The San Marcos Fire Department was founded in 1884 and was led by Chief JR Porter. A 1906 map of San Marcos showed that SMFD was composed of; 50 volunteers, 1 paid man, 3 horses, 1 hook and ladder wagon, 2 hose wagons, and 1600 feet of good hose.
In 1914 the fire station burned down, killing the department's horses and destroying much of its equipment.
Afterward the department bought its first mechanized vehicle and built a new Fire Station/City Hall on 224 N. Guadalupe Street. This building is currently home to Texas State Fire Station Studios.
By the 1940's, the department had grown to over 80 volunteers under the leadership of Chief Lewis Haynes who served as chief of the department over 46 years.
The first career firefighters were hired in the 1960's. The department continued to utilize volunteers and reserve firefighters until the summer of 2009.
The department still owns "Ol' Betsy", an antique 1926 American LaFrance pumper, as well as a classic 1963 Ford Galaxie chief's car.