1892 Fire Pumper Returns Home to the Alamo City: Vintage Apparatus is Now Part of San Antonio Fire Museum Collection

In 1892, the City of San Antonio purchased an Ahrens fire pumper manufactured that year by the American Fire Engine Company of Ohio. It battled many a blaze by pumping 700 to 750 gallons of water per minute and could carry up to six men if needed.

However, this horse-drawn, fire pumper, also known as a steam fire engine, was retired from service in 1910 when fire engines in San Antonio became motorized. The San Antonio Fire Department then donated it to the Witte Museum in 1939. The Witte loaned the truck to the Houston Fire Museum, then on Aug. 14, 2017 it was delivered to the San Antonio Fire Museum.

“After more than 30 years, this 1892 fire pumper has returned to the Alamo City and will now be part of our permanent exhibition thanks to the Witte Museum,” said Jim Wueste, president of the San Antonio Fire Museum. “We believe it will make a great addition to our collection of vintage fire trucks.”

Other museum highlights include vintage fire trucks, including a 1912 American LaFrance and a 1951 Mack, which the Fire Museum often uses for parades and other special occasions. An EMS truck, vintage uniforms, ropes, axes, a safety net, and other equipment used to battle blazes are also on display. A well-stocked gift shop with Fire Department caps, T-shirts and other items is available, as well as a children’s area with educational opportunities offering fire safety puppet shows for groups of 10 more.

The San Antonio Fire Museum, 801 E. Houston St. 78205, is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, and $2 for children, ages 3-12. Children, 2 years old and younger, are admitted free. For more information, visit www.sanantoniofiremuseum.org or call (210) 390-7236. School and group tours are available.