First Hispanic firefighter with Austin Fire Department passes away, officials say

AFD said Joseph Villarreal started working for the fire department in 1963

Joesph Villarreal, Austin Fire Department's 1st Hispanic firefighter passed away Friday night, officials say (Austin Fire Department)

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.

More on KSAT:


About the Author:

Emily Martin is a digital producer trainee at KSAT. She earned a journalism degree from Texas State University, where she was news director at KTSW, the campus radio station. She has also interned at KXAN and KUT in Austin.