© 2023 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

San Antonio Fire Museum Society Gets Key to Future Site of Museum

Bob Heckman is with the Fire Museum Society and is the project manager for the renovation of the museum. He says the LaFrance pumper doesn’t have all of her original parts.

The headlights are from an old Ford Model A and the horn is a slightly modern adaptation as well, but it's history, and story of the San Antonio Fire Department is undeniable.

“We’re really anxious," said Heckman, who is now retired from firefighting. "We want to explain our history.”

A 30-year veteran, you can see in his face the hard work he put in as a young man. He said that when the museum opens early next year you’ll be able to see the pumper and a 1951 Mack fire truck like he used to work on in 1974.

Thanks to Chief Hood

Uniforms of years past, antique helmets and other artifacts will all be on display, but it would not have happened if not for Fire Chief Charles Hood.

President of the San Antonio Fire Museum Society Carlos Resendez said when he approached Hood six years ago, Hood said he wanted to make a special place for kids at the museum.

“He pointedly said, ‘I’ll help, but I want to ensure that we also have a children’s educational center in that building,’" said Resendez of the Chief's reaction. "You know, children are amongst the most vulnerable in any household. He personally has witnessed a lot of deaths. Hopefully we could prevent some of those deaths through a children’s educational center.”

Right now, there’s a lot of dust and empty space inside the firehouse, but the Museum Society now has the keys for the building’s rapid transformation. Meanwhile, the men charged with firefighting nearly 40 years ago reminisce about their days on the streets, thinking about those who fought fires decades before their time.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.