The Carthage Fire Department actually came into existence in 1918 when its first truck, a Ford Model T Hose Wagon with a 50 gallon chemical tank, was built by the members. Previously the City had been protected by the well-known bucket brigade. The original Chief was L.P. "Dixie" Ross, and charter members included, but not limited to: George Duckworth, Jimmie Johns and T.J. Bounds. There were others, of course. Grady Reed later served as Chief, and in 1929 the Department was re-organized into its present form.
Under the re-organization, John L. Bunyard was elected Chief. He was also named Honorary Chief for life with 65 years of service. He passed away in 1982.
Shortly after re-organization, a 1932 American LaFrance 500 GPM Pumper was delivered, and this truck served until after World War II, when it was given to the neighboring community of Beckville to assist them in organizing their Fire Department.
C.E. "Brodie" Akins was elected Chief in 1969. Still very active, Chief Akins has 50+ years of service to the Department, with the majority of those years as Fire Chief.
Carthage is located on what is called the world's largest natural gas deposit and has caused numerous hazards, as well as many serious fires. Over the years, losses have been minimal.
Current membership is 36 volunteers and 7 paid firemen. Since 1953, several men have served as instructors (6 firemen to date) at the Annual Municipal Texas Fire Training School at A & M University. The Department has furnished 2 officers to the State Firemen's & Fire Marshals' Association of Texas. One is David Clabaugh, who served as President in 1956-57 and Secretary/Treasurer from 1960-1970. Bryan Rickert, previous Fire Marshal, served on the Constitution & By-Laws Committee for 9 years and was President in 2010-2011.
Fire Department Chiefs
1929-1939 J.L. Bunyard Honorary 1940 Emeritus
1940-1942 & 1946 G.V. "Jack" Scott Honorary 1943
1943-1945 & 1959-1966 J.A. "Bill" Barnett Honorary 1967
1947 J.C. "Jake" Walker
1948-1958 L.O. Bowen
1967-1968 Gerald Marshall
1969-Current C.E. "Brodie" Akins