During the pre-Pearl Harbor days of 1941, eight mostly middle-aged Seabrook citizens began battle with another, closer enemy: FIRE. Thus, the Seabrook Fire Department was born, and Oscar Key became the first fire chief. Before long, the middle-aged citizens realized that a firefighter must be physically capable as well; so some young fellows were recruited and trained, and James Graves eventually assumed the role of fire chief. This transition allowed most of the founders to step aside and let a generation of younger firefighters assume the responsibilities of providing fire service to the community. Four of the original founding members are still Seabrook residents.
The first fire apparatus for the fire department was an old Fair Maid bread truck fitted with a centrifugal pump that claimed to have out-squirted two Mutual Aid factory-built pumpers at a waterfront club fire. In 1945, the fire department briefly ceased to operate because the equipment stopped working- for lack of repair funds. The townspeople were irate at first, but a town meeting was held and the hat was passed, and the department has been active ever since.
Following World War II, a war surplus pumper was acquired. Eventually, the driving engine gave out, so the first person responding to the station would hook up his personal car, and tow the pumper to the fire. Chief Graves kid brother, Charles, often steered the pumper. Eventually, Charles Graves would rise to the rank of Chief of the Department.
In 1953, the department turned a new Dodge truck into a fine combination pumper. It was this truck that was also called the “Lunch Box Special,” because many of the members worked for area plants and the companies donated parts. That “Lunch Box Special” stayed in service until several years ago, when it was finally retired. Also in 1953, the department filed and received its charter and officially became the chartered fire department for Seabrook.
In 1955 the department obtained a 1921 American LaFrance rig that, sadly, no longer exists. Also in 1955, the fire department signed a 10-year lease agreement with Clear Creek Independent School District for the property where the original Seabrook VFD Station 1 was located at 2nd St. and Highway 146 in Seabrook. In 1964 another lease was signed for 50 years.
Funeral homes used to provide the only transport service for injured persons needing transport to area hospitals. In 1958 the Seabrook Volunteer Emergency Corps, Inc. was formed to provide the area with medical First Aid care until Jack Rowe Funeral Home could arrive. Later when the Clear Lake Emergency Corps, was formed, this service was stopped, except specifically for members of the department, and during fire calls. SVFD has maintained a close working relationship with CLEMC to this day, with many members being members of both agencies.
In 1961 and 1962 two FMC Ford John Bean pumpers were purchased and remained in service until 1983 when they were replaced with a new pumper.
During the 1970s and 80s, the department continued to serve the communities of Seabrook and El Lago. Because of the community, SVFD has always had a close relationship with NASA, with many members being employed at NASA. The department continued to grow in membership and as the surrounding communities developed, the mission continued to expand.
In 1994 the department entered into a lease with the City of El Lago for property located adjacent to their city hall on Lakeshore Drive. Station 2 was built to provide better protection to El Lago and the upper NASA Road 1 area and to appeal to the residents of El Lago and gain further membership. Station 2 has since provided members living in that area a chance to support the community with faster response times.
In 2006, SVFD moved into its new Station 1, located at East Meyer. SVFD also acquired a 95’ Pierce Tower, greatly enhancing the capabilities of the department.
Presently the department provides fire, rescue, medical first responder limited HAZMAT services to the cities of Seabrook and El Lago and the adjacent unincorporated area of Harris County, with a combined population of approximately 14,000. The department consists of all volunteers, employing various pieces of apparatus, including three engines, one combination rescue-pumper, one 95’ tower, one fire boat with a 3000gpm water pump, an RHIB rescue boat, and numerous smaller support vehicles and apparatus.