HFD Fire Station 68

HFD Fire Station 68 HFD Fire Station 68 is one of the busiest fire stations in the City of Houston. The station opened, unofficially, in November 1972. Years to be more precise.
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HFD Fire Station 68 is a two-story, modern-construction, brick structure located on Bissonnet at S Gessner in southwest Houston. The original crew consisted of one Chauffeur (now titled Engineer/Operator) and one Pipeman/Ladderman (now titled Firefighter). The Houston Fire Department was, at the time, working a three-shift schedule; 10-hour days, 14-hour nights. The first apparatus assigned to the

station was a 1967 International Booster. The truck rode and drove like a tank. Members of the station referred to it as “The Red Rocket”. The area surrounding the station was mostly farmland. Virtually every road to the south and west was either dirt or gravel. Highway 59, now known as the Southwest Freeway, ended at Bellaire Blvd. Emergency responses were few in those early days. The closest fire station was Fire Station 51, located on Bellaire at Bintliff. The dispatchers would often forget that Station 68 existed and would send Engine 51 into 68’s territory. The men assigned to 68’s would stand in the driveway, laugh, and wave at Engine 51 as they drove past. Engine 51’s crew would wave back giving the old “one finger salute” as they disappeared down the long dusty road.



•1973 - Station 68 officially opens. The first engine assigned to the station was a 1968 Ward LaFrance. This pumper was transferred to 68’s from Station 8, located on Crawford at Polk in downtown Houston. It was equipped with a 1000 gpm pump and a 5-speed standard transmission. The engine was a Cummings diesel. That was unique due to the fact that all other diesel-powered apparatus in the Houston Fire Department at the time had Detroit diesel engines.

•1974 - The first ladder truck was placed in-service at 68’s. It was a 1970 Ward LaFrance that was transferred from Station 21, located on S Main near Loop 610.

•1975 - Ambulance 68 is placed into service.

•1976 - Station 68 becomes a district house due to a realignment of districts. The district house had been located at Station 48, located on Chimney Rock at Burdine. The Chiefs assigned to 48’s were transferred to 68’s. The Chief’s radio call number was #114. District Chiefs Blackmon, Olgetree, and Ross are believed to be the first District Chiefs assigned to 68’s.

•1979 - Station 68 received their first “new” apparatus on May 31. It was a 1978 American LaFrance Tele-Squirt. By now, the area had grown tremendously, and along with the growth, came a great increase in emergency responses. This meant that the apparatus wouldn’t last as long as they used to. The City of Houston wasn’t in the habit of purchasing new apparatus when needed. The normal practice was to refurbish what they had. The turn-around time for such a project was rather long. When it came time to replace, repair, or refurbish the “Squirt”, the men at 68’s weren’t about to leave the project to chance. Terry Crawford, along with Gary “Boo” Bourgeois, David “Radar” Kwiatkowski, Robert Todd, Mark Carroll, and an HFD mechanic named Jerry Rosenquist, completely rebuilt the “Squirt”. Of course, others contributed to the effort but the names of those individuals are not available at this time.

•1979 - A new district was added at Station 59. This resulted in a change of the radio call number for District 114. It would now be known as District 119.

•1983 - The Houston Fire Department changes all of the apparatus radio call numbers. Example: 268 became Engine 68; 368 became Ladder 68; 1168 became Ambulance 68; District 119 became District 68 and so on.

•1994 - After 22 years in service, Station 68 is remodeled for the first time.

•1998 - Fire Districts on the southwest side are realigned. District 68 is reassigned to Fire Station 10, located on Corporate at Clarewood, and 68’s became part of District 82, which now included Fire Stations 82, 68, 59, & 80.

• 2002 - Medic 68 is converted to Ambulance 68. Squad 68, a 1998 Chevrolet Suburban, is added to Station 68 as well. The Paramedics assigned to Medic 68 are transferred to Squad 68. Firefighter EMT’s assigned to the Engine & Ladder add the Ambulance to their riding rotation. The ALS Squad is part of a new program from the HFD Medical Director to help improve response times. The theory is that busiest existing Medic Units would be converted to BLS Ambulances. An ALS Squad would be placed in service to support 3 to 4 BLS Ambulances. If the EMS call is determined to be a BLS call, the Squad would then be put back in service to assist other BLS Ambulances. This is done throughout the city.

•2003 - Fire Station 68 is designated as a Paramedic “rotation” station. This allows Paramedics assigned to Squad 68 to rotate to a Fire Apparatus every third working day, giving them an opportunity not normally given to HFD Paramedics who have traditionally been forced to ride only EMS units.

•2006 - Fire Districts throughout the city are realigned, yet again. District 10 is moved to Fire Station 83, losing Fire Stations 73 & 51. The end result is the return of District 68, home to Fire Station 68, 51, 82, & 73 – all busy stations. 68’s flat-bottom Evacuation Boat & Booster Truck are moved to Fire Station 82 to make room for District 68’s unit.

•2013 - Both Fire Station 68 and District 68 suffer their first Line of Duty Deaths when four firefighters from the A-shift are killed battling the Southwest Inn fire on May 31st: Captain Mathew Renaud & Chauffeur Robert Bebee from Engine 51; and Firefighters Robert Garner & Anne Sullivan from Engine 68. Also critically injured in the fire was Engine 68 Captain William “Iron Bill” Dowling. Later in the fire, multiple other firefighters would become injured in the rescue effort. Most seriously injured were Anthony Livesay and Robert Yarbrough – both from Rescue.

•2016 - Beginning in early January and finishing in mid-July, Fire Station 68 is remodeled a second time. Major improvements to the back parking lot now allowed for all apparatus to “pull-through”, eliminating the need to back-in to the station, which had been the cause of many wrecks involving civilians attempting to whip around the back of the apparatus as they backed in over the years. The original terrazzo floors were also covered with ceramic floor tiles and the large floor to ceiling windows were all replaced with small pocket windows that can be opened for ventilation. During the renovation, Engine 68 and Ambulance 68 remained on site and were housed in temporary quarters (Fire Trailer 68); District 68, Ladder 68, and Squad 68 were all temporarily relocated to Fire Station 82.

•2019 - After nearly 17 years of service, the Squad program officially ended, and Squad 68 is converted to Medic 68. Numerous other Squads throughout the city were also converted to Medic units. Things have changed a lot through the years. What was once a slow and often forgotten station out in the middle of a cow pasture has turned in to one of the busiest fire stations in the United States. In the year 2000, according to Firehouse Magazine’s National Run Survey, Fire Station 68 was the busiest fire station in the city of Houston and was listed as the 20th busiest station in the United States. Today, Fire Station 68 is home to over 60 men & women. There are 14 assigned positions for each of the four shifts, plus ever rotating Paramedic students & Probationary Firefighters. There are three officers on each shift: the District Chief, Senior Captain, and Captain. The Senior Captain commands the ladder truck, driven by an Engineer/Operator, with two Firefighters in the back. The Captain commands the Engine Pumper, driven by another Engineer/Operator, with two additional Firefighters in the back. The Firefighters who are EMTs rotate shift to shift from either apparatus to the Ambulance. Firefighters who are Paramedics also rotate shift to shift from either apparatus to the Medic.

09/12/2023
08/17/2023
Thanks again, New Fishers Church!
07/31/2023

Thanks again, New Fishers Church!

07/14/2023

Sources within the Houston Fire Department said that a cardiac arrest patient waited 29 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, while firefighters on the scene administered CPR.

12/27/2022

Arrangements have been finalized for Glenn Barber Jr. Services are Friday.

HFD Fire Station 31 is located approximately 1.7 miles from this incident. Unfortunately, at the time of the fire, Ladde...
12/25/2022

HFD Fire Station 31 is located approximately 1.7 miles from this incident. Unfortunately, at the time of the fire, Ladder 31 did not respond as it sat empty at Station 31 due to staffing issues.

Along with Ladder 31, the following apparatus are also currently out of service today, 12/25/2022, due to a lack of manpower:

Ladder 16 (Montrose)
Tower 21 (South Main)
Ladder 28 (Galleria)
Ladder 29 (Old Galveston Road)
Ladder 34 (Laura Koppe)
Ladder 44 (Greens Bayou)
Ladder 51 (Sharpstown)
Ladder 59 (Hiram Clarke)
Ladder 76 (Alief)
Ladder 78 (Energy Corridor)
Ladder 90 (Addicks Park Ten)

Investigators are working to determine the cause of the deadly fire that began Christmas morning.

12/24/2022To the residents, business owners, and visitors of the City of Houston: the men and women of the Houston Fire ...
12/24/2022

12/24/2022

To the residents, business owners, and visitors of the City of Houston: the men and women of the Houston Fire Department wish you a safe and joyous holiday season! With that being said, please be EXTRA safe and EXTRA cautious this holiday season because, due to staffing issues that the Houston Fire Department Command Staff and the City of Houston City Council have known about for quite some time, numerous fire apparatus have been placed out of service today due to a lack of manpower.

The following apparatus are currently out of service due to a lack of manpower:

Engine 1 (Downtown)
Engine 26 (Dixie Drive)
Engine 60 (Piney Point)
Engine 68 (Braeburn)
Ladder 16 (Montrose)
Tower 21 (South Main)
Ladder 26 (Dixie Drive)
Ladder 28 (Galleria)
Ladder 34 (Laura Koppe)
Ladder 38 (Afton Village)
Ladder 51 (Sharpstown)
Ladder 55 (Sunny Side)
Ladder 59 (Hiram Clarke)
Ladder 68 (Braeburn)
Tower 69 (Westchase)
Ladder 90 (Addicks Park Ten)
Ladder 102 (Kingwood)

*2021 WORKING BUILDING FIRES STATISTICS*
(numbers provided are the number of working building fires the apparatus responded to and how it ranked amongst the ten busiest fire response apparatus in the city)

• Engine 68: 142 fires (1st)
• Tower 21: 83 fires (8th)
• Ladder 26: 93 fires (6th)
• Ladder 34: 98 fires (4th)
• Ladder 51: 136 fires (2nd)
• Ladder 68: 142 fires (1st)

12/20/2022

An investigation is underway after a three-alarm fire at an auto shop in southwest Houston Tuesday, crews with the Houston Fire Department said.

12/11/2022

Investigators said a group of men were drinking alcohol in the parking lot when an argument broke out.

11/04/2022

An investigation is underway after an employee at a taco truck was shot in southwest Houston Thursday, officers with the Houston Police Department said.

10/28/2022

13 Investigates found Houston Fire Department EMS is low on ambulance availability a third of the day.

10/22/2022

One person is dead and two others were hurt after a drive-by shooting outside a gas station in southwest Houston, police say.

10/18/2022

Arrangements have been finalized for Firefighter/EMT Orlando Logan.

10/14/2022

Houston Fire Department is sadden to report the passing of Active Duty Firefighter Orlando Logan. Please keep the Logan family, the Houston Fire Department and those who knew Firefighter Logan in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

09/27/2022

The Houston Fire Department Receives Grant for Firefighter Health and Wellness September 27, 2022 Alicia Whitehead-Breaux The AFG grant will provide cancer screenings and enhance firefighter health and safety HOUSTON -The Houston Fire Department (HFD) was awarded a highly competitive Federal grant t...

09/13/2022

“Today the hosted their 2nd WE REMEMBER Luncheon to honor first responders and members of the military. would like to thank The Fertitta Family and the for being recognized today ”

09/06/2022

The Houston Fire Department received a donation Tuesday that will help improve firefighter training, reduce injuries, and save lives, according to a news release.

08/28/2022

Four people are dead including a suspect after a fire at a southwest Houston home led to an officer-involved shooting early Sunday, police said.

08/23/2022

All donations go directly to Joshua Farmer and his wife, Janae Farmer.

08/15/2022

Flames were shooting through the roof of multiple units when Air 11 flew over the scene on Court Glen in the Alief area.

08/14/2022
08/09/2022

Chief Samuel Peña with the Houston Fire Department is making a public plea after two HFD paramedics reportedly had a gun pointed at them Monday.

08/08/2022

An 18-year-old man was pronounced dead after a shooting at an apartment complex in southwest Houston Sunday afternoon, according to officials.

07/30/2022

Today is about remembering our fallen brother. You can join us for the memorial service for Malcolm Willis at 10 using the following link. https://youtu.be/qitG8nFjmVk

07/26/2022

Arrangements are now finalized for brother Malcolm Willis, who suffered a fatal heart attack earlier this month.

07/20/2022

Officers found a body wrapped in a black blanket, duct-taped and then wrapped in a red sheet.

07/15/2022

Arrangements have been finalized for the line of duty service for brother Walter Graves, a 19-year veteran HFD firefighter who lost his battle with work-related cancer July 6.

07/07/2022

The Houston Fire Department is saddened to report active Firefighter Walter Graves, passed away July 6, after a courageous fight with occupational cancer.

He entered The Department in 2003 and was currently serving from Fire Station 53 “B Shift” in the Northshore area of Houston. Graves was also an U.S. Veteran and Constable with Waller County Precinct 3. He leaves behind a wife and four children.

Services are pending.

Please, keep his family, friends and members at Fire Station 53, in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

06/23/2022

Expect delays! TxDOT does not expect all lanes to reopen until the mid-afternoon. Video shows scattered metal and a fallen freeway sign.

06/02/2022

A murder suspect has barricaded themselves inside an apartment after a man was fatally shot in southwest Houston Thursday, police said.

Ladder 68, the closest ladder truck to the dispatched address, sat empty in Fire Station 68 yesterday due to a lack of m...
05/22/2022

Ladder 68, the closest ladder truck to the dispatched address, sat empty in Fire Station 68 yesterday due to a lack of manpower.

Fortunately, all of the residents were able to make it out of the building on their own and the responding personnel were able to get the job done. Unfortunately, it appears that the current staffing shortage has no end in sight.

05/17/2022

There is a major traffic alert in Houston.

05/16/2022

House on Fire
9502 Ravensworth Dr
May 16, 2022 7:29 AM

L68 - Vertical Ventilation

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8602 Bissonnet Street
Houston, TX
77074

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