Fire Chief Dorris Winn Fox, North Kansas City Fire Department 1924-1935 Died in the Line of Duty from injuries suffered in a house fire.
Dorris Winn Fox
  • 46 years old
  • Date of birth: Apr 15, 1888
  • Place of birth:
    Waldron, Missouri, United States
  • Date of passing: Apr 5, 1935
  • Place of passing:
    North Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Let the memory of Dorris be with us forever

Dorris Winn Fox was born April 15, 1888 to George D. and Ida Olevia Winn Fox, originally from Virginia. DW Fox had five brothers and one sister. From the 1900 census it shows their names as Harry, James, Dorris, Charles, Hattie and John. In the early years, Dorris married Cora Bell Leach in 1912, Dorris age 24 and Cora age 16 were married and lived in Waldron Missouri and later raising 3 daughters. Ida the first, Georgia then Louisa or nicknamed Tiny. Georgia passed away January 2, 1929 at age 18 and Louisa passed away March 12, 1929 at age 16, both from tuberculosis. Dorris was a farmer and worked as a foreman in a lumber yard and Cora a housewife and seamstress. During their time together the Census Bureau shows the family living on east 17th Ave. in Kansas City Missouri, 232 E. 21st Ave, 1230 E. 21st Ave, and 817 E. 23rd Ave, all in North Kansas City Missouri. Prior to joining the fire department in North Kansas City Missouri, Dorris was employed by the Fire Insurance Patrol of Kansas City Missouri up until March of 1924. In 1931, Fire Insurance Patrol of Kansas City Missouri merged with the Kansas City Missouri Fire Department to become their fire inspections department.

In January 1924, Ordinance #204, created the office of Fire Chief and detailing his qualifications, powers and duties. While providing the organization with a volunteer fire department and for the extinguishment of fire and defining misdemeanors. Ordinance #204 was passed and approved. In March 1924, Dorris W. Fox was appointed as Fire Chief for one year until a successor in office was duly elected and appointed. Under the direction of Chief Fox, a volunteer department was officially formed numbering approximately 20 volunteer men. Chief Fox was paid a salary of $150.00 a month. In May of 1925 he received a raise of $10.00 a month paid by-monthly. Chief Fox continued as Fire Chief until 1930.

On April 20 1925, the city purchased its first fire truck, a 1918 Model T Childs Foamite Apparatus. By 1930 the fire department had 3 full time paid fire fighters. On September 4, 1930 the City of North Kansas City abolished the office of Fire Chief with Resolution #207. DW Fox continued his employment with the fire department as a fireman until October 15, 1930 when he resigned.

In September of 1931, DW Fox reconsidered and was reinstated as a fire fighter for the City of North Kansas City. At that time the city obtained its second fire apparatus, a 1931 4-cylinder Reo Fire Truck with a 500 gallon pump. By May of 1932, DW Fox again became Fire Chief. The third piece of fire equipment was purchased on March 13, 1934. This was the first fire truck purchased new. It was a 750 gallon General Monarch Pumper.

Chief Fox was known to his friends and associates as “Doc”, and was probably  the city’s outstanding citizen from the view point of the children. Small boys who viewed fire fighting as a romantic vocation spending much of their time around the fire station where “Doc” Fox always told stories about fighting fires. In the North Kansas City News, page one, from June 28th, 1934 an article with the headline “North Kansas City Fire Chief Saves Boys Life. Apparently Chief Fox was on vacation in Minnesota when he entered a store to buy supplies and saw a boy bleeding and lying on the floor. The little boy named Ernest, had cut his leg while whittling severing an artery. Chief Fox fashioned a tourniquet from his handkerchief and took the boy to the hospital in his car. Ernest did recover and the doctors agreed that if he had not received the tourniquet from Chief Fox he would have surely died.  You never know, some may have gone on to become fire fighters just like their mentor.

Dorris W. Fox held his leadership role until his death on April 5, 1935. Chief Fox was seriously injured in a house fire at 800 E 23rd Ave in North Kansas City. During the fire attack Dorris entered the interior of the home and an explosion occurred. Chief Fox suffered severe burns to his throat and lungs. After being sent home to recuperate, eating was difficult. Unable to swallow his family served him oysters for nourishment. During his recovery, DW Fox requested in September and December 1934 and in March 1935 for leaves of absence with pay. His requests were granted, but unfortunately unable to recover from his injuries Chief Fox passed on April 5, 1935. Burial was in Walnut Grove Cemetery  in Parkville Missouri on April 7, 1935 next to his two daughters Georgia and Louisa. Cora never remarried and opened Ida’s Cafe with her daughter Ida in North Kansas City Missouri.  Enjoyable meals were served to North Kansas City residences along with meals to the city jail. Cora passed in 1966 and is buried next to Dorris and her children in Walnut Grove Cemetery in Parkville Missouri..

On April 9, 1935, minutes from the council meeting in North Kansas City a motion was made by Alderman Morrow that one months salary, voted by the retiring board to DW Fox Fire Chief (deceased) be paid to his widow Mrs Cora Fox, and the motion was seconded by Alderman Zinn. The roll was called and the vote was as follows: Alderman Robertson - no, Alderman Clark - yes, Alderman Morrow - yes, Alderman Zinn - yes Motion Passed.

Chief Fox made the ultimate sacrifice. Today we honor him and give him the respect and admiration he deserves by dedicating a new headstone telling generations who Chief Fox was and the life he lead. We wish to thank his family for honorable memories during his time as Fire Chief.

 This memorial website was created in the memory of our loved one, Dorris Fox, 46, born on April 15, 1888 and passed away on April 5, 1935. We will remember him forever.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by jane clampitt on 22nd April 2013

"Dorris Fox was my grandfather. This tribute and the memorial service has touched my heart in a place no one else could.

Thank you all."

This tribute was added by Kurt Breininger on 15th April 2013

"Today we are celebrating the 125th Birthday of Fire Chief Dorris Winn Fox. Time to remember and reflect on a man who was dedicated to his family, his fellow fire fighters and the citizens of North Kansas City."

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This memorial is administered by:

Earleen Goodman
Smart Memorials


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