The Early Years of the Fire Prevention Association of North Texas

 

 

The Fire Prevention Association of North Texas had its origins within the North Texas Fire 

Investigators Association (NTFIA). Although, I remember being ribbed for asking about 

secondary containment for underground storage tanks at an Investigators meeting, during the 

years to follow Fire Prevention issues came to be discussed somewhat regularly.   Topics 

discussed included electric locks on exit doors, and pressure vessels.  Eventually the 

consensus was that there was a need for a separate Fire Prevention Association.

 

On March 20, 1985 a Fire Prevention Sub-Committee was appointed to study the feasibility of 

forming a Fire Prevention Association.   Arlington FM Andy Jones was appointed as Interim 

Chairman, with committee members FM Jimmy Leach of Lewisville, and Richard Gibson of the 

Flower Mound FD.  

 

By June 1986, at the NTFIA Monthly Meeting, Vernon Gilmore (Addison FD) had been 

appointed as Chairman of the Fire Prevention Section Committee.  Vernon asked for fire 

prevention topic suggestions that could be addressed by the Fire Prevention Section.  This was 

followed by a discussion of the Code Hearings for revisions to the 1987 Uniform Fire Code.

 

The NTFIA committee recommended the formation of a Fire Prevention Association. The Fire 

Investigators Association approved a contribution of $300 to help the Fire Prevention 

Association get started. Doug Penland was given the assignment to draft a proposed 

Constitution and Bylaws. It can be noted that the Constitutions of the NTFIA and FPANT share 

many similarities. The positions of Chairman & Director, vs. President and Board were adopted 

to promote a more corporate and less para-military environment.  It was decided to permit 

business participation, but they would be limited to being non-voting members.  We wanted to 

avoid the possibility of a business, or trade group gaining control of the Assoc.   The Charter 

Meeting was held on June 10, 1987 at the DFW Airport Dept. of Public Safety Center.  There 

was concern that the Assoc. not be perceived as being dominated by any single city.  The 

Airport was selected as a neutral/central meeting area; it also helped that courtesy of Billy 

Swan, DFW airport as also available to us for free.  We strived to have the Officers and 

Directors represent a diverse group of departments, verses a limited geographic area, or any 

one department.  Dues were $10.00 per person for an active member, not to exceed $30.00 for 

any department.

 

The initial slate of officers included a group of particularly knowledgeable, likable, and influential 

leaders that contributed to a sound start for the association.  Among the Interim Officers were 

some of the most charismatic and successful fire service leaders within the DFW Metroplex.   

The initial success of the Assoc. can be directly traced to the wisdom and tactfulness of these 

officers.  They were very adept at providing guidance and direction to get us on the right path, 

while you felt like it was your own idea.  This list of those who made significant contributions will 

always be incomplete, as I am sure that there are others who quietly gave of their talents and 

time that I was not aware of.  Men like Elmer Amodt (Grand Prairie FM), Jim Flemming, 

(Mesquite FM) & Ron Hawthorne (Bedford FM) who tirelessly served for decades at Secretaries 

and Treasurers of DFW Fire Service Associations with a willing ear, caring heart and welcome 

 

1987 Interim Founding Officers: 

 

Bill Davis               University Park              - Chairman

Billy Swan             DFW Airport                   - Co-Chairman (Past President NTFIA-1985)

Ron Hawthorn       Bedford                          - Secretary 

Claire Erickson      Arlington                        - Treasurer

Don McConaghie  Irving                              - Director

Jimmy Badgett      Dallas Co.                      - Director

Mike Logan           Euless                            - Director

 

 

The following were the initial Charter Members:

 

Vernon Gilmore                                                        //  Addison 

Douglas Penland, Claire Erickson                           //  Arlington

Ron Hawthorn                                                          //  Bedford

Charles Hosey                                                         //  Carrollton

Allen Russell                                                            //  Cedar Hill

Billy Swan, David Barnes, Roy Elliot, Jeff Harwell  //  DFW Airport

Henry Majors, Cynthia Michaels                             //  Dallas

Jimmy Badgett                                                        //  Dallas County

Bob Hagemann                                                       //  Denton

Mike Laws                                                               //  DeSoto

Michael Logan                                                         //  Euless

Ray Cook, Ron Gonzales, Gordon Robbins           //  Farmers Branch

Elmer J Amodt, Bill Kallstrom, Mike Taylor             //  Grand Prairie

Mike Keefer                                                             //  Grapevine

Don McConaghie                                                     //  Irving

Roger Feagley                                                         //  Mansfield

Kirk Marcum                                                            //  North Richland Hills  

James Fleming                                                        //  Mesquite

Bill Davis, Bruce Woods                                          //  University Park

 

Gene Soloman                                                        //  Flame Proofing

Dan Stanley                                                            //  Fire Systems

 

 

 

As of July 8, 1988 the Association had 58 members from 24 Cities, in 6 North Texas Counties. 

The second meeting was held August 12, 1988 at the DFW DPS Training Center. Meeting 

dates on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, were chosen to not conflict with the 3rd Wednesday 

meetings of the Fire Investigators Assoc.

 

One of the goals of the Association was to promote consistent Code enforcement throughout 

the North Texas Region, Doug Penland was appointed as Program Coordinator. On Sept. 9, 

1987 FPANT sponsored a 4-hour seminar covering Interior Finishes, Decorative Materials and 

Applications for Fire Retardant Treatments at the Dallas World Trade Center. 

 

At the November meeting, the members present discussed the desire to meet at a place where 

a meal could also be served. Mike Logan, Euless FM advised he had a Hotel Buffet lined up in 

Euless, where we could eat for $5.00.  After discussion, consensus was reached to start 

meeting in Feb. 1988 at the Western Hills Inn, at Hwy 10 & Industrial Blvd in Euless. David 

Kerr, Plano FD Fire Protection Engineer presented a program on Residential Sprinklers.

Billy Swan reported the nominating Committees recommendations and the following persons 

were elected to serve as Officers in 1988.

 

1988 Officers:

 

Ron Hawthorn // Bedford            - Chairman (Past Pres. Tarrant County FIA-1978)

Doug Penland // Arlington           - Co-Chairman 

Mike Keefer    // Grapevine         - Secretary

Claire Erickson // Arlington         - Treasurer

Bill Davis // University Park         - Director

Don McConaghie // Irving           - Director

Vernon Gilmore // Addison          - Director

 

Consensus among the officers was to rotate the outgoing Chairman into a Director’s Position, to 

promote consistency within the Association.

 

A seminar addressing Automatic Sprinkler System Acceptance Tests was conducted at the 

DFW Airport DPS Center on December 9, 1987.

 

On January 13, 1988 the last meeting was held at the DFW Airport DPS Center. The training 

program covering Underground Storage Tanks was provided by Don DeAngelo with Owens 

Corning and Mike Whelan with the Texas Water Commission.  

 

The Association continued to meet at the Western Hills Inn through November, 1988.  The 

Western Hills Inn hotel was subsequently demolished and the Euless Police Dept. now occupies 

the property.  

 

1988 Training programs presented covered the following topics:

 

Feb. - Cooking Equipment Fire Extinguishing Systems/ Smith Fire Equipment   

Mar. - Underground Fuel Storage Tanks, ATI Environmental Services

April - Administrative Search Warrants

May - Testing for Fire Resistance, Southwest Research Institute

June - Elevators, Fire Service Operation, Otis Elevator Co.

July -  Elevator Shaft Fire Resistance, Won Door Corp.

Aug. - Automatic Fire Alarm Systems, Ray Loftin, Regional Electronics

Sept. - Electric Door Locks, Martin Gallis

Oct. - Use of Candles in Assembly Occupancies, Hal McCamant/ DinaGlow & Round Table 

Discussion

Nov. - Review of Changes to the 1988 edition of the Uniform Fire Code (Doug Penland, FM 

Ray Cook, Farmers Branch, and Bill Davis)

Dec. Fire Hazards of Live Christmas Trees (Penland) / Juvenile Fire Setters (Captain Les 

Burks-FWFD)

 

At the September, 1988 meeting the membership expressed disapproval of a proposal for the 

State Fire Marshal to begin certifying Fire Inspectors and Fire Marshals.  The sentiment 

expressed was, "We don’t want to give one more dime to the State". However, after David Barns 

of Southlake FD attended a hearing in Austin and reported back to the membership, FM Jim 

Fleming, Mesquite made a motion to support the new fees, with a second by David Barnes, to 

support the new fees. The motion passed. (This program became the Texas Fire Commission 

Certification Program)

 

At the November 1988 Meeting the Membership voted to move the monthly meeting to the 

Marriott Courtyard Hotel at 1500 Pennant Drive in Arlington.   Nominating Committee 

recommended the following slate of Officers for the 1989 Term.:

 

1989 Officers:

 

Doug Penland, Arlington  Chairman (Past President NTFIA-1988)

Mike Keefer, Grapevine Co-Chairman

Claire Erickson, Arlington Secretary

Ray Cook, Farmers Branch Treasurer

Vernon Gilmore, Addison Director

Mike Logan, Euless Director

Delores Robinson, Lewisville Director

 

At the December 1989 Meeting, after discussion concerning the meeting location, Ray Cook 

made a motion, with a Second by Andy Stoody-Colleyville to move the meeting back to the 

Western Hills Inn in Euless.  Motion Passed 

 

At the March, 1989 Meeting the membership discussed a Board of Directors recommendation 

that the Association get back on track with providing quarterly 4-hour seminars, and place more 

emphasis upon sharing information and ideas among the local jurisdictions.  It was also 

resolved that, in the future, a meeting would not be scheduled for October, due to conflicts with 

Fire Prevention Week.  

 

Beginning in 1989 Roy Elliot-DFW Airport served as a liaison between the Dallas/Fort Worth 

Chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers and FPANT (Roy was an officer of the 

SFPE Chapter).  Roy would provide an update at each meeting for upcoming SFPE programs 

and seminars. This fostered FPANT/SFPE cooperation and additional economical, educational, 

opportunities for members of both organizations. 

 

In March the Officers and Directors met, agreed upon meeting topics, and delegated to an 

Officer, Director, or member the responsibility to develop the program for each monthly meeting 

or seminar.  

 

1989 Training programs presented covered the following topics:

 

  • Jan. - Transfer of Flammable Liquids from Bulk Tankers to Underground Storage Tanks (UST’s), Don McKinney, Shell Oil

  • Feb 24 members, 3 guests present.  Invocation by Vernon Gilmore- Addison. EPA Final Rules concerning UST’s, James Westfall WW plus 1

  • Mar 26 members and guests present, Invocation by Vernon Gilmore-Addison.  Firestops & UL Testing procedures, Donald Stroh, Bio Fireshield

  • April 29 members and guest present, Doug Penland discussed Local Amendments to 1988 

  • May Invocation by Ron Hawthorne, Bedford FM.  State Fire Marshal Ernest Emerson discussed pending legislation, Arlington Chief Bill Strickland, Farmers Branch Chief Jack Dyer, and Lawrence Andrews with the State Fire Marshal’s Office attended as guests. 

  • June Ray Cook Farmers Branch FM provided the program on Smoke Removal & Stairwell Pressurization Systems (complete minutes not available)

  • July  20 members, 3 guests present, Michael Laws-Duncanville provided the Invocation.  Program by Bill Davis-University Park FM discussed Fire Lane Design Standards, Maintenance and Enforcement.

  • Aug 20 members & 2 guests present, 4-hour class addressing Spray Application of Flammable Liquids/Spray Booths, presented by Bruce Mueller-Addison & Bob Dickie, W. O. Bankston Body Shop.

  • Sept 29 members, 12 guests, Garvid Wilson and T. R. Thompson with the State Fire Marshal’s Office   presented a program on State Requirements for Fire Alarm System. 

    • Also at the Sept. 1989 meeting Jim Tidwell-FM Fort Worth gave an update on proposed Fire Code changes.  Jim served on the Western Fire Chiefs Assoc. Uniform Fire Code Committee and later as the Chairman for the ICBO/UFC Fire Code Committee.  FPANT was very fortunate to have Jim as a member and he was instrumental in encouraging FPANT to participate in Regional and National Code Hearings.  Doug Penland-Arlington represented FPANT, and presented code change proposals at hearings in Dallas, San Antonio, & Boise Idaho (with Karen Bass-Dallas FD also participating) & Denver.  Ron Hyde-Euless and Claire Erickson-Arlington would subsequently attend Code Hearings as the FPANT Representative.FPANT successfully championed Code Changes to strengthen the UFC & latter IFC requirements for: sprinkler systems in basements and windowless buildings, storage of oxidizers in retail occupancies, automatic fire alarm systems in nursing homes, prohibiting the use of High Rise Bldg. Central Control Stations for storage uses, restricting the use of unvented (kerosene) heaters in retail occupancies.  Doug Penland was also able to speak in support of more stringent sprinkler system requirements for educational occupancies within the NFPA 101, the Life Safety Code.  The revisions were accepted.  

  • Oct no meeting due to Fire Prevention Week…

  • Nov SARA Title III/Texas Hazard Communication Act of 1985, presented by Ray Cook FM, Farmers Branch.  

 

The following Slate of Officers was presented to the membership for 1990:

 

1990 Officers

Mike Keefer, Grapevine Chairman

Claire Erickson, Arlington Co-Chair 

Ray Cook, Farmers Branch Secretary

Vernon Gilmore, Addison Treasurer

Bill Davis, University Park Director

Jim Fleming, Mesquite Director

Doug Penland, Arlington  Director

 

Dec 20 members, 4 guests, Ray Loftin and Doug Penland discussed State Rules pertaining 

to Fire Detection and Alarm Devices.  Members were encouraged to invite their Building 

Official to this meeting.  The Program was presented by Michael Brewer, Mesquite 

Building Official, discussing interdepartmental cooperation between Building & Fire 

Depts.

 

After three years as an organization, as of January 1, 1990 the Association had 73 members.

On Jan. 4th, 1990 the Officers met and discussed the direction of the Assoc.  Among the topics 

Establishing a “Plant & Flowers” Committee for sick hospitalized members

Establishing a PR/Publicity Committee

 

Jim Fleming discussed phoning members to remind them of upcoming meeting (this was before 

email, tweets and texts).  Phone and ask members who haven’t come, ‘what happened?’  

Jim also commented that our meeting place (the Western Hills Inn) stinks… A committee was 

formed to research a new meeting location that would be conveniently, centrally located, and 

offer heaping helpings of gourmet home style cooking – at a bargain price, with a free meeting 

room.  The result was that we would become like gypsies leaving a trail of indigestion across 

DFW through, Golden Corals, Home Style Buffets, Bodacious BBQ’s, Howard Johnsons, 

Friday’s Front Row Grill at the Ballpark, Wilson World, Holiday Inns and Chinese Buffets both 

Mike Keefer:  Low attendance concerns, we need to encourage more involvement by 

Ray Cook:  We need quality quarterly training, and more exchange of information during the 

regular meetings…

 

Doug Penland:  at the current meeting, continue to announce the program for the next meeting.  

Print and distribute the membership roster to encourage communications.  Encourage input by 

Tragically soon after Mike Keefer was elected to serve as Chairman, he was diagnosed with 

Leukemia.  Mike would spend much of 1990 fighting and beating back Leukemia.

 

 

 

 

Big thanks to Doug Penland for providing this great history.