MCQUEENEY VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT HISTORY
Early in 1975, the McQueeney Lions Club promoted the idea of a volunteer fire department in the McQueeney area and paid all the necessary fees to obtain the state charter which was issued on Nov. 10, 1975. With the assistance of the Lions Club, the Seguin Fire Department and Guadalupe County, some equipment were obtained and a recruitment drive instituted in January 1976.
The first public meeting of the new board of directors was held on March 23, 1976 to inform the community of progress and set dates for approving necessary organization paperwork and to schedule an election of officers. At a March 31, 1976 community meeting attended by 60 residents, the first officers were elected: Jim Porter – Chief; David Nading – Ass’t. Chief: Chick Rutter – President; Sonny Reiger – Vice President; Bob Faulk – Secretary; and Harold Zahler – Treasurer. At that meeting, it was announced that $846 had been raised for the department and land for a fire station had been donated by Bob Dyess. With the assistance of the Seguin Fire Department and Guadalupe County, a 1968 Ford flatbed truck was obtained and converted to a fire truck, ready for operation by April 1976. Dispatching for calls was handled by the Seguin Fire Department until the 911 system was implemented in 2000 when The Sheriff’s department became the County Dispatch center. A ladies auxiliary was also organized and assisted with several fundraising efforts. The department’s annual chicken BBQ fundraiser and the annual Fish Fry season opener at Hot Shot’s restaurant always attracted large crowds and were a major financial boost.
It was not long before the new department was tested: On July 19, 1976, a residential fire occurred, followed by an industrial plant fire an hour later that required resources on-scene for almost 24 hours. The newly formed department was assisted by Seguin FD, New Braunfels FD, Marion VFD, New Berlin VFD, and Randolph Field FD. In the first year of its existence, the department responded to 3 building fires and 13 brush/grass fires. In March 1977, a building fund drive was started for construction of the fire station/community center. After many fundraising efforts and a lot of hard work the station was finally completed and in August 1978, A 1942 Mack Fire Pumper was purchased from the San Antonio Fire Department, outfitted and housed in the new station. About 65 calls were responded to that year.
Some major milestones over the years are:
- In 1979, David Nading was elected as chief, and a 4 wheel drive Dodge brush truck was obtained with the help of the Texas Forest Service.
- In 1980, Guy Weldon was elected as chief and served until 1987. In 1982 Station 2 was built in McQueeney Estates, on land donated by Harold Tschirhart, and a new Atlas pumper was purchased with a $50,000 loan from USDA. In 1986 another new pumper was purchased for $68,000 and the Mack was retired.
- In 1986 the only two female firefighters in the department also became the first certified Emergency Care Attendants in the department, soon to be followed by 5 members who became the first EMT’s in the department in 1988. With these members available, the department started responding to medical calls as well as fires, and the response volume quickly grew from about 30 calls per year to over 200 that year.
- In 1987, Gerald Blume was elected chief and served until 1998.
- A new Ford brush truck was purchased in 1990 and the 1968 ford was modified and repurposed to serve as a rescue truck, equipped with a set of hydraulic extrication tools along with other rescue and medical equipment.
- In 1998, Tim Bogisch was elected as Chief and almost immediately was put to the test by the October 1998 floods. After that experience, we realized the boat we had was not suitable for fast flowing water, and shortly thereafter a new Zodiac-style inflatable boat was purchased for water rescues.
- A second Ford brush truck was purchased in 2002 and the old Texas Forest Service Dodge brush truck was retired.
- In 2008 a new Dodge brush truck was purchased to replace the 1990 Ford. Two new Pierce pumpers were purchased in 2000 and 2010 to replace the 1982 and 1985 pumpers. In 2013 a new Ford rescue truck with new hydraulic extrication tools was put into service, finally retiring the original 1968 Ford. A new command vehicle was purchased in 2016.
Over the years, the McQueeney Volunteer Fire Department has responded to many notable fires including the old flour mill behind CMC-Steel, the Schummansville Dance Hall, the Pamrod building, Walnut Springs Bakery in Seguin, the Penshorn’s fire in Marion, several fires at CMC-Steel and a number of other large structure fires in New Braunfels, Seguin and the surrounding areas.
Today, the fire department, still all volunteer, responds to an average of 380 calls each year along with a number of public fire education events throughout the community.