Recognizing a Firefighter

Baby Volunteer

Years of Service :


Title :


Highlights with the Department and who he was

The Downsville Volunteer Fire Dept was established in 1980 and has since grown. Over the years many people have walked through the doors to Volunteer with the Fire Department. We are more than just Firefighters, we are Family.

The fire department was stared with a single truck, 1951 International Pumper. Today we have 3 massive trucks and 1 tender with over 3500 gallons of water to fight a fire.


Grants have helped but not more than the community has. During our fundraisers the community helps to support our efforts in new equipment and materials to keep our community safe.


In 1980 the Downsville Volunteer Fire Dept was established. The 1st Fire Chief was Weldon Brandon. During the first couple of years, the one fire truck was all that the department had to work with. In 1982, the land for the department was donated by Justin Rosenfeld. During this time, leadership changed over to Willie Thomas Sr. as Fire Chief and John Weaver as the President.

Under Willie Thomas Sr, the following were also apart of the original Firefighters:


Clifford Crow Ricky Bettinger
Lacy Staten Jr John Rodriguez
Asa Holmes Lawrence Slaughter
Moses Hall Melving Hansen
John A Weaver Joe Stahl
Billy Ray Smith Mitchell Smith
David Stodghill Odale Thomas
Ronnie Thomas Kerry Thomas
Willie Thomas Jr Kelvin Thomas
Jessie Thomas Jessie E Thomas
Judy Bettinger
(Dispatcher)
Shorty Smith
(On Call Firefighter)

As time moved forward, the number of volunteers decreased. For many of the same reasons we face today, time was an issue. We have families and careers that require attention and Volunteering at the Fire Station become difficult. Kelvin Toliver remained loyal to the department and is still serving his community with us today. In 2006, a fresh set of Board Members and fresh faces as Volunteer Firefighters have helped the Fire Department continue to run.

Our current board now consist of

Don Kunze Sue Hansen
Willie Thomas Jr Judy Bettinger
Ms Rodriguez Connie

In 2010, a Volunteer Firefighter moved into Downsville and was invited in as our new Fire Chief. Under the new leadership of Guy Smallridge, the Downsville Volunteer Fire Department went through a period of upgrades. Under, Guy Smallridge; the Fire Dept added volunteers taking the Department from 11 to 14 Volunteers. Downsville Volunteer Fire Department was also able to add a new addition to the Fire Station providing room for a small hall and extra space to park more Apparatus'. We were also able to get grants for a new truck from the Texas Foresty Service. Downsville received an International Truck with an 800 gallon tank. Continuing the success, Downsville also was able to receive a military Duece and 1/2. With the two largest trucks Downsville VOlunteer Fire Department have ever had, a new tender was required. During this time, a tender was acquired and Downsville now has a 2500 gallon tender to help with the operations of the 2 large Apparatus'. All these new vehicles and the Volunteers continued succes with acquiring updated Fire Protection Gear, such as helmets, coats, pants, boots, etc. As of March 1st 2016, Guy Smallridge stepped down as Fire Chief and passed the torch onto Candido Diaz.

Volunteers are Currently

Candido Diaz Pam Diaz
Felix Diaz Don Diaz
Ben Diaz Enrique Diaz
Kelvin Toliver Alex Reeves
Matt Diaz Nick Diaz
Stephen Diaz Retta Smallridge
Tyler Bill Pearce
Vicki Finlay Patrick
Bryan Beavers Bill Burnside
Jacob Graham
(Pending Approval)

As of Saturday December 10, 2016; Downsville Volunteer Fire Department is still running strong and continuing to protect its community with Volunteers. We want to thank Judy Bettinger, Sue Hansen, and all those who had a hand in walking memory lane to produce a more accurate history of the Downsville Volunteer Fire Department.

Some of this information was found in a Waco Trib article dated Thursday January 27th, 1983 and was written by Lisa Neslony.