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

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