In the Beginning, 1920
On February 24, 1920, 13 men met in the rest room (that's what they called the lounge in those days) of the First National Bank to discuss the organization of a Fire Department for McGregor. However, the department wasn't officially organized until March 19, 1920, when the bylaws and constitution were presented. Before the 13 men went into a huddle in the rest room, the town's fire protection consisted of a huge two-wheeled, man pulled hose cart, which has been made into a monument and stands in front of the McGregor Fire Station 1. With the hose cart, the whole town pitched in to fight fires. Everyone would turn out when the six-shooters started punching holes in the sky. That was how the fire alarm was given in those days. After several years of fighting fires with crude equipment and not sure if the help would respond, the early day fire department disbanded. This is when 13 concerned men met and started the fire department that we have today. The "rest room" meeting of 1920, was a small meeting room in the back of the First National Bank. People would go in during the day sit, talk, and rest. The list of the "fathers" of the fire department were: C.P. Shaffer, O.W. Ewing, Fred Johnson, E.N. Crain, W.C. Robertson, S.E. Walker, Charles Herring, A.L. Lee, W.V. Hanover, Walter C. Amsler, and L.E. Shaffer. At the departments first regular meeting, March 26, 1920, Walter C. Amsler was named the Chief. Other Chiefs over the years include Jim Harding, Guy Snelson, Carrol Woods, Carl Phelan, Dr. Robert W. Cagle, Dick Whisenant, Parke D. Evers, John Blake, Junior Fisher, Ronnie Moe Spradley, and Randy Aaron. Current Fire Chief is Marty Dominguez. After the department was organized, a Model T Truck made its appearance. It was equipped with a rear-mounted Waterous fire pump and carried a small hose load. In a few years, another Model T truck was purchased. The second one had a 500 GPM (gallons per minute) front-mounted pump. It also carried a hose load. In 1929, the departments third truck was purchased. It was a Southern and boasted a 500 GPM, triple-combination pump. The Southern gave a long and faithful service.
In December of 1948 the department sold the Southern to Venus, Texas, which had just organized a department. The department's fourth truck was a Chevrolet, equipped with a booster tank, the tanks capacity was altered so it could carry 325 gallons of water. This enabled firemen to start putting water on a fire while the hose was connected to the fire plug. It carried a 1,000 feet of hose consisted of 2 1/2" hose to supply water to the truck and 1 1/2" hose to use in fighting fires. On April 6, 1948, McGregor's newest piece of equipment was delivered. It was a 750 GPM Seagraves pumper. It also had a booster tank and carried a 1,000 feet of hose. During it's official test, the Seagraves delivered almost 1,000 GPM from draft (taking water from a pond) and 960 GPM from an eight inch water main. The pumper couldn't deliver more because the city's water main capacity was 960 GPM.
McGregor's Costliest Fire
In September of 1928 the Dixie Theater and City Service Oil Company were ablaze. Five men had their applications on file to become members of the department but had not been voted on. They pestered the Chief to let them help fight the fire. Finally, he told them to man a hose on top of the building. They hadn't been up there long, when the building exploded and blew them up in the air and off the building. They were buried in the falling debris. One of the men was killed and the others injured. After this happened, three of the remaining men removed their applications and the fourth man later became Chief of the department.
MVFD has seen a lot of changes with the new technology and equipment of the fire service. In 2014 McGregor bought its first Engine in over 20 years. A 2010 Pierce 1500 GPM pump and 1000 gallons of water, this truck has a Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS), two Thermal Imaging Cameras (TIC), five sets with Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses (SCBA) mounted in them, and much more. In 2016 MVFD elected there first Hispanic Fire Chief, Marty Dominguez. Chief Dominguez has been with the department since 2006 and has worked his way up to his current position.