In 1875 Modesto Hook and Ladder Company, Volunteer Fire Department was organized. Man-powered hose cart 21/2. They operated out of a building in the 800 block of 10th (10th/H). A group of civic-minded men organized a volunteer fire department which, in the years that followed, did its very best with primitive equipment and meager water pressure to cope with the many serious fires that plagued the city. In the days before cities like Modesto had professional firemen and modern fire equipment, the volunteer fire department was an honored civic organization. The men of highest standing in the community... judges, lawyers, mechanics, merchants and clergy men... took pride in their membership.
In 1881, nearly all the business houses on Ninth Street (The Front) were destroyed by fire. In 1884 the year the City was incorporated, all the properties between 9th and 11th streets were burned, and in 1899 another fire would have destroyed a large part of the business district except for the fact the city had finally installed fire hydrants with enough pressure to keep the fire barely under control. The last big fire of old Modesto occurred in 1901 when the wooden shacks on and near the corner of 11th and I streets were destroyed, and the last vestiges of the original business district were wiped out.
In 1910 George Wallace was hired as a first paid FF because he was good with horses. He bought 2 horses to pull hose and a ladder wagon. (Prince and Charlie). He bought 2 horses (Bud and Queen). The main Fire Station was relocated to 715 10th Street Called "Central Fire Station" it was also shared with City Hall. In 1911 he was appointed Fire Chief. Modesto Fire Department bought Pope Hartford hose and chemical engine in 1919. It began using gasoline-powered fire apparatus.