A normal Volunteer Fire Department call for service costs around 2,500 pesos, and every year the Fire Department puts out up to 300 grassland and structural fires. Currently, car accidents involving a fire that the department normally puts out have decreased, probably due to fewer cars on the road because of the pandemic, but other fire categories have increased, such as those in homes.
Donations to the Volunteer Fire Department have decreased, which is why the organization now operates with state, municipal, and some private subsidies, said Ernesto Martínez, vice president of the Board of Trustees. Martínez recalled that the worst fire the city ever experienced was in 1950, when the Ignacio Ramirez Market burned down. The structure was then where the equestrian statue of Ignacio Allende now stands in Plaza Cívica.
The Volunteer Firefighters Corps, with 46 active firefighters, was founded in 1983. A few years later, another fire shocked San Miguel. The shop stalls in Plaza Civica at that time were mostly made of cardboard, and all were engulfed in a major conflagration. The fire lasted six hours, and firefighters from other municipalities came to aid San Miguel’s firefighters. Since then, the firefighter organization has maintained continuous volunteer work.
In recent years, the Volunteer Fire Department has received sizeable donations from the San Miguel Community Foundation, and consequently was able to acquire four motor pumps, an ambulance, and a rescue vehicle. With donations from the same organization, it obtained personal protective equipment, such as jackets, helmets, gloves, pants, and boots. Martínez indicated that the Fire Department operates with about 2 million pesos annually, but with the pandemic its intake has been reduced by half.
The firefighters have fought several fires this year. One took place in a room in a home in Los Rodríguez; another in a sheeting business on Calzada de la Estación; and still another at a hotel on the road to Celaya. Very recently they worked to extinguish a fire in a warehouse on the Road to Alcocer, and another in Soriana’s warehouse in Plaza La Luciérnaga.
The Day of the Firefighter is celebrated on August 22 because on that date in 1873 the first firefighter organization was formed in Veracruz. The Government of Mexico set the first regulations in 1922, and in 1951 a presidential decree gave the title “Heroic” to each fire department.
If you wish to donate to the Volunteer Fire Department of San Miguel de Allende, you may do so through Bancomer, Account #0170800031, Board of the Fire Department of San Miguel de Allende, A.C.