanded its city limits again to stretch out to the 1960 area and Kingwood area,this resulted in HFD to build a temporary station #96 at west Greens Road and Mills to help service the Willobrook Mall area, which was completed in 2000. The Kingwood annexation resulted in the Kingwood Volunteer Fire Department to dispand after HFD took over or built new stations. They were numbered in the following sequence for the Houston Fire Department: [ cite web|url=http://www.houstontx.gov/fire/abouthfd/history.html#THE%20ORIGINAL%20STATIONS%201%20-%2028 |title=History Of Stations |accessdate=2007-07-22 |last=Evans |first=Jay |year=2005 |work=City Of Houston ]
* Station #101 located at Kingwood and Ladbrook.
* Station #102 at West Lake Houston Pkwy at Northbrook.
* Station #103 at High Valley and Kingwood Dr.
* Station #104 at Forrest Cove Drive and Hamlin Road.
On May 25, 1991, the department added a fourth shift that created hundreds of new promotions. Under the new work schedule, firefighters had to work one of their off-days about every six weeks to keep the average workweek at 46.7-hour hours. The new mayor named Fire Marshal Eddie Corral fire chief in 1992. Corral became the first Hispanic fire chief in the city's history.
District Chief Lester Tyra replaced Chief Corral in 1998 after a new mayor took office. Chief Tyra was the fifth fire chief who had served previously as president of the firefighters' union (1970-90). Chief Tyra immediately instituted a self-evaluation of the department which resulted in:
*1) a 5-year strategic plan
*2) risk analysis of fire districts
*3) recognition as a leader department in 2000 by the country's fire chiefs and city managers.
He won approval for the purchase of 55 engines, six ladder trucks, three ladder towers, and a hazmat foam engine. (The new equipment was to replace 60 percent of the first-line apparatus.) In 1999, thermal imagers, which improved the search for victims and hidden fire, were bought and placed on all ladder trucks, hazmat units, and rescue trucks. Also, Fire Prevention was beefed up with the addition of 17 new fire inspector positions. cite web|url=http://www.houstonfiremuseum.org/history/index.htm-%2028 |title=History Of Stations |accessdate=2007-07-22 ]
Station #1 located at Bagby and Preston and Station #8 located at Polk and Crawford from 1970 was closed in 2001 for construction of the
Houston Aquariumand Toyota Center, respectively. Stations 1 and 8 were combined and relocated to the corner of Milam and St. Joseph and Station 8 was reopened in June 2001 in a temporary leased building. [ [http://www.houstontx.gov/fire/firestations/station1.html City of Houston Fire Station #1] ] [ [http://www.houstontx.gov/fire/firestations/station8.html City of Houston Website FIRE STATION 8] ] Hurricane Katrinaput a load on the Houston Fire Department. Firefighters were pressed into service in early September, 2005, to triage the evacuees that poured into Houston to escape flooded New Orleans. The firefighters worked 24/7 at three evacuee sites, the Astrodome, Astro Arenaand the Brown Convention Center. Some 40,000 evacueessettled in before the later bus loads of evacuees were directed to other cities in Texas. cite web|url=http://www.houstonfiremuseum.org/history/index.htm-%2028 |title=History Of Stations |accessdate=2007-07-22 ]
* September 11: A bronze statue titled, "In the Line of Fire" by The Official Texas State Sculptor
Edd Hayesis dedicated on the site of the future location for the Houston Fire Museum at the corner of Hadley @ Main. [ [http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nb/humble/news/5124036.html Firefighters sculpture emphasizes emotion] ]
On March 28, 2007, a fire went through a Mid-rise, located at 9343 East Loop near North Loop, which was complicated by the windy conditions. The fire, later determined to be
arson, claimed the lives of 3 civilians and the structural integrity of the convert|60000|sqft|m2|sing=on building was compromised. [ [http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/side/4700750.html Suspect in Houston office fire appears in court] ] [ [http://www.houstonfiremuseum.org/history/2005.htm Houston Fire Museum] ] A report on how the response was later published criticizing HFD's handling of the fire including lapses in communication, failure of immediately dispatching additional units when fire was upgraded, and firefighters were "freelancing" adding to the chaos. The report also praised the firefighters for their improvisation in fighting the fire and rescuing their fellow firefighters trapped in the building. In spite of the report being critical of the response, no disciplinary action will be taken and will instead be used as a training tool. [ [http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5107607.html Report critical of HFD in fatal North Loop office fire] ] [ [http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=investigative&id=5634147 Houston Fire Department releases report on fatal mid-rise blaze] ]
On April 21, 2008, the crews from the temporary station moved into the new "Super Station" #8 located at 1919 Louisiana at its completion. [ [http://www.houstontx.gov/fire/firestations/station8.html City of Houston Website FIRE STATION 8] ]
* [http://www.houstonfiremuseum.org/history/index.htm Houston Fire Museum website]
* [http://www.houstontx.gov/fire/abouthfd/history.html Houston City Government Website]
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