History of the Huntsville Fire Department

The Huntsville Fire Department met for the first time on Friday, November 6, 1925 at 7:30 p.m. for the purpose of organizing a fire department. Mayor Tom Ball was the presiding official. City Council members attending were H.O. Leigh, Ben Estine, and Joe Henson. An oyster supper was enjoyed and C.E. Bobbitt made a short talk as to what the City Council had planned to do in the way of equipping the city with an up-to-date fire department. It was stated that a very up-to-date chemical and pump truck would be in the hands of the local fire department within the next thirty (30) days. There was also a statement made about plans to build a new two story brick fire house. At this meeting, the following officers were elected: Fire Chief: C.E. Bobbitt, Asst. Chief: Phil Bowden, Secretary: W.P. Mallery, Jr., Treasurer: J.R. King, Jr.

The following were applicants for membership to the Huntsville Fire Department and were appointed by the Fire Chief: F. Shannon, Lee Kirkland, Ford Miller, Arthur Anders, W.P. Ball,Sam Robbins, Phil Bowden, J. Robert King, Jr., J.B. McDaniel, John O. Hamblin, S.C. Baldwin, Harvey A. Boudeaux, W.B. Carr, W.P. Mallery, Jr., Ben C. Eastine, Dock McCullough, Morris Seligman, Brady McCullough, J.W. Mallery, Elliston Humphrey, Bowden Hamblin, George Osburn, August Tampke.

The first fire on record made by the newly organized fire department was on Sunday, November 15, 1925. It was at the old Gillaspie home in north Huntsville. The records state that sparks from the Gillaspie house caught three other houses on fire at the same time. The records also state that the firemen were able to save the three houses but the Gillaspie house burned down.

The first record of a fire truck being used is on November 16, 1925 at a fire in the L.A. Northington residence. The fire was caused by a flue burning out and no damage was reported.

The fire department's first fire house was located on 11th Street just east of the courthouse square. It is still standing and is currently owned by Jim Standefer. The fire department used this building from the mid 1920's to about 1959 when the station at 14th Street and Avenue M was built. Fire Station #2 was constructed at 22nd Street and Sam Houston Avenue in 1973. A third station was built at the end of the City Service Center building in August, 1980. The Huntsville Fire Department now has three fire stations and 17 pieces of equipment. These are manned by six full-time firefighters and 40 part-time firefighters.

In February, 1985 due to legal questions about liability to the City of Huntsville regarding the Huntsville Volunteer Fire Department actions, the City took over the volunteer department making all its members part-time employees. Joe French was appointed the first full-time Chief of the department.