Austin Fire Museum - Preserving The History And Traditions Of The Austin Fire Department.

Colorado Fire Company No. 2

Year Created: 1871
Year Disbanded: Became Engine 1 of the paid department in 1916
Motto: Deeds, Not Words
Colorado Fire Company No. 2 Photos

Colorado Fire Company Number 2 is the ancestor to our current Engine 1.

Organized in May 1871, Colorado Number 2 began as an engine company equipped with a hand pumper, and later purchased a horse drawn steam engine.

On November 9, 1877, Colorado Fire Company # 2 Foreman E.T. Deats was injured after a wall collapsed and fell on him. On May 20, 1878, he died as a result of his injuries.

In 1882 Colorado Number 2 changed to a hose company. The Water Works Company of Austin installed the Holly system of water distribution, which consisted of a sophisticated water grid with mains, pumps, and hydrants. In fact, the system was so efficient that these early Austin firefighters fought fire directly from fire hydrants, and did not always utilize the steam fire engine to develop the required water pressure to battle a fire. This is the reason why old fire nozzles had such small openings in their tips in order to create added water pressure when being supplied directly from a hydrant.

Colorado Number 2 was always quartered with Hook and Ladder Number 1, beginning with buildings around East 7th Street and Congress Avenue, and then permanently occupying the 1885 Central Fire Station at 114 West 8th Street.

Perhaps one of Colorado Number 2´s most notable firefighters was Clarence Woodward, Austin´s first Chief of the paid department in June 1916. Chief Woodward moved from Palestine, Texas in 1894 where he was foreman of their Hope Hook and Ladder Number 1. Chief Woodward began his volunteer career with Colorado Number 2 in September of 1894, and his first hat can be seen today at the Austin Fire Museum.

As Austin´s third oldest fire company, Colorado Number 2 was around for many of Austin´s most significant fires. Colorado Number 2 is recorded as the first engine company on the grounds of the 1881 Capitol Building Fire, although Washington Number 1 is credited with getting first water. The reason being, the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Texas Legislatures did not appropriate enough money to supply the capitol building and grounds with hydrants and water, therefore Washington Number 1 had to catch a hydrant 700 feet away from Congress Avenue. If it wasn´t for their "penny-wise and pound foolish policy", the Capitol could have been saved along with priceless artifacts lost, such as portraits of George Washington, Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin, and Tom Green.

Ten years later, in 1891, Colorado Number 2´s driver is credited with literally driving through flames to save valuable time to make a coupling hook-up at the street car stable fire.