More than 4,500 people celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Texas Municipal Fire Training School at the Brayton Fire Training Field Wednesday night (July 28). The celebration was the capstone of the weeklong school, which drew more than 2,200 firefighters representing 734 fire departments from every corner of the state and beyond, along with nearly 500 guest instructors from the fire service who volunteered their time and expertise.
The school is presented by the Texas Engineering Extension Service, a part of the Texas A&M Engineering Program, and is sponsored by the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshals’ Association.
Vice Chancellor and Dean of Engineering Dr. G. Kemble Bennett presented the keynote address and “bunkered out” in firefighting gear to fight the first fire as part of the public firefighting demonstration. Thirteen live-fueled firefighting props were burned for the demonstration as the fires were fought by instructors. The event concluded with a fireworks show.
Special guests participating in the celebration included State Sen. Steve Ogden, State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, Brazos County Judge Randy Sims, Mayor Ron Silvia of College Station and Center for Domestic Preparedness Director Marion Cain. Special guests representing The Texas A&M University System were Texas A&M Regents John White and Bill Jones, Interim Chancellor Dr. A. Benton Cocanougher and Texas A&M President Dr. Robert Gates.
The first Municipal School was held in 1930 as part of the Texas A&M Chemistry Department and attracted 196 firefighters representing 76 Texas cities and towns. The following year the Texas Legislature approved House Bill 921 authorizing Texas A&M to create and operate a permanent firemen’s training school. Since then, the Municipal School has grown to become the largest of its kind anywhere in the world.