James T. Glass

James T. Glass

On July 23, 1916, Firefighter James T. Glass, of the Austin Fire Department responded to the new department’s first major fire in the Kreisle Building, located at Congress Avenue and 4th Street, and still stands today. Firefighter James T. Glass had his spine crushed when he was caught under a falling wall and staircase. He lay paralyzed at Brackenridge Hospital until his death on August 17, 1917.  Four firefighters were also seriously injured.

In memory of his ultimate sacrifice, Glass’s badge number, “13” was permanently retired and it’s also why Austin Fire Department does not have a Station 13 today. However, in 2010, Engine 50 located at Austin Fire Department’s Central Station downtown, was re-named Engine 13 in his honor. That same year, it was discovered that Firefighter Glass had been buried in an unmarked grave. The Austin Fire Museum purchased a headstone that was installed on August 17, 2010, with full Austin Fire Department honors and Glass was posthumously awarded the Austin Fire Department Medal of Honor.

Nathaniel Kindred

In 1952, the Austin Fire Department employed under Civil Service law the first three African American firefighters in the state of Texas. Fire Specialist Nathaniel ” Nat” Kindred was part of Texas history, being one of the first three black firefighters that broke the color barrier. He served with the Austin Fire Department for 24 years before dying of a heart attack in 1977 at a fire scene.

Specialist Kindred had assisted with the extinguishment of a water heater closet fire and was sitting on the tailboard of Engine 7 speaking to a community member, when he went into cardiac arrest. Members on scene attempted to revive Specialist Kindred with CPR and defibrillation, but after three hours of effort, Kindred died.

Devon D. Coney

Devon D. Coney

Cadet Devon D. Coney, age 34, of the Austin Fire Department, died on June 26, 2018, after suffering a medical emergency while engaging in physical training activities.