New Braunfels Fire Department Museum

The museum is located at 131 South Hill Avenue in New Braunfels. The museum was originally the Central Fire Station, which was dedicated January 1, 1918. It remained a functioning station until 1985, until the present Central Station opened next door. The museum held it's grand opening on the 150th anniversary of New Braunfels in 1995. To schedule a tour, please contact Fire Administration at (830) 221-4200.

The idea to create a museum was that of Battalion Chief Darren Brinkkoeter. With help from many dedicated firefighters the idea became a reality.

Chronological History


First fire department in New Braunfels, with a single bay shed and a two-wheeled hook and ladder apparatus.


Turner Fire Company begins services to insured citizens of New Braunfels using a hand pump.


New Braunfels Volunteer Fire Department is founded and building codes are adopted in New Braunfels. The fire department is the third oldest continuous fire department in Texas. Initially, personnel were allowed to be members by invitation only and were made up of prominent citizens and merchants from throughout the community. They were dispersed into three fifteen man companies and new members were invited only after a death or retirement. The first apparatus included a dray wagon to haul personnel and three large hose carts that contained hose, kerosene torches, a small tool box and a pry bar.


William Schmidt is appointed as the first fire chief. Subsequent fire chiefs serving various length terms include Emile Galle, Charles Jahn (two separate terms), Richard Gerlich, S.V. Pfeuffer, Fritz Dubert (two separate terms), and William Tay.


Adolphe Henne begins a 15-year term as fire chief.


The first motorized apparatus, a triple combination chemical engine by American LaFrance, was purchased. Professional firefighters began serving the community, complemented by 60 volunteers.


The building housing the New Braunfels Fire Department Museum is completed and is designated Central Fire Station.


Walter Staats begins a 33-year term as fire chief and is the first paid fire chief in the department’s history.


Ernest Alves Jr. becomes the first line of duty death for the fire department, succumbing to injuries received during the Eiband and Fisher store fire.


August Haster is appointed fire chief.


Elmer Zipp begins a 20-year term as fire chief.


The fire department begins providing the first fire department-based EMS system in the region.


Melvin Nolte Sr., during a 1972 flood, becomes the department’s second line of duty death.


Darvin Wetz is appointed fire chief. Fire Stations #2 and #3 are completed.


The fire department begins staffing ambulances to provide advanced life support capabilities.


Phillip Baker begins an 11-year term as fire chief. Fire Stations #1 and #5 are completed.


The New Braunfels Firefighters Association (founded in 1986) becomes affiliated with the International Association of Fire Fighters and is designated Local #3845.


Jack Collier is appointed fire chief.


David Hartwick dies while preparing to respond to a structure fire (LODD #3).


John Herber is appointed fire chief.


John Robinson is promoted to fire chief.


Fire Station #6 is completed and operating.


Assistant Fire Chief position created. Derek Wrenn is appointed Assistant Fire Chief.


Fire Station #4 is completed and opened Oct. 12, 2012


John Robinson retires after serving 7 years as Fire Chief


Kenneth Jacks (formaly of the Richardson TX Fire Department) is appointed Fire Chief.

"Protection with Integrity"