In the Latter part of the 1970’s, Atascocita was just starting to grow as a community. FM 1960 was still a two lane road, and trees still outnumbered houses. There were few restaurants. There was no Wal-Mart, no McDonalds, no Kroger or HEB Pantry. There was also no local fire department.
The Residents of Atascocita had to rely on the city of Humble, TX to provide fire & ambulance services to them, which often took a long time especially considering that a life could have been at stake. Realizing this, a number of forward-thinking Atascocita residents decided that the time had come for Atascocita to form its own fire department. The citizens filed paperwork with the appropriate state and county agencies, and then began to raise money from the community to fund this endeavor. AVFD pursued numerous fundraising activities such as recycling newspapers and aluminum cans, encouraging residents to donate $5 a month on their water bill, and hosting fundraising events. Finally in 1976, AVFD was able to raise enough capital to purchase its first fire engine, a 1976 Ford Firefox pumper.
The new fire truck was housed at Humble Fire Department’s Station 2 on Wilson Road while Atascocita’s new station was being constructed on the corner of Farmingham Road and Walden Forest Drive (where it still stands today). In 1978, the Atascocita Volunteer Fire Department was incorporated in the State of Texas as a 501(c) not-for-profit corporation.
Since 1978 AVFD has grown considerably. In 2008, a study by Bloomberg BusinessWeek named Atascocita as the fastest growing community in Texas. The Atascocita Volunteer Fire Department had to grow to match the increased population and requests for service. Today the fire department is an exceptionally professional organization that boasts some of the most modern apparatus, state of the art equipment, and highly trained paid and volunteer staff. The apparatus list consists of a 100 foot tower, four custom cab pumpers, a brush truck and UTV, five ambulances, and several utility and command vehicles. The department also has a beautiful antique American LaFrance fire truck which is used as a parade and public relations vehicle.
Personnel wise, the department has nearly 200 staff members. The department proudly still maintains a strong volunteer corps, however, AFD employees paid staff to maintain staffing requirements to ensure quick response times. AFD paid staff man three ambulances 24/7/365 and 2-3 fire engines 24/7/365. A large volunteer membership ensures additional resources are available at a moments notice, in addition to staffing duty shifts throughout the week.
In January of 2001, the AVFD campaigned successfully to the residents of the community to approve the creation of Rural Fire Prevention District 46, (now Emergency Services District #46), a taxing district, so that the department would have a reliable source of income to be able to keep up with that tremendous growth. In 2007 AVFD and ESD 46 were able to provide a return on the residents’ investment and achieved an ISO rating of 3, which drastically lowered insurance premiums of the residents.
AFD runs over 3500 calls in a calendar year (about 70 percent EMS and 30 percent Fire). Funding from ESD 46 ensures AFD firefighters are highly trained and operate a modern fleet. They have some of the most advanced tools and equipment and are able to provide excellent fire suppression and rescue services to the residents of Atascocita. Ambulances are staffed with highly experienced paramedics with access to the latest life-saving equipment and training. ESD 46/AFD work hard to ensure the residents of Atascocita enjoy one of the best Fire and EMS departments in the area.
In addition to responding to calls, the Fire Prevention Division is very active in our community, teaching Fire Prevention in local Pre-Schools, Elementary Schools, and Middle Schools. AFD also set up Fire Prevention booths at local events, in the local business establishments throughout the year, and offer Fire Pre-Planning assistance to both local businesses as well as residents. Proudly we have had very few fires which have been started by children in our area.
In 2017, ESD 46 assumed operational responsibilities and now operates as Atascocita Fire Department. ESD 46 commissioners, leadership, and employee’s, constantly strive to make the AFD the very best that it can be while being fiscally responsible to the citizens. However, the more things change in Atascocita, the more some things stay the same.