Old County Fire Truck(s) - Housed in Brenham
(lt.-rt.) Leroy Schroeder (Cty Comm, pct. 3), Gus Mutscher -cty judge -Chief Korthauser, Robert Gaskamp (cty comm, pct.2), Weldon Mudthis, _cty comm, pct.4)
The Prairie Hill – Rocky Hill Volunteer Fire Department was organized in 1959 by 6 men. The group first met at Lehmann’s Store on FM 50, then moved to the St. John’s Church Annex, and later at Prairie Hill Hall. Walter Lehmann was elected as the department’s first Fire Chief. At the time of organization, an agreement had been reached between Washington County and the Brenham Fire Department, whereby the county would purchase a fire truck. The truck would be housed at the Brenham Fire Station and would be used on both city and county fire calls. For fire calls in the rural areas, the Brenham Fire Department would provide a driver to bring the fire truck to the rural fire scene. The rural firemen were to man the truck and fight the fires. This agreement was later dissolved and the county truck was sold, placing all responsibility for rural fires with the rural departments.
In 1963 the Prairie Hill VFD had grown to approximately 50 members and had built a homemade water trailer. The water trailer had a 400 gallon tank and a 2 inch pump powered by a lawn mower engine. Most of the members at that time drove pick-up trucks and would drive to a small barn next to Lehmann’s Store and hook up to the trailer for fire calls. Since the department had no radios or pagers, notification of a fire alarm was accomplished by a telephone alert plan usually handled by wives of the firefighters. The fire trailer remained in service until 1972. The department purchased a used 1959 Chevy Viking truck and built a fire truck using surplus or donated materials and labor.
In 1973, the department built a station on donated property large enough to hold one truck. This building was later enlarged to make room for another truck and a meeting room.
In 1982 a used 1975 Chevy C-80 truck was purchased and built locally. This truck was outfitted with most of the necessary equipment.
In 1984, the department, which had grown to approximately 150 members, built a new double bay building on donated property to house the trucks and serve as a gathering place for the department’s family nights and, also could be leased by others, creating much needed revenue. Due to the rapid increase in the use of this building it was enlarged several years later.
In 1989, the department purchased a used 1985 Chevy C-80 chassis. Once again, local labor was used to build the truck. This was used as a tanker/engine due to its 1,400 gallon capacity and large water pump. This truck is still in service as a tanker.
In 1990, Chief Walter Lehmann retired and the department elected it’s second Fire Chief. Doyle Dahmann was elected to replace Walter Lehmann and remains in that position today.
In 1995, the department purchased a new Ford F-350 4x4 truck chassis. The truck was completed by Clay’s Welding and has 350 gallon tank with foam system, SCBA, ladders and a generator. This truck is currently the first out wildfire engine.
In 2001, the department purchased a new Ford F-450 4x4 chassis. The truck was completed by Clay’s Welding and has 500 gallon tank with foam system, SCBA, ladders, and generator. This truck is currently the first out engine.
In 2010 the department dedicated its third home in 50 plus years. The New fire station was built on the same property as the old station. The old station was renovated and became the meeting hall.
In 2011 the department took delivery of its first commercially produced fire truck. The department received a Texas Forest Service grant and a grant from Washington County. The remainder of the funds came from community donations. On May 16, 2014, the department accepted a 5 ton military truck to be used as a heavy brush rig.
The department has over 325 supporting members and 15 firefighters. The department is a state chartered, non-profit fire protection corporation and derives 95% of its operational budget from community donations. Firefighters train under the S.F.F.M.A. guidelines and attend TAMU fire schools.