History of the Mansfield Fire Department

  1. Early Years
  2. 1950s & 1960s
  3. 1970s
  4. 1980s & Beyond

Mansfield’s Fire Department – Nearly 120 Years of Service

Today’s Fire Department in Mansfield, Texas, has never been better or more able to respond to today’s emergencies. The Mansfield Fire Department consists of 96 firefighter/paramedics, four fire stations (with a 5th scheduled to open in 2021), four fire engines and ladder trucks, and four ambulances. The Mansfield Fire Department works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to care for and protect the 75,000 citizens of our fast-growing city. 


However, the Mansfield Fire Department was once much different. Dating back to 1901 as a Volunteer Fire Department with 15 staff volunteers, they were led by Mansfield’s first Fire Chief, J. Grow. Mansfield was much smaller then, and water to fight fires came from a small, 2-inch water main with just five openings along Main Street. The firefighters did the best they could with very limited equipment of just 250 feet of hose wrapped around two pieces of pipe. 


It didn’t take long to figure out the Fire Department needed more. A serious fire in the business district helped convince city leaders that additional support was necessary. Between the city and Chief Grow himself, $150 was raised to ultimately purchase a hose cart and an additional 250 feet of hose. The cart was so heavy that the city offered $1 to anyone who had a team of horses and was willing to help pull it.


Another big year for the Mansfield Fire Department. The department decided it was time for its first permanent building. The city provided funds, but not the labor. Fire Department personnel built it themselves in ONE day! The 14 X 20 foot building was built on the back lot of the chief’s lumber yard and it was painted bright red.


By this time motorized vehicles of all types were starting to appear. It was the first time the Mansfield Fire Department became motorized. Its single truck carried just one piece of equipment, and it was a major step into the automotive age.


By this time, the Fire Hall building had grown to 20 X 20 feet and was wholly owned by the city. However, another serious fire resulted in big changes for the Fire Department. A fire that started at the Farmer’s Lumber Company nearly destroyed the west side of Mansfield. The magnitude of the fire prompted a major reorganization of the department in October of that year. Welding shop owner, Raymond Miller, better known as “Bulldog”, became the new chief. There were now three trucks in the department. They were older trucks that carried water tanks, and could pump up to 500 gallons of water per minute.  A year later, a 4th truck joined the department, (Mansfield’s first factory-built fire truck) which was a used model bought from Navy surplus.

Three Fire Trucks Parked at the Fire Department