History

In a small paragraph in The Grapevine Telephone newspaper Volume 1, Number 36 dated December 5, 1884, it states that “ The Grapevine Fire Company does not seem to be under very good government as it has failed to have any meeting for some time.”

No other record of the Department until 1907.

In May, 1907, V. M. Washam is appointed as Fire Chief of the 13 member all volunteer “Bucket Brigade.” Bucket Brigade members include D. E. Austin, O. P. Turnage, Earl Yates, John Starr, F. T. Estill, B. H. Yancy, John Lemons, Will May, M. M. Dye, Paul Biggs and John Pence.

1908 Wall Brothers agrees to pull the fire wagon with horses for free if needed.

On January 20, 1909, Mayor W. R. Cook appoints a committee consisting of B. H. Yancy, O. R. Barton and J. E. Foust to draft a constitution and bylaws to govern the fire company.

On November 16 an ordinance is introduced to authorize Wall Brothers to construct and maintain a gas light and water works system. The franchise is granted on December 21, 1909, for a consideration of $5 per annum. The Wall Brothers dug a well and installed a few water lines to the homes on the east side of Main Street.

1912; The first fire hydrants are authorized for purchase and installation. Alderman O. O. Hollingsworth and Robert Mullinax are appointed as a committee to investigate the fire plug proposition.

1915; The City authorizes a payment of $2 to the Fire Chief for each fire he attends with his team.

1916; The position of Grapevine Fire Marshal is established.

1917 On February 17, the first major piece of firefighting equipment is authorized for purchase for $300. Purchased is an REO truck with soda and acid tanks. This is Grapevine’s first motorized fire truck.

1921 The Grapevine Fire Department is chartered with the State of Texas, and B. B. Tidmore is appointed Fire Chief. Mr. Tidmore serves until 1929.

1924; On September 27, a special election is held to consider the issuance of $60,000 in bonds for the construction of a water works system. The issue is approved by a vote of 153 for and 8 against.

1925; On May 1, Ordinance No. 25-29 is passed regulating traffic during a fire. 
  
On June 25, Ordinance No. 25-03 is passed creating the Office of Fire Marshal.

On November 6, Ordinance No. 25-04 is passed establishing an Arson Reward. 
  
1926 A fire destroys a major portion of the City’s records. E. E. Lowe serves as Mayor through 1932. F. Vorderkunz serves as City Secretary.

1928 A new Ford Model “A” is purchased and equipped with fire hose and a large chemical-tank fire extinguisher. It is housed at Main and Texas Streets. A fire alarm, not to exceed $5, is authorized for purchase. E. C. Daniel joins the bucket brigade.

1929 C. C. Coleman is appointed as Fire Chief and serves until his death in 1937. Chief Coleman forms the “Fireman’s Co-Operative Association,” consisting of the fire departments of Grapevine, Grand Prairie, Lewisville and Carrolton. Its mission is to share resources and information. They also hold regularly scheduled contests of a foot race, wagon pull and special ‘ladies’ race.

On April 24, 1930, E. L. Jordan requests that the City Secretary pay the $15 dues to the State Firemen’s Association for the year - $10 for the department and $5 for the fire marshal. He states that “this may seem somewhat expensive in a way, yet your attention is called to the fact that the department furnishes its services free gratis.”

1932; Grapevine Fire Department is the recipient of $7.50 for winning the Fireman’s Co-Operative Association foot race.

1937; E. C. Daniel is appointed Fire Chief and serves until 1941.

On March 3, 1945, the Rivers & Harbors Act becomes law authorizing the building of lakes and dams essential to the growth and welfare of people living in the area. This creates the way for the building of the Dam and Lake Grapevine.

On October 13, 1948, the City purchases a 1 ½ ton, Class 500, 1943 International K-5 Pumper Fire Truck for $3,500 from Executive Transport Corporation. In 2007, the City of Grapevine still has this fire truck and it runs!

1949; The Grapevine Fire Department becomes a charter member of the Tarrant County Volunteer Fire Fighters Association, enabling neighboring cities to combine resources and to provide a county-wide radio system. There are 26 volunteers in the department. The City begins paying $3 per fireman per year into the Fireman’s Relief and Retirement Fund.

1950; Mayor Gordon Tate gives a bonus to members of the Grapevine Fire Department – a $3 credit each month on their water and sewer bills. The City Council also approves the purchase of a box of candy for each fireman at Christmas. 
  
There is a big fire in Grapevine, and the volunteers fight it all night long. Brother Carroll Jackson, pastor of the First Baptist Church, is one of the fire fighters. 
  
In August, City Secretary O. L. Williams inquires about a fire prevention ordinance which would prohibit the development of motion picture films within the city limits and regulating the handling of nitrocellulose motion picture film.

The City purchases a building on the east side of the 400 block of South Main Street and creates the first City Hall housing the city offices, police station, fire department and library.

In September, 1952, Chief Thomas suffers a heart attack and dies while attending the Abbots

Place fire in Smithfield (now North Richland Hills). Jake C. Greener succeeds Chief Thomas.

1953; Harold Lowe is appointed Fire Chief.

1954; Jake C. Greener is appointed Fire Chief and holds this position for the next 30 years.

On February 17, 1955, the Grapevine Fire Department Auxiliary is organized. Mrs. Ed Langley is the first president. Their mission is to help in time of disaster.

On January 20, 1959, Ordinance No. 59-02 passes citing fireworks as a nuisance.

1963; A new Fire Station is dedicated in February at the corner of Main and Texas Streets.

On October 6, 1965, Ordinance No. 64-19 passes designating the primary and secondary fire limits, types of construction, permits and inspections.

In July, Ed Davis and Jack Hodges become the first paid firemen at a salary of $325 per month. 
 
In August, Mrs. Laura Allen begins dispatching from the fire station for a salary of $250 per month.

In December, 1973, Fire Chief Greener becomes the first paid Fire Chief for the City. He began his service in 1940 and served for 44 years until his retirement in 1984.

On April 5, 1977, Ordinances No. 77-16, No. 77-17 and No. 77-18 pass adopting the 1976 Edition of the Uniform Fire Code, the 1973 Edition of the Uniform Mechanical Code and the 1975 Edition of the Plumbing Code recommended by the Texas Municipal League.

On June 19, 1979, Ordinances No. 79-20 and No. 79-30 pass, requiring Police and Fire Department personnel to take biannual physicals, and changing the mandatory retirement requirement from age 65 to 70 to comply with 29 USC 621.

1980; Fire Station No. 2 is built at 2801 Panhandle.

1981; Fire Station No. 3 is built on Timberline.

1984; Billy Alvin Powers becomes Fire Chief upon the retirement of Jake Greener. Chief Powers began his career in April 1955. In November 1973 he switched from volunteer to paid status as a Shift Captain and Fire Marshal.

On September 3, 1985, Ordinance No. 85-40 passes requiring a City Employee Safety Policy. Ordinance No. 85-44 passes establishing a 27-day work cycle for firemen.

1986; Fire Chief Powers introduces paramedics into the Emergency Medical Service and transforms every ambulance into a Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU).

On February 2, 1988, Ordinance No. 88-10 passes amending Chapters 7 and 11, requiring smoke detectors.

1990; The Central Fire Station and Administration Offices are moved to a new, large facility at 601 Boyd Street. The Fire Department grows to four fire stations with a fifth under construction and 80 department personnel under the leadership of Chief Powers.

1992; Fire Station No. 4 opens at 4500 Merlot.

On October 12, 1995, a fire severely damages the B&D Mills destroying the wooden structure and damaging the steel structure that was built around it. The following day, a previously scheduled National Trust for Historic Preservation tour comes to Grapevine and shares in Grapevine’s sadness.

1997; The City of Grapevine gives an ambulance to its Sister City, Parras de la Fuente, Mexico.

1999; Work begins on Fire Station No. 5 at 2801 Grapevine Mills Boulevard.

In September, David B. Anderson becomes Fire Chief and serves until June 2005. His career began in Grapevine in 1973. Under his leadership the Fire Department greatly increases its technical rescue capabilities due to the large hotels being built in Grapevine.

2004; Grapevine Fire Department is upgraded to a #2 Insurance Service Office Rating.

On August 1, 2005, Steve Bass is appointed as Fire Chief. He comes to Grapevine most recently having served as Deputy City Manager in Bedford; he was also Deputy Fire Chief at the City of Dallas and was Fire Chief in Bedford.

2007; Work begins on a fire sprinkler project to protect buildings in the historic downtown area. Sharron Spencer initiates this project.

Fourteen cities of Northeast Tarrant county come together to form the Northeast Fire Department Association to provide a coordinated response within these cities and to provide for Special Operations within the same region.

On August 30, 2014, Darrell Brown is appointed as Fire Chief. Chief Brown served as the Deputy Chief over the Operations Division prior to being named as the Chief. He previously worked for the Lewisville Fire Department where he was the Assistant Chief over Support Services. At the same time, Stuart Grant was appointed as Deputy Chief over the Operations Division. Chief Grant came to Grapevine from the Dallas Fire department where he was the Deputy Chief of Special Operations.

October 2014, a new position is funded for the Battalion Chief of EMS. Brent Irving is appointed to this position.

February 2015, The Department begins a new phase of EMS direction with a change to BEST EMS to provide continuing education, medical direction and protocols.

February 2016, all apparatus was installed with CradlePoint Wi-Fi connectivity and new tablet computers.

August 10, 2016, Grapevine EMS awarded the SUPER STAR Award from Baylor Scott & White – Grapevine for exceptional care of patients.

December 2016, Department administration reorganized with two Assistant Chiefs, a Fire Marshal, an Emergency Management Coordinator, and two Division Chiefs. One over Training and the other over EMS..
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