Month: January 2021

Dallas When DFD Was Founded

If you ever wondered what Dallas looked like the year that the Dallas Fire Department was formed, you need not wonder, you can see it clearly thanks to an amazing map that was created by H. Brosius that same year – 1872.

When the Dallas Firefighter’s Museum reopens (which could be soon depending on the success of the vaccine rollout) you can come see this map in great detail hanging proudly on the wall. Until then, take a moment to see if you can find some of the landmarks referenced at the bottom of the map. You will want to go to the wikimedia site where the image is hosted and download it from there in order to see it as clearly as possible. Here’s the link:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/…/84/Old_map-Dallas-1872.jpg

Sound of a Siren

The year is 1963. Bud Massie and Joe Jones are both Dallas firefighters and both they, and their wives Marsha and Betty, are close friends. On Monday, August 26, Bud and Joe are riding Truck 15 in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas, Texas while Marsha and Betty are spending the day together The regular Truck 15 is in the shop, so they are riding on a 27 year old reserve truck. The truck, pictured above when it was new, was known as the Centennial truck because it was purchased for the 1936 Texas Centennial Exhibition and World’s Fair which was held at Fair Park in Dallas. This is a story of tragedy told, not from a firefighter perspective, but from a family member perspective, because a line of duty death does not occur in a vacuum; like a stone cast in a pond, the ripples expand outward.

You can hear the story by clicking the green arrow in the audio player below, or you can listen on your mobile device wherever you get your music and podcasts (Apple, Amazon, Spotify, etc); just search for “Firefighting Legends”.

Also, if you are on the “Latest Posts” page, you will need to click on the post title “Sound of a Siren” or the post photo (the one of the truck at the top) to go to the “Sound of a Siren” page that shows all the newspaper articles.

Here She Comes Boys!

In the early 1900’s, Bert and Boyd Burris move from Indiana to Texas and join the Dallas Fire Department. Another firefighter, E.O. Jones rises through the ranks to become an Assistant Chief. The men have a date with destiny awaiting them at the Texas Wheel and Body Fire in 1923. Listen to the podcast for the full story. Related photographs and a map are below the audio player.

Below: Photograph of Bert Burris, killed at the Texas Wheel & Body Fire on Commerce Street in Dallas in 1923.

Also killed at the same fire was Chief E.O. Jones, aka Charles Jones, Charlie Jones and Cap Jones.

Photograph of the station from which Bert Burris answered his last alarm. At that time it was called the “Fair Park Fire Station” and he responded on Engine 10. It later came to be called Station #5. The building still stands, but is now the home of the Dallas Firefighters Museum.

Little is known about this photograph from the Dallas Firefighter Museum Archives, but there are a few things we can deduce. 4th from right is Chief Magee who was the Chief of the Department in the early 1900’s until his retirement in 1919. The station is believed to be “old Central”. The man in suspenders to the right of the boxers is very likely to be Chief E.O. “Charlie” Jones.

Our guest for this episode: Chaplain Denny Burris, Retired DFD Chaplain, grandson of Boyd Burris and great-nephew of Bert Burris.

Close Call: Lt. Mike Otto

In the Firefighting Legends Podcast episode titled “Lieutenant Mike Otto Interview” I talk with the retired Dallas Fire Department Lieutenant and we discuss his career in the fire service, including his near death experience in a house fire in 2006. To hear the episode, listen wherever you get your podcasts. The first photo below shows the house fire in which he was burnt. The bedroom window on the left side of the photograph is the one he exited out of after Johnny Rudder broke the glass. The next three photos show his burnt firefighting helmet and SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus). The final photograph shows him with his Dallas Fire Department Rookie Class in 1983 (middle row, far left).

Mike Otto photographed just hours before the fire where he was injured. Notice the shiny new helmet in this photograph and compare it to the photo taken after the fire.