Go To Search
Depicted are historical figures from New Braunfels' past.
History
New Braunfels Fire Department Museum
The museum is located at 131 South Hill Avenue in New Braunfels. The museum was originally the Central Fire Station, which was dedicated January 1, 1918. It remained a functioning station until 1985, until the present Central Station opened next door. The museum held it's grand opening on the 150th anniversary of New Braunfels in 1995. To schedule a tour, please contact Fire Administration at (830) 221-4200.

The idea to create a museum was that of Battalion Chief Darren Brinkkoeter. With help from many dedicated firefighters the idea became a reality.

Chronological History
1874
First fire department in New Braunfels, with a single bay shed and a two-wheeled hook and ladder apparatus.

1877
Turner Fire Company begins services to insured citizens of New Braunfels using a hand pump.

1886
New Braunfels Volunteer Fire Department is founded and building codes are adopted in New Braunfels. The fire department is the third oldest continuous fire department in Texas. Initially, personnel were allowed to be members by invitation only and were made up of prominent citizens and merchants from throughout the community. They were dispersed into three fifteen man companies and new members were invited only after a death or retirement. The first apparatus included a dray wagon to haul personnel and three large hose carts that contained hose, kerosene torches, a small tool box and a pry bar.

1886
William Schmidt is appointed as the first fire chief. Subsequent fire chiefs serving various length terms include Emile Galle, Charles Jahn (two separate terms), Richard Gerlich, S.V. Pfeuffer, Fritz Dubert (two separate terms), and William Tay.

1910
Adolphe Henne begins a 15-year term as fire chief.

1913
The first motorized apparatus, a triple combination chemical engine by American LaFrance, was purchased. Professional firefighters began serving the community, complemented by 60 volunteers.

1918
The building housing the New Braunfels Fire Department Museum is completed and is designated Central Fire Station.

1925
Walter Staats begins a 33-year term as fire chief and is the first paid fire chief in the department’s history.

1947
Ernest Alves Jr. becomes the first line of duty death for the fire department, succumbing to injuries received during the Eiband and Fisher store fire.

1958
August Haster is appointed fire chief.

1960
Elmer Zipp begins a 20-year term as fire chief.

1970
The fire department begins providing the first fire department-based EMS system in the region.

1972
Melvin Nolte Sr., during a 1972 flood, becomes the department’s second line of duty death.

1982
Darvin Wetz is appointed fire chief. Fire Stations #2 and #3 are completed.

1985
The fire department begins staffing ambulances to provide advanced life support capabilities.

1987
Phillip Baker begins an 11-year term as fire chief. Fire Stations #1 and #5 are completed.

1996
The New Braunfels Firefighters Association (founded in 1986) becomes affiliated with the International Association of Fire Fighters and is designated Local #3845.

1998
Jack Collier is appointed fire chief.

1999
David Hartwick dies while preparing to respond to a structure fire (LODD #3).

2003
John Herber is appointed fire chief.

2008
John Robinson is promoted to fire chief.


2008 Fire Station #6 is completed and operating.

2009
Assistant Fire Chief position created. Derek Wrenn is appointed Assistant Fire Chief.



"Protection with Integrity"