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

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

HOME FRONT - 1940s


During World War II, the Springfield Fire Division helped support a ladies' Victory Canteen that served coffee, sandwiches and donuts to troop trains passing through the downtown Big 4 station.

A firemens' auction fetched $250 in goods for the canteen, which operated from 1942 through the war's end.

According to an article entitled ``A Brief History of Springfield, Ohio's WW II Victory Canteen'' by Scott D. Trostel:

``Between the hours of 10:45 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. daily, 15 scheduled passenger trains called at the platform. The ladies had originally intended to meet nine trains daily, and to only feed those troops on regularly scheduled passenger trains. They were not intending to feed troop trains or hospital trains. That all changed by early 1943, with all trains being fed.''

The Big 4 station was named for the old Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway, which was controlled by the New York Central Railroad.

The station was demolished in the 1960s.


Shortly after the U.S. entered World War II, the City Springfield established a Civil Defense Fire Department to supplement the regular municipal force.

Calvin Roberds, author of the fire division history "From Buckets to Diesels," began his career in the fire service as the captain of the auxiliary force at age 18.

In his book, Roberds said the Civil Defense Fire Department inherited three of the city's old International Harvester hose wagons, which were built in the 1920s and refitted for wartime service with 500 gallon per minute skid pumps and other equipment.

``The end results would not have won any prizes for beauty, but three functional fire engines were the result,'' Roberds wrote.