Before there was a formal fire department in Pflugerville, the local merchants took care of business by keeping fire buckets under the porch of Steger’s Store which was located at the present day corner of Pecan and First Street. Whenever there was a fire, citizens gathered with fire buckets and a bucket brigade was formed to extinguish fires.
As the community grew and Central Texas was experiencing the historic drought of the 1950s, concerned citizens walked across fields asking neighbors for donations to purchase a fire truck. In 1955, the Pflugerville Volunteer Fire Department was formally chartered and a fire truck was purchased for $4,000. The day the truck was delivered volunteer firefighters responded to a building fire.
Shortly after the Pflugerville Volunteer Fire Department was chartered in October 1955 land, where the local men’s shooting and bowling club called the Schuetzen Kegel Verein was located, was purchased by the Department for $10.00.
In 1956, the Fire Hall was dedicated with the hope that “…the equipment housed…may not be needed, but at the same time it is the purpose and the desire of the Fire Department to stand ready at any and all times to make use of this equipment to the saving of property and of…lives.”
The night of July 21, 1971 was a pivotal historic moment for the Pflugerville Volunteer Fire Department when a structure fire burned in downtown Pflugerville destroying an entire block. Inadequate water supply was an instrumental threat in efforts to combat the fire. Firefighters had to drive outside the city to refill the one truck tanker until other area fire department's arrived on the scene with water tankers.
Fire units from Austin, Round Rock Taylor, Georgetown, Manor, Leander, Oak Hill and Travis County Fire Control arrived to assist with a total of 80 firefighters and eight water tankers. The incident resulted in the Department realizing the equipment was not sufficient to respond adequately and began initiatives to raise funds to purchase proper equipment.
Efforts to raise funds through barbecues, bake sales and dances continued but the net result began to decline and not enough funds were raised to sustain the Department. In 1985, Volunteers led the effort to form a rural fire prevention district as a result of the rapid growth in the Pflugerville area. Travis County Rural Fire Prevention District (RFPD) No. 3 became a reality with voters’ overwhelming support thus providing a stable funding source for fire protection. The District was supported with a 3-cent tax on each $100.00 of appraised property value.
Growth in the community and demand for services continued to increase. The new funding mechanism worked well until the economic downturn of the late 1980s and early 1990s resulting in reduced funding. Although the funding reduced, the demand for services remained. In an effort to adequately support the Department, a vote was called to convert to an Emergency Services District. The voter-approved legislation allowed for the creation of the present Travis County Emergency Services District No. 2 and a new limit of a 10-cent property tax. Once again, the fire department evolved to respond appropriately to the needs of the community.
Today, Travis County ESD No. 2 / Pflugerville Fire Department has a great responsibility in providing fire suppression, fire prevention, and first response emergency medical care covering 100 square miles with personnel and equipment working out of four fire stations ready 24 hours a day.