Before the Mabank Fire Department was organized, fighting fire in Mabank was accomplished by a bucket brigade. According to charter fire department member, Thorn¬ton Jennings, it was a disorganized affair with people running wildly about dashing buckets of water.
When four downtown buildings were de¬stroyed by fire, the local citizens of Mabank decided something had to be done. So in September, 1920, the Mabank Fire Depart¬ment was organized, with 36 members.
W.M. Covey served as the first fire chief, with T.H. Treadwell as president, Henry Eubank, secretary and L.L. Dellis as treasur¬er.
The first fire fighting devices used was a two wheeled, two drum chemical cart. Each drum would hold 30 gallons. The pressure was built by a mixture of soda, water and sulphuric acid in the drum and discharge was made through a one inch hose.Eighteen men pulled the cart by two long ropes which were attached to the tongue. The older men would start out pulling the cart and the younger men would run along side to take over when the others tired. According to Jennings, some of the older ones wouldn't make it half way down the block.About a year later the department pur-chased a second hand low speed model "T" truck and mounted the drums on it. Later they purchased a second model "T" equipped with chemical drums and a hose.
In 1927 a fire station was built next to city hall at a cost of $1,000, Then in 1929 the water system was installed and one of the model "T's" was converted to carry a 1000 feet of four inch hose.The first pumper a new model "A" truck was purchased in 1929. The pump delivered 150 gallons of water per minute which increased pressure.
Before the advent of sirens, department members were called to fires by shotgun reports. Later a fire bell was hung on a wooden tower behind Eubank Hardware Store.
The bell was hung on two ropes by a pulley and it required two men, one on each rope, to ring the bell. Jennings said that once Everrit Lamb and Jack Stakes were pulling the bell. "Now Everrit was a pretty big man and Jack was fairly small. Every time that Everritt would pull on his side of the bell, Jack, who was holding on to the rope on the other side would rise off the ground," chuck¬led Jennings as he recalled the situation.
Later on a siren was purchased, but the department hung the bell on the water tower to use in case of electricity failure.Some of the early fire chiefs were L.H. Treadwell, T.L. Jennings, C.P. Churchwell, J.T. Selman, Hulette Jones, Howard Jones, Donald Gibbs, Durwood Jordan and Clarence Mixon.Several past presidents include L.H. Treadwell, E.T. Fitzgerald, Eugene Woolver-ton, P. Pearson, Marice Wheat, Kenneth Norman, Bill Hagler, Jack Anderson and Spencer Stegall.
Seventeen year department veteran Clar¬ence Mixon recalled that the first fire his son Junior had to work was his own home.
"We didn't get too much work out of Junior," laughed Mixon. "He was too busy trying to calm his wife down."Durwood Jordan, veteran fire fighter, said that one of the most difficult fires he ever worked was the J.C. Gibbs barn. The weather was freezing and Dub was driving the model "A" which had no windshield. He was able to drive to Roddy when his hands got so cold he could no longer grip the steering wheel. Labon Smith had been crouched down in the seat so he managed to drive the rest of the way. Ice had to be broken on a nearby tank to obtain water. Jordan said he remembered how grateful all the firemen were to Mrs. Ella Gibbs for bringing them hot coffee to help keep them warm."Although it was hard to be a fireman, I still listen for that siren and feel that I should run to that truck. I really appreciate our firemen today," said Jordan.