History of the Mesquite Fire Department
The Mesquite Fire Department was established as a volunteer department by the Mesquite Town Council in July 1912. Mayor W. W. Bennett appointed Alva Summers as Fire Marshal, making him the City’s first paid firefighter. A. F. Gross was selected as Fire Chief. In 1927 the Department’s first motorized fire equipment, a truck built by the REO Motor Car Company and equipped with a Raney and Tobey Co. pump, was purchased, and a building was rented at Main and Galloway to house the new REO. This would become Mesquite’s first fire station.
New equipment was purchased in the 40s, and the Mesquite Volunteer Fire Department became part of a county-wide fire protection program in 1946. Under the direction of Fire Chief J. F. Richardson, a new fire station was constructed by firefighters and completed by the end of 1947 behind City Hall. In December 1957, James Lewis was hired as the first full-time paid Fire Chief, and a new era began when the Council approved converting the Mesquite Fire Department from a volunteer department to a paid department. A new central fire station was opened in April 1958 at 320 S. Galloway, and seven new firefighters were hired to staff the station 24/7.
Fire Station 2 was added in 1960 to keep up with the growth of the city, and the Department continued to expand, opening Station 3 in April 1962 and Station 4 in early 1964. In August of that year, firefighters organized a local association: the Mesquite Firefighters Association Local No. 1518.
The 1970s brought some major equipment purchases, as well as the burn house and burn pit for training exercises. Station 5 opened in October of 1973, and by 1979, the total number of personnel in the Department had reached 97.
The Department’s paramedic program began in 1983, with four Mesquite firefighters completing training at UT Southwestern. Station 6 opened in April 1985. It was the first of its kind in Mesquite and was constructed to blend in with the neighborhood it serves. In the late 1980s, electronic technology emerged with Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD), the 911 phone system and the 800 MHz radio system.
In December of 1993, Station 7 opened its doors. This station was built under the same design concept as Station 6, with a pitched roof and residential appeal. It includes an alternate dispatch site, complete with computers and radios for full emergency operations communications (EOC).
By the year 2000, paramedic continuing education was made available online, prompting the Department to make the “net” available in our stations. Another firefighting tool introduced during this time was the thermal imaging camera (TIC). The TIC improved safety for firefighters and increased the speed with which victims and fires are located in emergencies. In November 2003, implementation of the Mobile Data Computer program began, revolutionizing the way our firefighters receive information from dispatch. The Electronic Patient Care Reporting System was implemented in 2009.
The Mesquite Fire Department currently employs 199 sworn personnel and seven civilians. After many improvements to the Department, water system and emergency communications system, the Insurance Services Office (ISO) designated Mesquite’s Public Protection Classification (PPC) as Class 1, a distinction we have held since March 1, 2007.