H. A. "Ace" Harris   

 October  24, 1873  -  February 14, 1921 at age 48  

           ( Houston Press photo )           

Born :   in Calvert, Texas                
Entered Fire Department :
November  1920
Duty :
Fire Fighter at Station #10  
Buried :
Sunnyside Cemetery, about 2 1/2 - 3miles northeast of Calvert, Texas

H. A. was a fire fighter in Dallas, Texas for twelve years before he moved to Houston and landed a job with the fire department as a house watchman. He was hired as a paid fire fighter and assigned to Station 10. Harris was a fire fighter with the Houston Fire Department only 15 days before he died.

At 6:15 PM on the day that Harris died, his engine company responded to a building fire just north of downtown on Baker Street. When they arrived at the Texas Lamp and Oil Company, the large building was fully engulfed with flames. A second alarm was immediately sounded, and soon after that; a third alarm was requested. The lack of water supply in the area prompted the fire crews to drag hose line through a narrow alley way to reach the burning building, Harris, along with the other crew members, entered the alley way with two hose lines in order to gain access to the burning building. Meanwhile, another crew had opened a door on the other side of the building. This caused a back draft and three barrels of denatured alcohol to explode, blowing out the wall bordering the alley trapping Harris and seven other fire fighters. The falling wall did not kill; Harris however, the heavy lamp oil smoke suffocated him. The cause of this fire that caused one hundred thousand dollars worth of damage to three business was faulty electrical wiring

Harris’s death was overlooked by the fire department for seventy-nine years. A scrapbook recently obtained from the estate of a retired fire fighter contained a Houston Press clipping dated February 15, 1921 verifying his service.

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