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.