Fire Buffs promote the general welfare of the fire and rescue service and protect its heritage and history. Famous Fire Buffs through the years include New York Fire Surgeon Harry Archer, Boston Pops Conductor Arthur Fiedler, New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and - legend has it - President George Washington.

Ready to roll from Springfield Fire Headquarters on North Fountain Avenue

Thursday, December 06, 2007




Early 20th Century post card of old Central Engine House and the city's first motorized engine. (The firefighter seated closest to the camera appears to be Fire Chief Samuel Hunter.)


SFD web site photo of Truck 5 at house fire on Pleasant Street in November 2007.




Photo: Springfield News Sun

On Dec. 5, 2007, firefighters rescued a cat from a fire that started at the Burt Street Coal Co. and spread to nearby homes, the Springfield News-Sun reported. The flames were fueled by winds of up to 35 m.p.h. ``The Norfolk Southern Railroad company stopped running trains near the fires to allow fire crews access to additional hydrants on the far side of tracks,'' according to the newspaper. There were no injuries.


Arson caused a house fire that killed a 25-year-old woman on South Sweetbriar Lane on May 9, 2008, the Springfield New-Sun reported on May 22. Assistant Chief Nick Heimlich of the Springfield Fire and Rescue Division said: "As an investigator, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that it was arson.''


On Jan. 30, 2008, high levels of carbon monoxide were detected at a home on South Limestone Street, sending six adults and two children to Springfield Regional Medical Center for testing, the Springfield News-Sun reported.

The house tested at 50 ppm of carbon monoxide. "We walked in the building and our monitors went into alarm immediately," Springfield Fire Division Lt. Doug Buffenbarger told the newspaper. "Anything greater than 35 (ppms), we have them evacuate immediately."


On Jan. 25, 2006, fire swept a house at 623 West North Street, killing Patrick A. Wright, 56, his dog and his three cats. "I looked out and saw the whole front room on fire," neighbor Sandy Gootee told the Springfield News-Sun. "I thought, 'Oh my God,' so I called 911 because all I could think about was him being in there." Assistant Fire Chief Nick Heimlich said some of the doors were bolted shut, according to the newspaper.

Monday, July 09, 2007


Point and click on photo for details

Springfield's Fallen Firefighters

John Dawson - Feb. 24, 1857
John Powell - June 25, 1873
Oscar Keys - June 28, 1886
Michael J. Haley - Aug. 25, 1897
Dennis Sheehan - Nov. 20, 1913
Lawrence Bosley - Sept. 23, 1915
Walter Reinheimer - Jan. 3, 1920
Charles Deam - Jan. 14, 1926
Roy Kelly - March 27, 1932
Augustus C. Brown - May 11, 1936
Hugh Garrity - Jan. 7, 1948
Alfred Kime - May 22, 1949
Brian Fleming - July 17, 2005

Friday, April 27, 2007


Photos: Local 333 web site

For a century, the giant Crowell-Collier printing plant defined the Springfield skyline, at first heralding the city's prosperity - and then its slow decline.

On May 10, 1999, a general alarm gutted the plant, which occupied a city block on the edge of Springfield's downtown.

Crowell-Collier, publisher of Collier's Magazine, had left town in 1956, and the eight-story building had been used primarily as a warehouse after the company's departure and the loss of 2,275 jobs. The primary occupant at the time of the fire was Dixie Distributing.

The first arriving units at 200 West High Street were Engine 5, Engine 4 and Battalion 1, according to the Springfield Professional Firefighters Association.

The first alarm was received at 10:18 a.m. The weather was sunny. The temperature was 84 degrees Farenheit. Winds were calm.

In its front-page account of the fire, the Springfield News-Sun reported:

Flames worked their way up from the third floor, devouring each subsequent level until bursting through the roof above the eighth floor. ... Windows on the building were blown out by the heat, and glass fell to the sidewalks. Hundreds of small aerosol cans stored inside the building exploded in a constant popping, with occasional louder thuds from larger explosions.

Two firefighters were injured, and several civilians were treated for the effects of smoke and fumes, according to the News-Sun.

Fire crews pounded the flames with an estimated 1 million gallons of water during the eight-hour battle, the newspaper said, noting that the City of Springfield typically uses 12 million gallons of water a day.

In all, 125 city firefighters and 60 township firefighters assisted at the blaze, with the last companies taking up on May 13.

`Good old days'

On its editorial page, the News-Sun said the fire destroyed a part of the city's history.

The Crowell-Collier building, the newspaper said:

... thrived during a time when life was centered in the downtown area. People would walk the streets, stop, shop and dine all the time in the shadow of a building which represented the city's prosperity. It was a place where wages were good and work was steady. ... People in this city still talk about the good old days when the publisher was a major employer.

The closing of the Springfield plant coincided with the company's decision to fold its flagship magazine.

Time Magazine reported on that fateful decision in an article called ``Crowell Colliers Christmas'' in its Dec. 24, 1956 issue.

In addition to closing Colliers Magazine, the company also folded its Woman's Home Companion magazine.

The Ohio Historical Alliance, which is dedicated to historical preservation, published this history of the magazine and the building on its web site:

Founded in New York by David Collier in 1895 as Collier's Weekly Magazine, Collier's was the main challenger to the dominance of the Saturday Evening Post as America's favorite household magazine of the era. The name of the magazine was shortened in the first years of the 20th century when the word “weekly” was dropped from the masthead. In the age before electronic media Collier's was a mix of news, features, tame humor and short stories-- a format that is virtually non-existent today.

The magazine was also recognized for its art work and illustrations. Among the famous who contributed to Collier's was Maxfield Parrish - recognized in the early 20th century as the most popular illustrator of the day.

Colliers and its relationship with Springfield began when the magazine and its interests were acquired by the Crowell Publishing Company.

Their modern facility -- built in 1924 -- had most of the capacity that the magazine would require, although future expansion would be required to accommodate circulation increases.

Manufacturing would remain in Springfield, however the newly formed Crowell Collier moved its editorial offices to New York in order to be closer to the "center" of the publishing industry.

In 1925 the editor of Collier's sent three reporters on a nationwide tour to look at the effects of Prohibition. They found wide spread corruption and graft within law enforcement and as a result, Collier's became the first national publication to call for repeal of the 18th Amendment.

Colliers lost 3,000 readers but overall circulation shot up by an additional 400,000 new readers. Circulation of the magazine declined steadily after 1950 as radio, television and the rise of a new generation of national news weekly’s – including Time, Life and Newsweek – adapted to the changing national tastes.

Compounding Collier's problems was the television industry which provided less expensive advertising then the magazine could afford. While the Saturday Evening Post exists today in monthly format, Collier's Magazine ceased publication on December 16, 1956.

Friday, April 13, 2007



Panorama of early motorized equipment. Fire Division fleet and personnel on display at Springfield South High School in 1917. (Click on photo for larger image)


In 1937, the Springfield Fire Division took delivery of a closed-bed American LaFrance sedan pumper - similar to the vehicles pictured here. The unique rig - a precursor to today's fire apparatus - was assigned to the Central Engine House as Engine 1 and earned the nickname "Covered Wagon." All the firefighters traveled inside. There wasn't a rear running board like most engines of the era. It remained a front-line pumper until 1959.


The city's first motorized fire engine was nicknamed the "Buzz Wagon." Springfield received its first motorized fire engine in 1909. The Webb engine was the second of its type in the United States and it replaced a steam fire engine, a hose wagon, and five horses.' This picture was taken in 1911 after the engine was fitted with a Welton fender. The gentleman in the straw hat standing to the right was named "Yo Ho," a Welton salesman, according to Cal Roberds' history book, "From Buckets to Diesels."

Thursday, April 12, 2007



Mad River Township firefighters
Photo: Fire department web site

Moorefield Township fire station

: Fire department web site

The fire and rescue departments protecting the villages and townships of Clark County, Ohio, are staffed by both volunteer and paid firefighters, paramedics and EMTs. The Clark County Sherriff's Office provides dispatching. The county Hazmat team is operated in cooperation with the Springfield Fire & Rescue Division, which has mutual aid agreements with the suburbs.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007



Examples of Pulmotor

Long before today's paramedics, the Springfield Fire Division acquired a "Pulmotor" resuscitator in 1916 to provide emergency aid.

The pressure-driven device - also known as a "Lungmotor" or "Lung-o-motor" - allowed firemen to help people in respiratory distress, according to Fire Capt. Cal Roberds' book "From Buckets to Diesels." A second device was placed in service by 1940.

The ``inhalator squad'' responded aboard a pumper or a chief's car until the introduction of a full-time Emergency Squad van in 1949.

The electric company also fielded a resuscitator squad, a common practice in many cities to assist victims of electrocution.

A typical run occurred on Feb. 8, 1938, when according to the Springfield Daily News, Howard Kisling, 38, of 724 ½ Grant Street, suffered a fatal heart attack in a downtown office.

``The inhalator squad of the city fire department and the Ohio Edison Co. first aid squad worked nearly two hours in an attempt to revive him,'' according to an obituary posted on the web site. ``Coroner Austin Richards said death was caused by acute cardiac failure.’’

In another incident, according to the Daily News, Rebecca Ann Lewis, 78, of 1520 Selma Road, died March 15, 1950 at City Hospital after a heart attack. ``The Fire Department inhalator squad was called to administer oxygen in an attempt to save her life,'' according to another obituary on

Thursday, January 25, 2007


By Natalie Morales
News-Sun Staff Writer

Every day of his life Mike Doan "demanded the best of himself," his wife Jill Doan said.

In his almost 30-year career with the Springfield Fire & Rescue Division, Assistant Chief Mike Doan worked his way through the ranks and left behind lessons in dedication, hard work and perseverance."Mike thought it was up to you not only to do your job well, but to find out how to do it better," said Jill, his wife of 25 years.

After a years-long bout with a rare form of cancer, Doan, 55, died Jan. 23.

A North High School graduate, Doan started out as a bank employee after high school, but after a 10-year run, moved on to follow his passion of becoming a firefighter in 1978.

"He said it was a lot more fun to ride on the trucks than it was to foreclose on commercial loans," Jill said.

During his career, Doan also took on the responsibility of being fire marshal for a time and became Clark County's hazardous materials coordinator.

Capt. Todd Bowser worked directly under Doan for about four years and said the assistant chief helped him mature in his career.

Bowser said Doan cared deeply for the city and had a vested interest in inspections and code enforcement and strived to do everything to the best of his abilities.

"I always thought he — out of all the supervisors I've had throughout my life — was very fair, and I'd like to take that from him and carry it on," Bowser said.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Support and Air 27 at Station No. 4

By Kelly Baker
News-Sun Staff Writer

Springfield Assistant Fire Chief Michael Doan cannot recall a single time he's been thankful for Box 27. He recalls hundreds.

"They are pretty much vital to all that we do," Doan said of Springfield's all-volunteer fire department. "If they were to disappear, it would leave us with a definite functional handicap."

Named after street-corner fire boxes popular in the 1900s, Box 27 has provided support to area fire personnel since 1935. Equipped with a fire truck and a support vehicle, the 18 volunteers are on the scene of every fire, water rescue and, if needed by police, crime scenes.

This week Box 27 expects the delivery of its newly-purchased support truck that will replace a 35-year-old step van that, according to Box 27 Chief Ben McKinnon, "is just tired."

"We took it out of service a year ago," McKinnon said.

Box 27 used savings from previous fundraisers to pay $35,000 of the $75,000 needed to purchase and equip the new truck. It borrowed the balance and are now on a fundraising campaign.

The Box 27 trucks can refill air tanks, which is a life-saver to firefighters and rescue divers and its volunteers provide hydration for firefighters.

Volunteers provide dry socks and gloves in the winter and wet towels in the summer. Their vehicles' search lights help with additional lighting.

By refilling air tanks, fire personnel can immediately respond to a second fire without having to go back to the station, said Springfield Assistant Fire Chief Nick Heimlich.

The new support van will be air-conditioned, have additional search lights, generators and the capability of refilling air tanks.

Other than fuel and vehicle maintenance, which is taken care of by the city of Springfield, taxpayers pay nothing for the service, Box 27 member John Finnegan said.

Each volunteer pays $80 in annual dues "for the privilege to abuse ourselves" by responding all hours of the day and night and in all kinds of weather conditions, he said, and stay on the scene for hours to provide light for fire investigators.

Heimlich relies on the team to illuminate a burned structure during his investigations. He also relies on their moral support.

"The first thing I see are the smiling faces with 'how are you doing?'" Heimlich said. "They provide that human side — a friendly face."