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New Museum Details San Antonio’s Firefighting History

Antebellum rifle, older trucks among exhibits housed in old Fire Station No. 1

What began as a pipe dream by five firefighters in 1997 became a reality last May, when the San Antonio Fire Museum finally opened its doors to the public.

Housed in old Fire Station No. 1, just a hose spray away from the Alamo, the museum introduces visitors to the history and heroism of a group that grew along with the city. Exhibits span from 1854, when a rowdy band of eager volunteers was formed just 18 years after the Alamo fell, to 1891, when the SAFD became a paid department, and on through to the present day.

Artifacts include a pre-Civil War Columbian rifle used for shooting rescue lines, a 1927 American LaFrance truck, not-so-gently-used helmets and hoses, telegraph dispatches and a “lifesaving machine,” more commonly known as a rescue net used in the 19th and 20th centuries to catch people jumping from burning buildings.

Active and retired firefighters volunteer as docents, lending an authentic touch to the brave tales. By visiting, you can step into their well-worn boots and learn what it takes to be a hero. So stop, drop and roll on over.

801 E. Houston St., 210.390.7236

Historic fire trucks
Trucks used in San Antonio's firefighting past. (©San Antonio Fire Museum Society)