1950s - 1970s


  • In the 1950s the first new fire engine was bought, a 1951 Mack with a 750 gpm pump.
  • In 1953 the city hired its first full time paid fireman and Fire Marshal, James D. “Pistol” Mitchell. In 1954 they hired four more full-time men. The first full time paid Fire Chief, E.F. Cronan, was hired in 1955. He was a retired captain from the Dallas Fire Department.
  • The first two-way radios were installed in 1955.
  • In 1958, the volunteer firefighters were phased out.
  • A 1956 panel wagon was donated in 1959 to be used as an ambulance.


  • In 1967, the firemen went from 24 on / 24 off shifts, to 24 on / 48 off, and the number of firemen almost doubled. A 1953 American la France 75 foot aerial ladder was bought from Flowertown, PA. in 1967 to be used as the first truck.
  • Chief Williams was hired in 1968. The first assistant fire marshal was hired in 1969.


  • On Aug. 2, 1970, the Humble Oil Refinery fire occurred on Highway 183.
  • Also in 1970, the Irving Fire Department first started using SCBA (self contained breathing apparatus). Before then you were a true “smoke eater”.
  • In 1971, the Irving Professional Firefighters Association #2073 was chartered.
  • On Dec. 10, 1972, there was the Bowie Jr. High arson fire and on January 29, 1975, the LPG Bulk Storage Facility fire on Highway 183 at Carl Road shut down 183 for over a day.
  • In 1976, the Irving Fire Department took over ambulance service for the city with four ambulances. Before this, the ambulances were run by the three funeral homes in Irving and they responded on a rotating basis.
  • Chief Spillman was hired in 1977 after he retired from the Dallas Fire Department.
  • In January 1978, a man wearing a “snowman” costume, to stay warm at a very cold Dallas Cowboys Game, had his costume catch fire due to a lit Sterno can. It received national attention after it is shown on TV.
  • The first paramedics for the Irving Fire Department were trained in 1978 and the first “jaws” rescue tool for the Irving Fire Department was purchased in 1979.