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The original item was published from 9/1/2022 2:43:53 PM to 9/9/2022 12:00:03 AM.

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Posted on: September 1, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Did You Know The PAFD Was Established Before Port Arthur?

Fire Chief Benson collage

FACT: The year before Port Arthur was established as a city in Texas, the Port Arthur Fire Department was created. This was just one of the details of the 125-year history of the Port Arthur Fire Department. And before the shiny red fire engines, the water was horse-drawn.. Here are other historical milestones covered in the presentation given by Chief Greg Benson at the Bob Bowers Civic Center on Wednesday:

  • It was decided to create a fire department on August 19, 1897, at an executive meeting of the Port Arthur Club.
  • The first item to be purchased was a “good fire bell” which was to be set up on a tower to warn citizens of fire. … the first horse-drawn apparatus was purchased.
  • The first fire station was located under the two-story city hall building on Austin Avenue between 5th and 6th Streets.
  • 1908 was the beginning of a paid department, when one full-time driver was hired, supplementing the horse-drawn apparatus. 
  • Also in 1908, John Gates (co-founder of Port Arthur) installed the water works (hydrants) with fire plugs.
  • A new two-story building was put in service as the fire station at Waco and 4th Street in 1913, which also housed the Police station and City Hall.
  • In 1913 two stations were built: No. 2 at Houston Avenue and Thomas Boulevard and No. 3 at 5th  Street and Vicksburg.
  • By 1917, all horses were replaced with motorized equipment.

But that's not all the history. Read on... 

Please feel free to contact the Port Arthur Fire Department at 409-983-8738 or email us at with any questions.  

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