The department was organized in 1883 and consisted of 2 companies initially; The Blacks Ladder & Hose Company (H.C. Black was the foreman) and The Watchful Hose Company No. 1.

In the past, the fire apparatus was pulled by hand power. Long ropes were attached to the hose carts, and on the alarm being given, the volunteer firemen and others would rush for the fire station or would take stands along the streets on the route to the fire. Everyone was expected to grab hold of the rope and run and pull. It was often a slow and laborious job getting to fires when it was muddy, but they always got there, often with teams hitched to wagons giving pulls over hard places. Everyone was expected to help — men, women and children.
From volunteers, the department went to horse-drawn equipment, and, by 1916, it became a fully motorized with 6 pieces of equipment and 17 men.
In 1947, the department had 27 paid men and 6 more living in the fire stations. The department’s equipment was 4 pumpers, 2 booster trucks and 1 ladder truck.
In August of 1971, the department installed an Emergency Hot Line phone system at the Central Fire Stations Alarm Room. This number allowed citizens to remember only one number for all types of emergencies.

In September of 1971, all firemen hired in the State of Texas had to receive no less than 325 hours of fire-fighting training. Today, The Temple Fire Department requires at least 550 hours the first year. Firefighters are also required to have continuing education hours every year after that for Fire, Haz-Mat, & EMS training to meet state requirements.

On October 18, 1973, at 5 pm, the Temple Fire Department began a new area of service, taking over the ambulance services from Harper Talasek Funeral Home. The home donated its two emergency vehicles to the city, both having been used since 1964.