On March 22, 2022, Magnolia Fire Chief  Jeffrey S. Hevey spoke to the membership of the Magnolia Rotary Club about the Magnolia Fire Department. Pictured above from left to right are: Magnolia Fire Chief Jeffrey S. Hevey and Magnolia Rotary Club President Kelly McDonald.
Jessica Brooks introduced Jeffrey Hevey as the current Fire Chief with the Montgomery County Emergency Services District (ESD) 10. Although Jeffrey had retired in October of 2020 after 48 years with the Harris County ESD 48 as Fire Chief, he was asked to return as the Fire Chief of Montgomery County ESD 10. Chief Hevey has been with ESD 10 for 1 year, 1 month and 2 weeks.
Chief Hevey then spoke a little bit about the history of the Magnolia Fire Department (MFD). The MFD started in 1952 with a single used 1939 fire truck and 12 volunteer members. Those 12 volunteer members were not paid anything and they and their wives worked very hard to raise money by hosting dances and working in concession stands.
When ESD 10 was created several years ago, it absorbed the Magnolia Fire Department. ESD 10 gets its revenue from both property taxes and sales taxes. ESD 10 now protects 164 square miles containing 138,000 people with just 9 fire stations. The MFD is no longer a volunteer fire department although volunteers still help out. Currently, the MFD has 52 full time fire fighters, 90 part time fire fighters and 39 volunteers. Chief Hevey explained that he has plans to hire 12 new fighters who have completed their fire department training just recently. In addition, plans are in place to upgrade or replace old fire stations as well as add new fire stations as soon as feasible.
Chief Hevey then spoke about the MFD (ESD#10) Insurance ISO Rating. The rating system is from 1 to 10 with 1 being the highest rating. The MFD is one of only 5% of all fire departments in the United States to have obtained an ISO rating of 2 or better. As a direct result of the ISO 2 rating, Magnolia area residents and businesses are able to realize reduced insurance rates.
Chief Hevey then spoke to the future of the MFD in the next 3 years:
  • Build new maintenance building on property owned by Montgomery County ESD 10 at 31 12 Lone Star Road (Station 187). To be completed in 2022.
  • Rebuild Station 182 located at 27114 FM 2978. To be completed in 2023-2024.
  • Rebuild Station 186 located at 32707 FM 2978. To be completed in 2023-2024.
  • Renovate Station 183 located at 26555 Nichols Sawmill Road. To be completed sometime between 2022-2033.
  • Also in planning phase to add Stations 10, 11, 12 and 13 in 4 to 10 years. Need county mobility plan as input to make sure stations are accessible by good roads.
Chief Hevey then spoke about some of the challenges going forward:
  • Maintaining staffing and station location due to rapid growth.
  • Improve response time with appropriate apparatus (currently 80 % of covered area does not have fire hydrants).
  • The corridor along SR 249.
  • The Audubon and large housing developments.
  • Woodard Ranch Development and other planned communities.
  • Keeping MFD members properly trained (expansion brings larger facilities and associated hazards).
Chie Hevey then spoke about needing a strategic plan:
  • In the next 4-6 months, ESD 10 will be forming a Strategic Planning Group made up of Fire Department personnel, staff, ESD Commissioners and residents who live within ESD 10.
  • Plan for facilities, staffing and funds necessary to operate those facilities.
  • Future additions of stations based on growth within ESD 10.
Chief Hevey then answered questions from the group. Additional information gleaned from the answers to the questions were as follows:
  • 75% of calls to the MFD are medical in nature.
  • 5100 calls were received by the MFD in 2021.
  • A full time MFD fire fighter currently receives a salary of $57,000 plus benefits.
  • 2022 Budget for the MFD is $17.1 Million.
  • Both A&M and LSC have fire fighting courses. Most new hires come from graduates of these classes.
  • The goal for response time is 5 minutes. However, because so many homes are not close to a fire station, this is a hard goal to meet.