San Antonio Museum Honors City Firefighters

SAN ANTONIO — A special museum in San Antonio is dedicated to the city’s firefighters. The building that houses the fire museum is a former fire station built in the 1930s.

“From the fire station we ran an engine and two ladder trucks that had been parked here for quite a while,” said retired firefighter and museum volunteer Hector Cardenas. “For us, it is important to tell the story. We lived through some of that history, but we didn’t know the origin story until we started digging into it.

In the 1800s, the city’s firefighters were volunteers, they began to be paid in the 1890s. In time, engine-equipped fire engines would replace horse-drawn equipment. Black firefighters joined the force in the 1960s, and female firefighting crews joined the department in 1979. One of the walls in the museum is dedicated to those who died in the line of duty.

“It’s part of the brotherhood that you lose and you never want to forget them because it’s the greatest sacrifice when you lay down your life for others,” Cardenas said.

This brotherhood continues today at the museum told in pictures, in the old leather fire bucket on display and with the firefighters who have returned to teach a bit of history.

“As long as we have firefighters who dedicate their lives to the profession, I think they’ll enjoy staying here and talking about those old days,” Cardenas said.

About Carlos V. Mitchell

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