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Our Mission: To deliver the highest quality service by protecting our community through risk reduction, emergency response, and public service.

Our Vision: We are committed to become a nationally recognized, full-service Fire Department.

Our Core Values: Service Partnership Integrity Respect Innovation Trust

    About Your Abilene Fire Department  
  The Abilene Fire Department has served the Citizens of Abilene and parts of Taylor and Jones Counties since 1886. The Department has a rich heritage and exciting history full of stories, pictures, and Hero-Like Characters. Currently our Department provides Fire, EMS First Responder, Hazardous Material Response, Public Education/Injury Prevention, and many more services to Abilene and the surrounding area. 

AFD History Time Line 

This is a collection of events in Abilene Fire Department history. They have been taken from several different sources.


This is a work in progress. We will try to work on it as much as reasonably possible. There are a group of current AFD members that are working on putting together the past history of the department. If you have any information that might help in the overall research of the Abilene Fire Department, it's members, or related history, please let us know. We would be very grateful.

  • 3/15/1881    Abilene Incorporated. Bucket Brigade formed.

  • 8/27/1881    A fire broke out about midnight in a business district of Abilene. The fire wiped out a block on South 1st from Oak to Chestnut. The blaze started in the T.S. Horn Saloon in the middle of the block and spread east and west. Volunteer Firemen roused by the firing of a pistol formed a bucket brigade to battle the flames., but two hours later the major part of the downtown district was destroyed. 

  • 1883    Beginning of Cameron Dam on Lytle Creek. Pioneer Hook and Ladder formed. 1st apparatus kept behind Pat O'Grady's Blacksmith shop. Later moved to N1st & Cedar.

  • 1886    Rescue Hose Company #2 formed. It is kept at N2nd & Cypress. Later moved to N1st & Cedar.

  • Star Hose Company #3 formed. It is kept in a stable behind O'Grady's Blacksmith shop, later moved to Fulwiler Brother's Livery Stable.

  • 3/26/1886    A fire broke out in P.H. Carter's residence corner of North 4th and Cypress Streets on Wednesday evening, and despite the heroic exertions of the members of the hose companies and citizens, it with two other dwellings near by were reduced to ashes in a very brief period of time. One of these was owned by F.C. Wheeler and occupied by John Sanders, and the other was owned by the senior Mr. Leggett and occupied by a Mr. Rhodes. Most of the contents of these houses were saved, though in a damaged condition. Mr. Carter's loss, over the insurance will reach at least $500. The loss to building and contents in each of the other cases will be nearly as much. The fire is supposed to have originated in a defective flue in Mr. Carter's kitchen. 

  • 5/14/1886    As soon as a permit can be obtained from division superintendent Keller, a building will be erected between the two tracks west of the freight depot for head quarters of the fire department.

  • 5/21/1886    The Star Hose Company will give a grand entertainment at the opera house next Tuesday night. Everybody is invited to attend and the public is assured that they will be pleasantly and agreeably entertained.

  • 6/25/1886    The Star Hose Company were compelled to move the hose cart from Mr. Grady's as he intends on using the building for a paint shop, and they have stuck it away in an old stable back of Mr. Watson's store.

  • 7/2/1886    The ladies have made a very fine silk flag for presentation to the Star Hose Company. The uniforms for the two Hose Companies and the Hook and Ladder Company were received this week. They consist of caps, belts, shirts, etc. The boys will make an imposing parade now and the news force will always turn out to see them whenever they go by.

  • 8/20/1886    The city is erecting a building for the Star Hose Company. The frame work is up and the iron to complete the job is expected daily. The house is situated on the lot adjoining Fulwiller Brothers Stables. It is 14X30 feet and will be a very comfortable place for the fire ladies and the "Star Boys" are deserving and proud of it.

  • 9/24/1886    Star Hose Company No. 3, are talking of entering the fireman's tournament at the Dallas State Fair in November.

  • 10/15/1886    The following is a list of the officers and members of the Star Hose Company No. 3, of the Abilene Fire Department:    D.W. Cowan (President), R.C. Hart (Vice-President), J.J. Clinton (Foreman), Ed Northup (1st Assistant), John Harris (2nd Assistant), Thomas Flournoy (Treasurer), James Beasley (Secretary), M.A. Hart and Henry Myers (Nozzle men), Henry Brown, W. M. McLemore and Edward Tarpley (Policemen), C.H. Lathrop, J.O. Phillips, W.A.Minter, and J.G.Martin (Hose Couplers), Other active members include: Charles Fulwiller, Edward Horn, Jack Haley, M.A. Hart, William Martin, S.L. Ralph, John Spalding, C.V. Tarpley, E.W. Watson, and J.B. Webb

  • 11/26/1886    The Abilene Fire Department are trying to raise funds to purchase a fire alarm bell for the south side of town. Committees are out from each company soliciting contributions. As this is a much needed enterprise we hope to see it successful. The bell will cost about $125.00

  • 1887 George Jalonick is Chief

  • 1/7/1887    The Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company held their annual meeting for election of officers, Tuesday the 4th. The following were elected for the ensuing year: Geo W. Jalonick (President), T.S.Rollins (Vice President), G.L. Eslinger (Secretary), W.G. Swanson (Treasurer), J.A. Pratt (Foreman), N.G. Rollins (1st Assistant), Gus Ackerman (2nd Assistant), Ross Hall (Steward), H.P. Weimer, W.A. Buck and J.G. Buck (Policemen). The Star Hose Company held a meeting at the company's meeting room January 3rd and elected officers for the ensuing year as follows: D.W. Cowan (President), R.C. Hart (Vice-President), J.J. Clinton (Foreman), John Harris (1st Assistant), Henry Brown (2nd Assistant), James Beasley (Secretary), Thomas Flournoy (Treasurer). At a meeting of the Rescue Hose Company No.2 on Monday night January 3rd, the following were elected for the ensuing year: Dr. R.N. Brown (President), John S. Brown (Vice-President), Nelson Pratt (Foreman), Robert Anderson (1st Assistant), Ed M. Wristen (2nd Assistant), John S. Brown (Secretary), Theo Heyck Jr. (Treasurer)

  • 1/14/1887    The committee to purchase the fire bell for the south side of town will hold a meeting tonight at B. Yates drug store on Chestnut street. About $20 more is needed, but the bell will be ordered at once. Star Hose Company held a meeting at the company's room on January 3rd, and elected officers for the ensuing year as follows: D.W. Cowan (President), R.C. Hart (Vice-President), J.J. Clinton (Foreman), John Harris (1st Assistant), Henry Brown (2nd Assistant), James Beasley (Secretary), Thomas Flournoy (Treasurer), Chas Fulwiller, O.V. Tarpley, and W.E. Mclemore (Policemen), Marsh Hart and E.F. Horn (nozzle men), Chas Thompson and Woods Armstrong (Assistant Nozzle men), J.G. Martin and J.O. Phillips (Plug Couplers), Chas Fulwiler and O.V. Tarpley (Carriage Couplers), E.W. Watson, S.L. Ralph and H.T. Tarpley (Axe men)

  • 9/30/1887    The Star Hose Company met to reorganize and Elect Officers to fill vacancies. William Fulwiler (President), M.A. Hart (2nd Assistant Foreman)

  • 1888    Terry Houser is Chief

  • 5/8/1888    The State Fireman's Convention opened in El Paso on May 9th. The city was decorated and grand street parade was give. Geo. W. Jalonick of Abilene was elected sixth Vice-President by acclamation.

  • 7/27/1888    There came very near being a destructive fire at Wm. Torrey's residence Monday. An explosion on a gasoline stove set the interior of the kitchen in a mass of flame, but with the timely arrival of neighbors saved the building from destruction. The alarm was sounded by both bells, and the Firemen got there in a remarkably quick time, but the blaze had been subdued and they had little to do. The damage to the furniture and the interior of the room is said to be about $50.

  • 8/10/1888    Rescue Hose Company No. 2 have a fine silk umbrella which will be raffled off at 25 cents a chance and the proceeds used in buying caps for the company to be used in the parade at the fair this fall. Mr. T.M. McKee the photographer has charge of the raffle.

  • 1/11/1889    The Abilene Fire Department held it's annual meeting last Monday night and elected the following department officers: J.J. Clinton, Chief; P.C. Knapp, Assistant Chief; W.G. Swanson, Secretary

  • The Star Hose Company No.3 Held it's meeting for election of officers Monday night with the following result: William Fulwiler, Foreman; E.S. Horne, 1st Assistant Foreman; J.G. Martin, 2nd Assistant Foreman; Horace Horne, Secretary; James Beasley, Treasurer.

  • Rescue Hose Company No.2 last Monday night elected their officers for the ensuing year as follows: P.C. Knapp, Foreman; T.A. Williams, 1st Assistant Foreman; W.A. Minter Jr. 2nd assistant Foreman; B.C. Clark, Secretary; R.J. Torrey, Treasurer.

  • 2/15/1889    Attention Firemen. The Mayor and the City Council will inspect the fire department at 2 P.M. on Friday Feb. 22nd. Foremen will report with their companies in full uniform at the department headquarters at the hour mentioned above. By order of J.J. Clinton, Chief----W.G. Swanson, Secretary.

  • 2/8/1889    An Oyster and fish supper will be given by the Star Hose Company, at the railroad hotel on the evening of February 22nd, and a grand ball will be given the same evening at the Wylie Hall. No pains or expense will be spared to make both the supper and the ball first-class in every respect. Everybody should attend.

  • 9/26/1889    The Dept. will parade Oct. 1st at 10 O'clock a.m. Foremen will report with their companies in full uniform at Department Headquarters. By order of J.J. Clinton, Chief A.F.D.    W.G. Swanson, Sec.

  • 11/15/1889    The Fire Department held it's annual election Wednesday night for election of officers for the ensuing year. J.J. Clinton was elected Chief and P.C. Knapp Assistant Chief. W.G. Swanson, who has served the department as secretary for four years was again nominated, but declined the honor, and Thos. Bledsoe was elected secretary of the department. 

  • 11/21/1889    Attention Firemen, You are herby notified that inspection by the mayor and city council will take place on Thursday, December 12th at 3 p.m. Firemen of each company are requested to be on hand at their respective positions at 2 p.m. by order of the Chief J.J. Clinton

  • 2/7/1890    The members of the hook and ladder company are appointed officers of the company and they will be obeyed and respected accordingly: J.A. Pratt, Foreman. Gus Ackermans, 1st assistant foreman, R.G. Hall, 2nd assistant Foreman. Claude Buck, Secretary. By order of J.J. Clinton, Chief AFD (T.A. Bledsoe, Secretary.

  • 4/23/1890    Wednesday night witnessed the most tremendous flood that ever visited this country perhaps, since the days of Noah. About eight O'clock a heavy rain begin and continued until about four in the morning. Lytle and Cedar creeks overflowed and below where the come together became a perfect sea. The water rushed under the T & P railroad bridge at a terrific rate and was nearly up to the tracks. A family encamped near the creek we surrounded and in great danger. They fired guns to attract attention. The fire bells rang and the fire boys went to the rescue. They put the family in a hack, tied a rope to the hack and pulled it ashore. Some of the boys deserve great credit for their heroic work.

  • 4/25/1890    Headquarters of the Abilene Fire Department. - The Chief of the department compliments the department on it's promptness, and especially some of it's members, to-wit: M.A. Hart, 1st assistant foreman Star hose company No.3; Will Minter, 1st assistant foreman rescue company No.2; and Private Ed Ringer, Rescue hose company No.2, for their bravery and devotion to duty on the night of April 23rd, 1890 for the rescue of the Sweet family from the ravages of high water.  

  • 5/9/1890    Rules for Fires. (published in the newspaper) - In escaping from a fire creep or crawl, with your face to the floor. Avoid all confusion. Admit no one but firemen, policemen, friend, or neighbor.  Aquatint yourself with the best means of exit, both at the top and the bottom of the house. If bed or curtain is on fire, beat on the flames with a woolen garment until extinguished. Do not go into apartment where there is a dense smoke, if you can help it, without a saturated sponge or handkerchief.

  • 7/25/1890    Attention Firemen - Foremen will report their companies at fire department headquarters, Monday, July 28th, at 8:30 P.M. for drill. Any company not reporting will be disbanded. Members not reporting with their companies, without a good excuse will be dropped from the rolls. By order of the J.J. Clinton, Chief F.D.- Thos. A. Bledsoe, Sec'y

  • 8/8/1890    Foreman Fulwiler, of Star Hose Company No.1, offers a gold medal, valued at $10, to the member of his company who answers to role call the most during the year.

  • 12/3/1890    Fire Boys and Band - A rare treat is in store for our people, for on the 12th the Abilene Fire Department and military band will give a grand street parade, and the fire boys will have their semi-annual inspection. At night a grand ball will be given at the courthouse, the proceeds of which will be divided between the fire department, and the band. Both these organizations are worthy of the patronage and encouragement of our people, and the parade and inspection should be witnessed by every citizen of Abilene, and everyone who has an interest in the future of this city should buy one or more tickets to the ball, no matter if they attend balls or ever patronize them. In this case, the support is not given to the dancing, but to a volunteer fire department, who's members give their time and money to keep up the organization, reduce insurance, and protect property from the ravages of fire; and to a band of music which is without an equal in the state of Texas, and an absolute necessity in the city. Our People are always generous, and we hope to see the sale of tickets in this case reach $500.     

  • 12/11/1890    The fire boys acquitted themselves nobly yesterday and won many an expression of praise from our citizens and visitors to the city.

  • 2/6/1891    The hook and ladder company held a meeting Wednesday night and elected Gus Ackerman a delegate to the State Fireman's Association which meets in San Antonio next May.

  • 2/5/1891    Attention Firemen! - The Fire Department will meet at the mayor's office Wednesday, February 7th at 7:30 p.m. Every fireman must be present. - By order of J.J. Clinton, Chief;   Thos. A. Bledsoe Secretary

  • 2/6/1891    Star house company no.3 at it's last meeting elected the following officers for the ensuing year. Glen Shackelford, President; Jas. Cunningham, Vice-President; Will Fulwiler, foreman; M.A. Hart, first assistant foreman; Geo. Peyton, second assistant foreman; H.R. Horne, Secretary; John Martin, Treasurer.

  • 3/20/1891    Attention Firemen: A meeting of the department will be held in the city hall Monday. March 23rd at 8 p.m. All firemen ordered to be present. J.J. Clinton, Chief. T. A. Bledsoe, Secretary.

  • 3/27/1891    Fire was discovered at T.M. Cole's cotton yard Saturday night. The fire department did all it could, but most of the bales were burned, wet, and damaged.

  • 4/10/1891    Election of Officers - At a recent meeting of  Rescue hose company No.2, the following Officers were elected:  Foreman, P.C. Knapp; 1st Assistant, W.A. Minter; 2nd Assistant, R.G. Torrey; Secretary, B.C. Clark; Pipemen, W.A. Minter and R.G. Torrey

  • 4/24/1891    Fireman's Concert: Today April 24th. Consisting of firemen, family and citizens performing Instrumentals, Duet's, Recitations, Solos, Quartet, and Chorus.

  • 4/24/1891    The Fire Department will give a public drill and parade and have an inspection on Tuesday afternoon, April 28th. At night a concert will be held at Armory Hall. Everybody should attend. the boys deserve your recognition and aid and will feel flattered by your presence at their concert.

  • 5/29/1891    The Star House Company No.3 disbanded on Tuesday night and handed over their house cart, helmets, and belts to the city on account of the city refusing to furnish them with a horse in case of a fire. There are but few property holders among our gallant firemen and those interested showed no interest. Now the rate of insurance will probably be increased and those that are interested perhaps, may do something to reorganize the company.

  • 7/10/1891    Sunday, about one o'clock, the two-story frame building on Pine street, just north of N. Potter's saddlery store, was discovered to be on fire and an alarm was sounded by all the fire bells in the city. The fire companies responded promptly and did noble and effective work and in a very short time had the fire extinguished, not withstanding the fact that the whole upper story was in a blaze when they reached it. The lower story was occupied with Browning & Co's grocery store and their tock was saved. with slight damage. The upper story was occupied by G.E. Ward's photograph gallery and everything in it was a total loss. This falls heavily upon Mr. Ward as he was well fitted up in his line of business. Being thrown out of business is a serious matter outside the loss sustained. He was insured for $800, but this amount will not half cover his losses. He had in his gallery $300 worth of finished and undeliverable work which is an additional loss. Browning & Co had a small amount of insurance, probably enough to cover the loss. James Condon had the building insured for $1000 which will cover his loss. The origin of the fire is unknown. Whether it occurred from spontaneous combustion of chemicals or otherwise will never be known. Had the fire department not responded as quickly as they did the damage to other property would undoubtably been great. The people appreciate the value of their efforts and made up a handsome purse for their benefit on the grounds. On Monday Geo. Walshe presented them with $25, J.G. Lowden with $50, G.A. Kirkland with $20, and N. Porter with a fine set of harness valued at $30. Other gentlemen will do a liberal part towards putting our fire department upon a good, sound working basis. 

  • 7/17/1891    A meeting of the Abilene Fire Department was held in the Mayor's office Monday night. It was called to order by the Chief. Gus Ackerman and J.A. Pratt approved minutes from last meeting. O.W. Steffens was unanimously elected President of the fire department for the ensuing year. B.B. Kenyon was elected Vice-President . R.G. Torrey and W.M. Fulwiler suggested the Chief appoint a committee to sell the harness given by N. Porter. They also agreed that all money now on hand be left as a department fund. The Chief will appoint a committee (T.A.Bledsoe, W.M. Daniels, and J.M. Cunningham) to draft a resolution of thanks to the citizens for their donations. The meeting was adjourned. These are some of the names listed for giving donations: W.A Gray, N. Porter, Abilene National Bank, Geo W. Walshe & Co, G.A. Kirkland, J.C. Condon, G.A. Witt, J.V. Cunningham, Henery Pratt, Geo S Berry, W. Norwood, Long, Dr. Anderson, W. Chols, G.L. Benz, W.S. O. Johnson, E.E. Radford, E.E. Hearne, G.F. Foust, J.W. Conts, Smith, J.H. Parramore, W.M. Natz, H.Young, D.J Reed, Bob Malone, Graves & Co, Chas Bass, R.J. Baun, Dr. D.R.Fowler, Jim Yeiser, Williams, John WIlliams, Dave Williams, Coats Berry, Dick Bracken, Rube Payton, D.L.Middleton, and D.B. Matthews. 

  • 7/17/1891    We, the undersigned committee appointed by the Fire Department to draft resolutions expressing our thanks to the citizens of Abilene for their recent liberal donations and willingness to lend their impartial aid and support which was expressed in their last business meeting, therefore, we the committee tender our most sincere thanks to the citizens for their liberal donations and expressions of encouragement. Trusting that in the future we will always have their hearty co-operation. Respectively, T.A. Bledsoe, J.M. Cunninham, W.M. Daniels, and J.J. Clinton.   

  • 8/7/1891    The fire department met Monday night in the City Hall, President Steffens in the chair. The committee appointed last meeting to draft constitution and by-laws submitted them to the department section by section and with but slight modification, both instruments were adopted unanimously. THe department extended thanks to the Lakeview addition. The president ordered a meeting of board of fire directors to be held Thursday evening to district off the city.

  • 8/7/1891    The city of Abilene shall be divided into four fire districts and that same be divided East and West by the Texas and Pacific railroad and that all district East of Sycamore street and South of railroad be known as district #1; all East of Cedar and North of railroad be district#2; all West of Cedar and North of railroad district #3; All West of Sycamore and South of railroad be district #4. Also that all alarms shall be general alarms and that the district then be designated by the taps of the fire bell.

  • 9/11/1891    Fire Department Meeting. Motion made to send a list of active members to the district clerk. Miss McConochie was made an honorary member of the Abilene Fire Department. The resignation of Secretary Bledsoe was reluctantly received and accepted. (He is going to school in Huntsville) Lige Harkrider was elected to fill that position. A department drill will be held next September 14th. All firemen are ordered to be present.

  • 9/18/1891    Fire Department meeting. Approval for the Taylor County news to print the by-laws and constitution. The harness that was donated to the department was sold, but returned again by Mr. Flournoy. A committee was appointed to get prices for badges for J.J. Clinton and Gus Ackerman.

  • 11/2/1891    Fire Department meeting. A decision was made to hold a public entertainment at the opera house. The annual election of officers will be held on the 13th. A Resolution was adopted: All yearly reports of the officers of the fire department be handed into the Secretary of the department before the night of the 2nd Friday of November each year and to be acted on by the department at that time.

  • 11/6/1891    The city has been making a very nice and much needed improvement with the Star Hose Company in the way of fixing up a neat bunk room. The back part of the hose house has been cut off, making a sleeping room of about 14 feet square. and has been nicely painted and pampered. The floor has nice carpet and two clean double beds and a bureau and chairs furnish the room. Electric lights have been placed in the room so that the boys can read if they desire, until bedtime. Several of them will sleep there at night so as to be ready in case they are needed. We presume that the other companies will be similarly improved which will add very much to the efficiency of our noble fire department.

  • 11/20/1891    The Abilene Fire Department had it's annual meeting at the Mayor's office on the 13th. Reports were read and filed and it was ordered that the annual report of the Fire Chief be published in full. The following officers were elected: O.W. Steffens-President, B.B. Kenyon-Vice President, C.E. Harkrider-Secretary/Treasure, J.J. Clinton-Fire Chief, and John Pratt-Assistant Chief. It was unanimously decided that the new chemical fire extinguisher company will be named "Otto W. Steffens Chemical Engine Company"

  • 11/20/1891    The Fire Chief's Report - To the President, O.W. Steffens and the members of the Abilene Fire Department. In this my third annual report, I beg leave to submit the following: The property of the city now in possession of the Fire Department consists of one Hook and Ladder Truck, four Babcocks Extinguishers, two hose carts, and eleven hundred feet of hose. The hose carts and hose are in good condition, but the Hook and Ladder needs more and longer ladders; in fact it is too ancient for this town and place. The Babcocks are nearly useless, being old and unserviceable. There is now on the department roll, 59 officers and men and is on good footing and has got a move on itself during the year, and with the Holdway Chemical Engine, which the city council ordered last Tuesday night, and which will be here about January 1st, we will be prepared to give the city a better fire service than ever before. During the last year the department has been called out just 22 times. 3 false alarms, and 19 fires. The majority of fires being at night. While we have been fortunate in not having any very serious fires, there has been lots of hard work done. The most dangerous fire of the year was on July 5th which at one time threatened to be very serious., but it was promptly met and conquered. Right here I wish to compliment the department on it's magnificent work on that occasion. While we have failed to save buildings at times, where fires have started, we have been very successful in protecting the surrounding property. The losses this year amounts to $9,000 The insurance recovered from the same, $8,275 This is a splendid record for the fire department and one to be proud of ($19K in 19 fires) Owing to your promptness in answering bells,  and our fire water pressure, we have been very successful. What department in the state could show a better record? Not one! I would recommend that the Secretary keep a record of all fire, the cause, the loss of insurance, and enter the name on his minute book. Other recommendations I will make to the board of fire directors: Improvements have been made during the year on the apparatus and houses, the most noticeable being a room fitted up at house No. 3, for the accommodation of the members of that company. A detail of firemen being on duty every night. Would do well to have truck houses No1 & No2 fitted in the same way. The discipline of the department is very satisfactory, and in retiring from the office of Chief, which I have held for 3 years, I feel that I am leaving the department in good condition. I have served as volunteer fireman in different departments for nearly 20 years and can safely say that this is the best department I ever served in or ever saw.  In conclusion, I wish to tender my thanks to President Steffens, Vice President Kenyon and Secretary Harkrider for courtesies shown. To Foreman Akerman, Fulwiler and Knapp, for the able manner in which they have handled their companies at all times and cheerfully aided me in giving the city a good fire service. To the members of the fire department, one and all, for your cheerful devotion to duty in all kinds of weather, and for your prompt obedience to orders given. To John R. Spaulding, superintendent of water works, for his hearty co-operation at all fires; and last but not least, my able assistant J.A. Pratt whose good counsel and advice has materially aided me in the discharge of my duty. Hoping that we may all meet in this hall one year hence, and that there will not be a break in the roll, I am very respectfully, J.J. Clinton - Chief of Fire Department of Abilene. 

An interesting feature of the meeting was the presentation to Chief Clinton of a beautiful and costly sliver horn, the joint contribution of members of the fire department. Clinton received it in silence, but after a while he overcame his embarrassment enough to say "Boys I am too full to say anything more than that I sincerely thank you for this manifestation of your regards for me" It need not to be inferred from his remark that he has been taking something, but he meant just what he said. He was surprised and overcome with emotion, and an hour's talk would not have conveyed half of the meaning that his "Boys I am too full to say anything more than that I sincerely thank you" did.

In his general remarks to the department Friday night, President Steffens in presenting Chief Clinton with the trumpet said " and with this I would close and bid you goodnight, but for the fact that something has come to light-of-day that I should not fail to mention. and as I ease my eyes around and behold our worthy Chief, Mr. J.J. Clinton, who is charter member of Star Hose Company #3, having assisted in the organization of that company March 11, 1886 the matter is again called to mind. When their apparatus arrived he was elected foreman, which he held till January 4th when he was elected Assistant Chief of the department. In December, he was unanimously elected Chief to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Chief J.T. Howser, and in the position he has served ever since with honor to himself and great credit to the department. Under his careful direction the Abilene Fire Department has gained a state-wide reputation for bravery, gallantry, and efficiently. In making this statement of our recognition of his valuable services I fail to express our feelings, but will say that we all esteem him, admire him, yes, love him. I have in the past seen meetings of this kind close with caning, but  not such for our Chief, who has stood by us in rain , and in sunshine, in adversity and prosperity; but, instead of the customary caning , the member s of the Abilene Fire Department desire, on this occasion, to present to you sir, a token, not one of a few, but one that stands bright and fresh to represent for all the years in store for you, that reflection of love and esteem that should always be due to the brave and the true. And now, accept this, (Handing Chief Clinton the horn) from the department you have so faithfully served. Use it, and may it always recall the pleasant relations that have existed between this department and its Chief Officer."

The Hook and Ladder Company elected officers as such: Henry Pratt-President, Will Smith-Vice President, Gus Ackerman-Foreman, R.G. Hall-1st Assistant, C.C. Meeker-2nd Assistant, Dan Hall-Secretary/Treasurer.

  • 12/11/1891    The Abilene Fire Department held it's regular meeting at the mayors office on December 7th. Fireme's ball to be given during the holidays. (members working on this project are - Gus Ackerman, Wm. Fulwiler, E.H. Sintenis, W.F. Flournoy, Ed S. Hughes, J.G. Lowden, Geo P. Phillips, S. Lapowski, Geo Walshe, T.O. Anderson, J.G. Currie, J.A. Pratt, Will Smith, J.T. Houser, J.A. Lowry, J.M. Radford, Theo Reyck Sr., Otto W. Steffens, B.B. Kenyon, J.J. Clinton, J.A. Pratt, C.E. Harkrider, John Hoeny, T.R.Polk, Frank Harden, Geo S. Berry, Will C. Donglass, W.J. Bryan, and E.G. Batjer)

  • 1892    Preston Hose cart purchased. Steffen's Chemical Engine purchased. 

  • 1/1/1892    Fire Saturday Night. A fire was discovered on Pine street a little after 2 O'clock Saturday night. It was in the block of wooden buildings between Bass Bros. drug store and Cameron & Phillips hardware store. The fire was well advanced before it's discovery, and although the firemen rallied promptly and did excellent work they could do nothing more than to prevent its spread and save adjoining brick walls from damage. The buildings were destroyed together with everything in them except what jewelry Border & Capel had in their safe. The firms occupying the premises were Border & Capel jewelry stock; L.N. Murdock notion store, D.M. Claude's confectionary store, Charley Nerger's shoe shop, George Grave's saloon, Edmond Dortch's barber shop, A.E. Tikker's jewelry repair shop. Most of them were insured in small sums, but we fail to learn the exact amount. Had it not been for the energetic work of the firemen the walls of the adjoining buildings would have been ruined. No one seems to know how the fire originated.

  • 1/8/1892    For the past few months the people of Abilene have been treating the fire department very generously in the way of donations, and they have now on hand quite a handsome little sum. The contributions, so far as we have been able to learn, have been as follows:

                Cash donations              -   $17.50

                Abilene National Bank   -    50.00

                Geo Walshe & Co.        -    25.00

                G.A. Kirkland                -    20.00

                J.C. Condon                  -    20.00

                N. Porter                       -    62.50

                Mayfield & Hughes        -    25.00

                Cameron & Phillips        -    100.00

                C. Villenueve                 -    50.00

                Ira Border (watch)         -    40.00

  • 1/29/1892    The Fire boys should have a central fire house where all apparatus could be kept. They have a nice start on this already, and deserve liberal support from our people.

  • 1/29/1892    The loss from the fire Monday morning falls hard on some of the parties occupying the buildings, but this loss is perhaps as small as it ever would have been and the city is rid of a block of buildings that were not only a disgrace, but threatened the destruction of some of our most valuable brick buildings. All things considered Abilene may congratulate itself on the result of Monday morning's blaze

  • 2/12/1892    Election of Officers for Star hose company number three. Will Fulwiler Foreman, Jim Cunningham 1st Assistant Foreman, Will Daniels 2nd Assistant Foreman, H.R. Horne Secretary and Treasurer. Will Fulwiler was also elected as a delegate to the State Fireman's Association.

  • 2/12/1892    We have a city ordinance which prohibits the building of frame houses in the fire limits, but we have none to prohibit the building of frame awnings in front of buildings. Some of these are as dangerous as an old frame building would be. We mention this merely for the purpose of calling attention of the owners of business property to the risk they are running by attaching these cumbersome frame structures to good brick and rock buildings.

  • 2/19/1892    Monday evening about five o'clock the alarm was sounded and the department and the citizens turned out to see the beautiful residence of O.W. Steffens  a mass of flames. (He is President of the Fire Department at the time of the fire.) The fire originated in the kitchen between the roof and the ceiling, and must have been burning for several hours for when it was discovered the flames were coming through the whole southwest corner of the building and in a very few minutes spread over the south side.

Mrs. Steffens was out calling at the time but the children and servants were at home. Little Minnie Steffens was in her room on the second floor asleep when the alarm was given, but was taken out by the Mrs. Dortch, a colored servant.

The Fire Department responded promptly and through their heroic efforts saved the barn and other out houses. The furniture, with the exception of a few pieces in the east rooms were destroyed, together with all the wearing apparel and most of the jewelry of the family. All the pictures and other treasures especially dear to Mr. and Mrs. Steffens and the children were burned, and much of the shrubbery destroyed.

The loss amounts to several thousand dollars. The house cost $12,800 and was insured for $9,000. It was elegantly furnished and the furniture and wearing apparel were insured for $4,000. Mr. Steffens estimates his actual loss at $20,000 though he says he would willingly give $10,000 and his insurance to have the property replaced.

The loss is regretted by every citizen of Abilene. The prettiest home in the city is gone and a heap of ruins marks the spot where it stood.

Mr. Steffens will go to work at once to rebuild, and this time it is to be a handsome brick cottage.

( The family later moved to a place vacated by H.M. Henderson family)

  • 2/26/1892    The Abilene Fire Department celebrated Washington's Birthday by a general parade. The precession formed on North 1st at 2:30. It was headed by the light infantry band and went down Chestnut to South 4th, Then west to Sycamore, North to South 2nd, East to Chestnut, North to North 3rd, West to Cypress, South to North 2nd, East to Pine and then Down to City Hall. It was a part of the program that the Holloway chemical engine should be presented to the Fire Department by the Mayor, and responded to on behalf of the Fire Department by Hon. Henry Sayles. Owing however, to the city council having rejected the engine this part of the program was not carried out. While the boys were at ease in front of City Hall they were presented with two boxes of cigars by the Abilene cigar factory which was responded to with three rousing cheers. After a short rest the boys made a couple of short runs connecting with the plugs in front of the Lapowski building and Bass Brothers drug store. They made very quick time and acquitted themselves very creditably. Owing to a misunderstanding at the pump house the pressure on the first run was a failure, but on the second run it was first rate and as good as could be asked for. The boys are as fine a looking body of men as can be found in the state, and that the citizens of the town appreciate their good work was evidence by the long line of carriages which participated in the parade. The leading carriage contained the departments sponsor Miss Bettie McConochie, accompanied by her friend Miss Lillian Young and escorted by Messrs. Engene Harris and Geo. Berry, all looking handsome and pleased with an occasion to show off the fire boys. the next carriage contained the popular president of the company Mr. Otto W. Steffens, and Vice President B.B. Kenyon who seemed to enjoy the occasion almost as well as if they had hold of the ropes. Of course J.J. Clinton looked handsome and pleased and his trusty assistant John Pratt looked proud as a boy with his first pair of boots. The honors in the race for water were about equally divided between the two hose companies, as near as we could judge, there being no time keeper. Taking it all in all  the parade was a success and it is our belief that the volunteer fire department of Abilene cannot be excelled in the state.

  • 3/8/1892    The Otto W. Steffens Chemical Engine Co. was organized with the following officers and members: Foreman-E.D. Kelley, Secretary-C.A. Boulte, Privates-W.A. Minter, W.F. Trezevant, and J.T. Norris. E.D. Kelley was elected a delegate to the State Convention at Waco.

  • 4/29/1892    At a recent meeting of the Abilene Fire Department, a resolution was adopted that any dray, float or delivery wagon hauling the hose carts to a fire, and return, shall be paid $2.50 and the first one to hitch on shall be the one to receive said award. One of said carts is stationed at the north side fire station, and the other is at Fulwiler's stable It will be well for you to keep this in mind, when an alarm is sounded. 

  • 8/19/1892    I hold that the discharge of firearms and reckless shooting at an alarm of fire is just as much a violation of law as at any other time. The ordinance against this practice will be enforced. (J.J. Clinton City Marshall)

  • 10/7/1892    The Abilene Fire Department are figuring a little on a plan for making their work more effective. they have on hand of their own funds, about $800. Of this they propose to expend $300 for a pair of horses, $100 for finishing up the interior of their Hall, and $400in part payment on a new hose reel they feel confident they will be able to meet at the end of one year. After doing these things on their own part, they will ask the city to provide them with 1000 feet of hose at a cost of about $600. Then these plans are all perfected we shall have one of the best equipped volunteer forces in the state.

  • 10/14/1892    Attention Firemen: Foremen will report with their companies in full uniform at 3:30 p.m. October 21st at the Central Fire Station for drill and parade. By order of J.J. Clinton, Chief        T.A. Bledsoe, Secretary.

  • 11/25/1892    To O.W. Steffens, President of the Fire Department of Abilene; In accordance with the requirements of the City Ordinance governing the Fire Department , it becomes my duty as Chief Engineer to present to you my Fourth Annual Report of the Fire Department of the City of Abilene for the fiscal year ending November 11th 1892:

The property of the City now in possession of the Fire Department consist of one Hook & Ladder Truck, two Hose Carts, Four Babcock Extinguishers, and 1,100 Feet of hose. The Hook & Ladder need more and longer ladders. The Extinguishers have seen their best days. The hose carts are in very good condition. 

(Several Sentences that are un readable)

During the year just closed, the Fire Department responded to 26 bells and still alarms, the largest number in the history of our Department. Although the calls have been numerous, it is very gratifying to be able to report that the Department has been very successful on preventing destructive fires. The loss amounts to $43,985 Insurance to cover $28,150 making a net loss of $15,835  

(Several Sentences that are un readable)

....making the cost of the Fire Department, based on the land census of the City, 25cents per capita, which will compare favorably with any City of this size maintaining a volunteer Fire Department. 

    Fires are classified as follows:

            Children playing with matches5

            Unknown                                        6

            Lamp Explosions                             2

            Defective Flues                               12

            Gasoline Stoves                               1


Death has invaded our ranks during the year-the Department suffered a severe loss in the death of Lelan Henderson a member of Rescue Hose Company No. 2 I can utterly testify to his sterling worth as a fireman and citizen. Improvements have been mad during the year, the most noted being the erection of a Central Fire Station which is the pride of the Department and an ornament to the City. I would recommend that the Department take charge of and reorganize the band under the name of the Fire Department Band, and also to elect a second Assistant Chief. There is one other matter that I wish to call your attention to: Our City is greatly in need of street fire alarms to be located in various parts of the City. I therefore recommend that a combined system of Fire and Police alarms be introduced, where by either the Police or the Fire Department could be called on case of an emergency.  I fully appreciate (Unreadable, but thanking people for donations) There is no improvement so vitally important as protection against that dreadful element, fire, which has wiped out the Commonwealth of the United States $150 Million within the last 12 months. I Sincerely hope that you will give this matter your consideration.


It is a genuine pleasure to be able to report that the Department is well disciplined in every manner, and is composed of good sober and trustworthy men, most of whom have been in the Fire Service for a number of years and have by long experience and regular drill become expert in combating fire. It has become the pride and ambition of this department to subdue fires with as little damage by water as possible, and it is certainly gratifying to know that all fires have been handled with special reference to waste by water I attribute the good showing of the Department to it's rapid movements in responding to fire and the play-pipes and other apparatus being in the hands of well drilled firemen. There is no petty jealousy among the members such as would tend to disorganized the harmony of the Department. I hold that the Fireman's profession is just as legitimate as any other, and a man may be a fireman and a gentleman also, and as the Abilene Press and every good citizen have extended their hand with no little reserve towards prompting the Department to a high state of efficiency, I am of the opinion that when our citizens meet a Fireman, they feel that they have met a gentleman and I feel and know that the Department will accomplish the work for which it was created to the satisfaction of the citizens of this City. I wish to extend my thanks to the city council for the valuable improvements which have been added to the Fire Department. It has been the disposition of the city council during the fiscal year to make such improvements as were needed by the department, I have found the members of the city council to be gentlemen who have no other motives in dealing for the city than accomplishing the greatest good for the people with the least possible expenditure of the public's money. I also wish to extend my thanks to the citizens for financial aid, and especially to the ladies of the city who have in many ways contributed to our success, and to our sponsor, who has always shown a genuine personal interest in the Department and who is the pride of every member. 


In conclusion I desire to express my thanks to the officers and men of the department for the able and efficient manner in which they have executed their work, and the personal interest they have displayed under all circumstances to protect the city against loss by fire. It is very gratifying to me to be in command of a body of Firemen who are so well disciplined and gentlemanly in their bearing. 


Respectfully, J.J. Clinton

  • 11/25/1892    The Abilene Fire Department convened in Central Station Tuesday November 12th at 7p.m. for the annual election of Officers. Never in the history of the Department has a more gratifying meeting been held. Each member feeling proud, as it was the first time they had assembled in such a large body in their new and handsome Hall and they were made to feel more proud because of the prosperous condition of the Department and the prospects of a brighter and more favorable year in the future. House called to order by President O.W. Steffens, forty members answering to roll call. Report of Chief J.J. Clinton showing the condition of the Department and improvements necessary, read and unanimously adopted. Moved and carried that said report be submitted to the city council and be given to city papers for publication. Report of financial condition of the department for the year commencing November 8, 1891 and ending November 12, 1892 read and submitted to committee composed of J.A. Williams, J.M. Cunningham, and Tom Norris. Report of President O.W. Steffens showing work done during the past year by Officers and men of the Department read and unanimously adopted. Moved and carried that said report be submitted to the city council and be given to city papers for publication. Amendment to section 2 of the constitution and by-laws, offered by Gus Ackerman, read and adopted. Before the retirement of the Officers of the Department , a resolution was offered and unanimously adopted that each and every individual of the Department seeing the zealous and untiring work done by the Officers during the past year, we in appreciation of your services tend you our sincerest thanks. Next followed an election of Officers for the ensuing year. President O.W. Steffens resigning the chair to William Fullwiler. Nominations for President: O.W. Steffens was nominated, rules suspended and re-elected by a rising vote. President Steffens on taking the chair called for nominations for Chief: J.J. Clinton was nominated, rules suspended and re-elected by a rising vote. J.J. Pratt was unanimously elected the Assistant Chief and Gus Ackerman unanimously 2nd. T.A. Bledsoe was nominated for Secretary and Treasure, was nominated, rules suspended and re-elected by a rising vote. Rev. R.L. Stuart re-elected Chaplain. No further business appearing, Rev. R.L. Stuart then offered prayer and Department stood adjourned.  President Steffens in accepting his re-election, in a few siring remarks thanked the Department for the confidence placed in him and by the evidence of a hearty cooperation in the future. The tried and true Chief J.J. Clinton "Being too full for utterance" brought a Fireman's yell. Assistant Chief Ackerman claimed that he was no speaker, but the boys knew he was a good Fireman. The Secretary in accepting his re-election seemed somewhat embarrassed. The meeting was one of the largest ever held by the Department. 

O.W. Steffens, Pres            J.J. Clinton, Chief                T.A. Bledsoe, Secretary

  • 11/30/1892    The Abilene Fire Department met at Central Fire Station Monday January 2nd. The President O.W. Steffens being absent, the House was called to order by Vice-President, B.B. Kenyon, about 25 men answer to roll call. The minutes of last meeting were read and adopted. The account of Jno. Hoeny & Co. for printing constitution and by laws was read and allowed. Moved by Gus Ackerman and seconded, that the chair appoint a committee to draft resolutions thanking Miss McConchie for her efforts and interest shown in her getting up and presenting the play which was given Thursday night, December 28th 1892. The Chairman appointed a committee composed of T.A. Bledsoe, R.G. Hall and W.S Daniels. It was moved and seconded that this committee draft resolution thanking Miss Clara Harle for the liberal donation of the proceeds of her entertainment. A reward of $50 was offered by the department for the arrest and conviction of anyone setting fires to any property within the city. There being no further business to be transacted, the meeting adjourned until next regular meeting     O.W. Steffens, President        T.A. Bledsoe, Secretary.

  • 11/30/1892    Resolutions adopted by the Abilene Fire Department, to their sponsor, Miss Bettie McConochie:

    The Department tenders to their sponsor, Miss Bettie McConchie, their sincerest thanks for her deep intrest and untiring efforts in getting up and presenting the play "Rio Grande" Which was given Thursday night Dec 29, 1892. We shall ever remember her kind and impartial labor in endeavoring to put forward and advance the interest of this Department. It gives us much pleasure, indeed, to know that we have such a true and noble sponsor watching over us., whose efforts in our behalf have met with such a sucsess. Our indebtedness to her can never be repaid nor our gratitude measured we therefore grant to her a lien upon us good so long as she may deem us worthy of her efforts. 

  • 11/30/1892    Resolutions adopted by the Abilene Fire Department, to Miss Clara Harle:

    Resolved, that the Fire Department is under many obligations to her for the kind donation of the proceeds of her entertainment which was given December 16, 1892. We shall ever feel grateful to her for her kind remembrance and know that in her, we have a true, and loyal friend.

  • 11/30/1892    Resolutions adopted by the Abilene Fire Department on the resignation of Assistant Chief Pratt:

    Resolved, That the Fire Department with great reluctance receives the resignation of Assistant Chief Pratt. For 8 years he has been one of us, sharing our good fortune and our reverses, and now that he has so decreed that he is to be no longer with us it is with the deepest regret that we are compelled to part with him. During Mr. Pratt's membership in our department he has never failed to answer the call which Firemen hold sacred; He has always responded to the alarm and fought bravely and nobly to save and protect the interest of those who were in danger His name shall never be forgotten among us, nor his presence unthought of by his absence. As a parting tribute to his valiant and untiring services we say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant"  you have always fought a good fight and now we grant thee rest.

  • 11/30/1892    Hook & Ladder Company. The meeting was called to order December 27 by Gus Ackerman, Chairman, for the purpose of electing a Foreman. C.L. Meaker and Max Gebaur being both nominated for the vacant position, an election was held by ballot, which resulted in favor of Gebaur. Ed Miller was elected 2nd Assistant Foreman. Meeting adjourned.     C.C. Buck, Secretary

  • 11/30/1892    Protection Hose Company also met to elect Officers

  • 12/30/1892    The old row of wooden buildings on Oak Street just south of the Commercial hotel building were discovered on Fire Tuesday night. The premises were un occupied and it's loss would have been no detriment to the city, but the Fire Department rallied so promptly and did such excellent work that most of the row of buildings were saved.

  • 12/30/1892    Tuesday night a house on the North side, know as the Perkins residence, was destroyed by fire. It was unoccupied, except by some feed stuff belonging to Mr. Rushing.

  • 1897    Lytle Creek Dam completed. Fire Protection Hose Company absorbs Rescue Hose Company #2

  • 1898    Chemical Engine Company disbanded. Engine was sold.

  • 1900    Clinton Hose Company #2 organized.

  • 1905    Valley View Hose Company organized.

  • 3/13/1908 OTTO STEFFENS DEAD.
    Abilene was very much shocked when the announcement made that Colonel Otto W. STEFFENS, aged sixty years, was dead. Just when the death occurred no one seemed to know. He was attended by a physician about 2 o'clock Tuesday morning, and seemed to be suffering with heart affection, but was resting easily at the time the attending physician left. The family on waking found the dead body on the floor of his private bedroom.

  • 1909     Fire Chief buggy for Chief Clinton

  • 1910 Estelle McKinney was named "Queen" of the Volunteer Fire Department.

  • 8/15/1911    Wooten Wholesale Grocers established in 1898 at North 1st & Sycamore (or Oak?) burned to the ground. The Wooten family also built the Paramount Theater and the Wooten Hotel (later known as the Abilene towers)

  • 1913    First motorized fire engine (550 GPM Seagrave)

  • 1913     Compere House Burned

  • 1915    Preston hose cart sold to Merkel

  • 1918    Old Hook & Ladder discarded. Last horse discarded. Motorized Fire Engine (American La France 750 GPM)

  • 1921    Lake Abilene Constructed. American La France 50 ft Ladder Truck

  • 1922    First Paid Department. Dodge Chemical Engine. Frank Ferrier Chief and Fire Marshall. 

  • 1924    American la France 1000 GPM pumper

  • 1926    Construction of #1 - N4th & Cedar; #2 - 441 Butternut; #3 - 1902 S11th (also a drill tower); #4 - N16th & Orange

  • 1926    American La France 1000 GPM pumper

  • 1927    Seagrave 1000GPM Engine

  • 11/7/1928    Ex-Chief Ferrier visited station #3

  • 11/14/1928    Order- "All company commanders shall test hose every 60 days and make a report of the condition of the hose. Said report to be handed to the Chief of the Department." M.J. Daniel Fire Chief

  • 1/28/1929    General Alarm #333 Abilene Christian College. E-3 Pumped two 2 1/2" lines for 3 hours

  • 4/23/1929    Applications for re-appointment were handed on to the Chief

  • 4/30/1929 Received General Order #2- "You have been selected as an employee of the City of Abilene because you were deemed qualified to fill the particular position you occupy. The wisdom of this selection to be measured by the result accomplished. The following rules and regulations are to be observed strictly by every city employee. 1. Honesty and Sobriety 2. Efficiency in your particular work 3. Courtesy to the public 4. Cooperation with every member of the city commission 5. Cooperation with the head of your department 6. cooperation with other departments 7 Prompt payment of all debts 8. Work full time each working day and if absent at any time a written explanation shall be filed with the city secretary. Failure to observe any of the above rules will be sufficient cause for discontinuing your services."

  • 5/9/1929    Chief delivered new order- "No Women can visit station, or Firemen sit in cars with only Women at the curb or on or about station premises"

  • 1929    Buick Booster Chief Major Daniel 

  • 1933    Chief Dick Bailey

  • 1934    Fire Department reorganized. Chief Ray Roe

  • 1936    Seagraves 1250 GPM engine

  • 1938    Seagrave 65 ft aerial ladder truck

  • 1938     Abilene Country Club burned

  • 1941    Seagrave 1250 engine Chief E.A. Turner

  • 7/1/1944    D.C. Musick becomes Chief

  • 8/15/1952    A four room frame house at 830 North 17th was destroyed by fire at about 2p.m. on Thursday. occupants Mr. and mrs. R.L. Armstrong were not home when the blaze occurred. City Fire Marshal L.A. Blackwood reported that the house and it's contents were a total loss. The house was owned by the Guitar estate. He attributed the cause to an electric iron which had been left connected and had fallen to the floor in the east bedroom. An unidentified youth discovered the fire and attempted to extinguish it with a garden hose. After he thought he had put the blaze out he tried to find the Armstrong's. Meanwhile flames broke out again and engulfed the structure by the time firemen arrived at 2:05 p.m. Firemen reported high winds gave impetus to the flames. 4 truck were at the scene.

  • 8/23/1952    House fire at 2230 Shelton occupied by the M.B. Tinajero family resulted in a total loss of the house as well as killing a 2 yr old girl and 64 yr old Grandmother. The fire was caused by a stove that exploded. A neighbor Joe Escobedo  helped rescue an infant from the fire that had been born in the house only 27 hours earlier. 

  • 6/1/1957     Proposals are being accepted to demolish the old Central Fire Station at North 4th & Cedar

  • 11/3/1958    The AFD's first Hispanic member was hired. Daniel Serna Villarreal was employed from 11/3/58 - 8/10/59 He left to coach at Eagle Pass High School.

  • 1/3/1972     The first black members of the AFD were hired. J. L. Daugherty and Edward Earl Jones  were both employed January 3, 1972. Edward resigned 4/21/75 to return to school and J. L. resigned 3/31/84 for another line of work.

  • Other notes:
Guitar Gin burned in the early 1900's


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your Abilene Fire Department.



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