AUSTIN – Austin Fire Department’s first Hispanic firefighter passed away Friday night, according to the fire department’s Facebook page.
Fire officials said Joseph Villarreal, otherwise known as “Joe V,” started working for the fire department in 1963, making him the first Hispanic firefighter employed by the Austin Fire Department.
He served with the Austin Fire Department for 29 years until he retired in 1992.
Officials said Joe was recognized as one of the department’s trailblazers and was even honored at City Hall by being named Honorary Fire Chief.
“Rest in peace, Joe; we’ll see you on the top floor,” the department said.