Organization of the First Department
In 1855, the Navarro County Court House was destroyed by fire. At that time there were no fire or water departments. The only source of water was underground cisterns at street crossings. On September 13, 1879, a group of civic-minded merchants met to discuss the organization of a fire department. These men were:
C.H. Allyn, J.Y. Bates, F.W. Carruthers, Cerf, J.M. Eainwater, A. Ferguson, L. Fewell, A,Fox, J. Garritty, R.P. Darne, , Goodman, C.W. Jester, Johnson, Kamsler, U.M. Lee, Mallory, C.C. Marshall, N.J. Mills, Raphael, A.J. Robins, J.W. Rogers, Miller Tarder, Stephen Smith, S.F. Starley J.B.Stephens, J.B. Stiteler, J.J. Strupper, J.P. Vance, A.M. Wilson, and C.N. Winkler.
Corsicana Hose Company #1
On December 29, 1879, the first volunteer Fire Department was organized with 25 town merchants. The department obtained a charter under the name of "Corsicana Hose Company #1." J.J. Strupper was the department’s first Chief and Abe Mulky the Assistant Chief. The department was equipped with buckets and ropes. Later, a hand pump drawn by two horses was acquired. This pump took four men to operate it.
In 1892, F.N. Drane was Fire Chief. He obtained a new fire engine, one hook and ladder, two horse-drawn carriages, and six horses. He also obtained a new building to house the fire department. He bought 2,300 feet of hose and a $1,600 sound alarm bell. During his tenure, Chief Drane saw a need for an extended water supply. Deep wells were bored and at 2,200 feet a hot mineral spring was found. This well greatly increased the water supply for fire protection, but the water could not be used for drinking purposes. In 1892, there were 16 volunteer firefighters.
In 1923, the city lake (Lake Halbert) was bore. It was at this time that the lake was used as the primary source of water for firefighting.
Organization of Present Department
In 1924, our present department was organized and the city went to an all paid department. The fire bell sound alarm was discontinued and an electric alarm system was installed. The steam engine pumpers were discarded and replaced with an automobile truck pumper.
In 1926, the hook and ladder companies were disbanded and the present system was started. The men worked 12 straight days and had day 13 off. In 1943, they worked seven days and had the eighth day off. In 1946, they would work two days and get the third day off, then they worked for three days and would be off the fourth day. In 1953, the shifts were changed to work 24 hours and then would be off for 24 hours.
Present Routine & Operations
In 1974, the present routine was established. The department went to a three-platoon system, working for 24 hours and being off for 48 hours. With Duane Womack’s arrival in 1974, the department had a central station and four substations. Upon his recommendation, one of the substations was closed.
The three shifts (A, B, and C) had two captains: a shift commander and one station commander on each shift. The shift commander worked out of Central Station. There was a station commander for each of the three substations.
Change of Staff (1980’s)
In 1986, as the last of the station commanders retired, the position of lieutenant was established. The result of the initial civil service test for that position promoted seven firefighters. Presently, there are three lieutenants and a captain (shift commander) on each shift.
January 1988 brought Troy England to Corsicana as the new Fire Chief. He was a retired Deputy Chief from the Dallas Fire Department. Upon his arrival, the infrastructure of the department changed drastically. An incident command system and later an emergency operation accountability system was adopted as the standard operating procedures for the department.
January 1, 1999 - April 4, 2018
Chief Donald McMullan came to us as a retired Fire Chief from the Lancaster Fire Department. During Chief’s 19 years of dedicated service to the City of Corsicana he not only served as the Fire Chief, but also as the Emergency Management Coordinator for the City and the Director for the EMS Service. He was successful in the implementation of many projects.
In 2000, he was able to obtain a fire safety house and implement a training program for elementary school students within the City about the importance of fire safety.
In 2002, Chief McMullan was instrumental in the development and implementation of our fire based ambulance service, by adding four ambulances and 24 new employees. The Corsicana Emergency Subscription Program was started to help the citizens of Navarro County. Corsicana Fire Rescue currently provides Emergency Medical Services to all of the citizens of Corsicana and Navarro County. By doing this it created an increased level of service to the citizens and increased the staffing within the fire department from 38 total members to a current staff of 69 members.
Through his work with the city he added 2 more ambulances, replaced 4 Fire Engines, added a Ladder Truck, a Hazmat/Rescue Truck, and a rescue boat to the fire departments fleet.
March 26, 2018 - Current
Chief Paul Henley came to us from Frisco Fire Department, where he served as Battalion Chief. He was a former Captain for the Garland Fire Department. He brings with him 15 years of experience in the Fire Service as well as numerous accreditations.