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Retired Fire Chief Ron Gentry 1944 - 2003
Ron GentryAbout
Forty-five years ago, a young Collin County boy jumped on his bicycle to chase every fire truck he heard. Biding his time, he worked with Lone Star Gas for three years. Upon turning 21, Gentry took a job with the Richardson Fire Department.

This was in June of 1965 and Gentry was living in McKinney where he served on the volunteer fire department. Three years later he moved to Allen. “I wasn't in Allen more than one month when I got on the volunteer fire department here,” Gentry smiled.

Because of his professional experience, he was asked to conduct training for Allen’s volunteer firefighters. The following year, he was elected their fire chief. He continued to be elected to this position until 1975. That’s when he was hired part-time to serve as Allen’s fire chief.

Prior to this, Gentry was employed by Allen from 1970 to 1975 to handle routine fire department maintenance, with chores running from mowing the lawn to taking care of trucks. He continued as a part-time fire chief from 1975 to 1985, at which time he stepped into the job full-time. Up until this point, Gentry was still working as a firefighter full-time for the city of Richardson.

In 1968, the same year Gentry came on board with the Allen Volunteer Fire Department, the Allen Fire Station was built on the northwest corner of McDermott and Allen Drives. Through a donation from the McDermott family, the old Methodist church that stood on that corner was converted to the city hall, and the fire station was built adjacent to it.

In 1982, the fire department took over the city hall to use it for administrative offices. That same year, Allen’s Fire Station Number Two was erected at 1100 Exchange Parkway. “I hired six people to be the first paid firefighters then,” Gentry said.

Even with paid employees, the Allen Fire Department utilized volunteers until 1999. When Gentry first came on board, the Allen Fire Department had a 1941 Ford fire truck, a 1965 Chevrolet fire truck and a 1950s model panel truck that is used to carry fire-fighting gear. “What little we had back then,” he laughed. The 1965 Chevrolet fire truck was the first vehicle purchased new by the department.

Gentry was proud of the active role he played in the Allen Fire Department’s expansion, particularly the construction of the operating fire stations.

central fire station