The San Marcos Fire Department was officially founded when the first Fire Chief, J.R. Porter was elected on May 4, 1884. Shortly after it's inception, the department was shown to consist of 50 volunteers, 1 paid man, 3 horses, 1 hook and ladder wagon, 2 hose wagons, and 1,600 feet of hose. In the year 1914, the fire station burned down, killing the department's horses and destroying much of its equipment as well effectively bringing to a close the days of the horse-drawn fire wagons.
It was in this same year that the department purchased their very first mechanized apparatus - a 1914 LeFrance pumper engine affectionately nicknamed Old Faithful. Though she was lost for many years after being removed from service, the SMFD is now once again in possession of this apparatus thanks to a generous donation from the Headrick Family! After the fire of 1914, the department was able to build a new fire station/City Hall at 224 N. Guadalupe St. (now serving as the Texas State Fire Studios) with a $20,000 bond and an additional $1,000 from the Commissioners Court of Hays County for the purchase of fire equipment.
By the 1940's, the department had grown dramatically under the leadership of Chief Lewis Haynes and had over 80 volunteers helping to keep the citizens of San Marcos safe. Although the first career firefighters were hired in the 1960's, the department continued to utilize volunteers until the summer of 2009.