EP History Museum features fire department

The El Paso Fire Department’s prized 1901 Steamer, Engine No. 2 on display at the El Paso Museum of History Saturday. Photos by Wendy Brown, Fort Bliss Bugle Staff.

The El Paso Fire Department’s prized 1901 Steamer, Engine No. 2 on display at the El Paso Museum of History Saturday. Photos by Wendy Brown, Fort Bliss Bugle Staff.

By Wendy Brown, Fort Bliss Bugle Staff:

Dejah Butler, 10, proudly wore the red, plastic firefighter hat she received at the front door of the El Paso Museum of History.

She walked in beside her father, Fort Bliss Fire Chief Charles Butler, who wore his dress blue uniform for the occasion — the unveiling of a new exhibit that features the El Paso Fire Department Saturday.

Together, after the speeches and ribbon cutting, the two slowly explored the exhibit entitled, “Up in Smoke: The Early Days of the El Paso Fire Department,” which includes the department’s prized 1901 Steamer, Engine No. 2, historic uniforms and artifacts such as a fire alarm box from the early 1900s.

Dejah and her father also enjoyed visiting a key part of the exhibition for children — a custom-made fire truck cab at floor level so children can easily walk into it.

“If you’ll look at the horn button, it says, ‘For the children of El Paso,’” said Wade Warling, retired battalion chief for the El Paso Fire Department. “It is the only one in existence.” A box next to the fire truck cab contains child-sized firefighter uniforms so children can try them on.

Carlos Guillen, a dispatcher for El Paso emergency services, helps his stepson Gabriel Gaona, 3, put on a firefighter’s uniform while perusing, “Up in Smoke: The Early Days of the El Paso Fire Department,” at the El Paso Museum of History Saturday.

Carlos Guillen, a dispatcher for El Paso emergency services, helps his stepson Gabriel Gaona, 3, put on a firefighter’s uniform while perusing, “Up in Smoke: The Early Days of the El Paso Fire Department,” at the El Paso Museum of History Saturday.

Julia Bussinger, director of the El Paso Museum of History, said the exhibit will be on display for a year, and it gives the museum a chance to say thank you to all the firefighters who have served El Paso since 1882.

Ben Fyffe, interim director, museum and cultural affairs department, said El Paso’s 1901 steamer engine — one of only five in the country — is the envy of museum curators across the country.

During a fellowship at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., when people found out Fyffe was from El Paso, they said, “Oh, you’re the one with the fire department,” referring to the truck, Fyffe explained.

The more than 200 people who attended the event heard oral history about the department from Pilo Tejeda, president of the El Paso Retired Firefighters Association.

Tejada, who retired 32 years ago, said when he started at the department, firefighters worked more than twice the number of hours they do now. “You think about the firemen — think about the wives when we used to work 84 hours a week,” Tejada said. “We didn’t see our kids very much. You’d go home and then you were up and at ‘em and the next day you were back at the fire station.”

Firefighters started going door-to-door, asking voters to support a shorter workweek, and gradually, the number declined to 72 hours, then to 52 hours, and now 40 hours a week, Tejada said.

“It’s a good job. It made me a living. I loved the job. Most of the retirees that are here, the reason they’re here is because they love the job,” Tejada said.

Tejada encouraged people to visit the El Paso Firefighters Memorial Park, which is located at 316 West Overland Ave. A memorial stone includes the names of the 16 El Paso firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty, he said.

“We are very fortunate,” Tejada said. “There are some cities on the East Coast that have lost that many at one fire. It’s a job you’ve got to like if you’re going to stay.”

The museum, closed Mondays, is located at 510 N. Santa Fe St. For more information, visit www.elpasotexas.gov/history.

Share

Short URL: http://fortblissbugle.com/?p=25921

Comments are closed

Advertisement Discover Ruidoso

Search Archive

Search by Date
Search by Category
Search with Google
Advertisement Western Tech
Advertisement Discover Ruidoso
Advertisement Laser Tattoo Removal

Photo Gallery

Advertisement
Log in | Designed by Gabfire themes | The Bugle and The Bugle Online are published by Laven Publishing each Thursday.
The Bugle is an unofficial publication authorized by AR 360-1 and printed each Thursday in the interest of the Fort Bliss and El Paso, Texas, communities. It is the only publication allowed to be distributed on Fort Bliss property. The contents of The Bugle are not necessarily the views of, or endorsed by, the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army, or The Laven Group, LLC. The appearance of advertising in The Bugle does not constitute endorsement of the products or services advertised. Any article or service advertised in The Bugle will be made available for purchase, use or patronage without regard to any non-merit factor of consumers. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, advertising from that source will be discontinued until the violation is corrected. The Bugle has a circulation of 15,000 copies. Editorial content is prepared, edited and provided by the Public Affairs Office of Fort Bliss, Bldg. 15, (915) 568-4088 or fax (915) 568-3749. Items submitted for publication in The Bugle should be sent to fortblissbugle@gmail.com, or sent to Fort Bliss, Texas 79916, by noon on Friday before issue. All submissions become Army property and should be typed, double-spaced with the author’s name, signature, and mailing address. Photos should have information attached describing photo and have photographer’s full name. The editor reserves the right to reject or edit all submissions or advertising that do not conform to The Bugle’s journalistic standards. All photos are U.S. Army unless otherwise designated. The Bugle’s classified ad page is a free service reserved for active duty personnel, military retirees, military family members and DAC’s only. Because there is no fee, the only advertisements permitted to be published on this page are ads that cannot be considered commercial ventures. Ads must be written on the standard form published from time to time, or located at Bldg. 15. As classified ads are personal in nature, The Bugle cannot publish ads received through “Shotgun” mail or by fax. The Bugle is a registered trademark in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued Jan. 12, 1988, #1472244. The Bugle is published by the commanding general of Fort Bliss through The Laven Group, LLC, 5959 Gateway Blvd. West, Ste. 450, El Paso, Tx. 79925 • 772-0934, fax; 772-1594, email: susan@lavenpublishing.com. Check out the online version of The Bugle at http://fortblissbugle.com. Click on the e-Edition tab to view the entire newspaper electronically. For Bugle advertising information, call the Laven Publishing Group at 915-772-0934. For rates and mechanical information, visit www.lavenpublishing.com and click on the advertise tab.