NewsPositively Central Texas


Generations of Service: Downsville Fire Department

Posted at 6:20 AM, Jul 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-25 07:20:22-04

WACO, Texas — The history of Downsville begins in the 1850s after the Freedom Colony was now owned by former slaves.

Since then, they've been a small community with a big heart when it comes to community and service all stemming from the Downsville Volunteer Fire Department.

Records trace the history of Downsville back for more than two centuries.

Delphine Thomas, the wife of former Fire Chief Willie Thomas shares since the 80s the fire department was a place of refuge and the string that tied the community together.

"We used to have Bar-B-Ques, we use to have chili supers," Thomas said.

For generations the Thomas family have lived and served in Downsville.

Willie Thomas Sr. became the first Fire Chief in their time of need, creating many of the traditions the community still follow today. His son Thomas Jr. shares the legacy his father left behind.

"Parents lived on about 80 acres kinda adjacent location from the fire department so yes, Robinson our adjacent city needed us to get our own fire department so he stepped up as fire chief and took it from there," shares former Fire Chief Willie Thomas Jr, f

But, sadly when Thomas Jr. retired, those events stopped.

But this year, current Chief James Crist wants to bring back the support in the community. Support that helped him as a kid, and continue the traditions and events that make Downsville what it is today.

"I want to bring everyone together all in one and just like you know how it used to be just like the old school," Crist said.

The Fire Department is off to a great start, hosting their first ever Downsville Community Day on July 15th. For more information on future events of if you want to support this historic community, you can visit their website here.