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.