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Courtesy photo

Lynn Sheffield Simmons / The Place Is Argyle

The Argyle Volunteer Fire Department Miss Flame’s contest in 1972 featured Miss America 1971 Phyllis George, left, 1973 Miss Flame Diana Cozby and Fire Chief Richard Hensley.Courtesy photo
The Argyle Volunteer Fire Department Miss Flame’s contest in 1972 featured Miss America 1971 Phyllis George, left, 1973 Miss Flame Diana Cozby and Fire Chief Richard Hensley.
Courtesy photo

A look back as firefighters finish move

The Argyle Volunteer Fire District will finish relocating to 511 S. Gibbons Road soon.

The Argyle Volunteer Fire District has been located at 427 S. U.S. Highway 377 since it was built in 1976 with the help of funds raised by the Argyle Volunteer Fire Department Women’s Auxiliary, organized in 1971.

“We — as wives, mothers and firefighters ourselves — wanted to help raise funds for the firefighters to have the proper equipment to do their jobs in protecting our homes and the community,” said Wilda “Tootsie” Hensley, one of the women’s auxiliary founders, on why the organization was started.

“Before we had the proper equipment, we fought fires in our blue jeans,” she said.

Tootsie, as she is affectionately known, now lives in Junction. She not only helped the men fight fires, but she drove the trucks as well and was one of the founders of the Women’s Fire Fighting Team.

“Someone had to fight the fires while the men were at work,” she said.

Driving fire trucks was nothing new for Tootsie. Whenever the fire alarm went off at the firefighters’ homes, Tootsie went to her father’s garage, where the Argyle Volunteer Fire District tanker truck was kept. Her father was Elmo Smith, one of the organizers of the Argyle Volunteer Fire Department in 1963 and the owner of Smith’s Garage on Old Justin Road.

“One time, when the men were fighting a fire at the granary in Justin, the fire alarm went off and it was the women who put out the fire in Rick Perry’s garbage truck on Frenchtown Road,” she said.

By 1976, the women’s auxiliary and the fire department had raised enough money to purchase a 2-acre tract at U.S. Highway 377 and FM407, to provide for three firefighting units, a Jeep, individual apparatus and equipment, and a trained group of 22 men and women.

The auxiliary sponsored cake sales, talent shows, raffles, domino tournaments, barbecue dinners, the Fashion Fling, bake sales, garage sales, pet vaccinations, turkey shoots, Christmas gift bazaars and direct solicitations. The Argyle Volunteer Fire District and the auxiliary sponsored a fire prevention poster and essay contest for schoolchildren in conjunction with a contest for Miss Flame, Little Miss Flame and a fire chief mascot each year during Fire Prevention Week.

And the auxiliary raised enough money to help build the fire station.

As for the building that will soon be vacated, new owner ERI Argyle LP plans to open a restaurant and received approval for its specific use permit and site plan from the Planning and Zoning Commission on Aug. 6. Plans were subsequently presented to and approved by the Argyle Town Council on Aug. 27.

The proposed name of the restaurant is Backdraft Pizza, with a coffee shop called Kimzey’s Coffee and Cream.

Crime prevention tips from Argyle police

“The interaction and building of a relationship between members of the community and the Argyle Police Department is a No. 1 priority in fighting crime,” said Argyle police Capt. Temple Cottle.

October’s National Night Out and Halloween events helped to achieve that by giving Argyle residents an opportunity to get acquainted with their neighbors, learning their neighbors’ property and what it looks like. Learning the appearance of a neighbor’s property helps Argyle residents learn what might look suspicious or out of place at a time when police need to be called to investigate.

On Halloween, Cottle drove through the Country Lakes subdivision and he could not find one street that did not have a block party.

“Neighbors getting to know neighbors are the success stories to be told when describing the best crime prevention tip of the day,” Cottle said.

Ongoing activities

The Argyle Senior Center offers activities each Wednesday and Friday at the Argyle Town Hall community room. An exercise class begins at 10 a.m., followed by card games at 11 a.m. For more information, visit

LYNN SHEFFIELD SIMMONS is founder and past president of the North Texas Book Festival Inc. She is the author of nine children’s books and two history books on Argyle. She can be reached at or 940-464-3368.