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, December 11, 2009


Advertisement featuring Springfield Fire Chief Sam Hunter and Engine 2's crew at old Fire Station No. 2, which was closed during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


The Springfield Fire Divison fielded Oren Roanoke fire appartus in the post-World War II era.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Harry Huffman was promoted to platoon chief on Jan. 1, 1947. He was appointed to the fire division in 1928 and retired on April 1, 1949. At the time, the fire division fielded two platoon chiefs, who acted as shift commanders. In the overall chain of command, they answered to the fire chief and the assistant fire chief. According to a newspaper article on his retirement, Huffman's pension paid $155 a month or half his regular pay. Huffman was promoted to lieutenant in July 1935 and captain in August 1938. This photo was provided by the chief's family. His father and brother were also Springfield firefighters.


Photo: Cindy Funk via Flickr
Old Fire Station No. 5 on West Main Street. Closed 1981.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

COAL FIRE - 1917

The Springfield Tire Fire always burns in the hometown of "The Simpsons" television series. In 1917, a coal fire smoldered for weeks in Springfield, Ohio.

"Springfield firemen resorted to the use of steam shovels to help fight fire in a 100,000 ton coal pile in the Big Four railroad yards, burning since Aug. 1," according to the Mahoning Dispatch of Canfield, Ohio, on Sept. 14, 1917. The "Big Four" was the name used to identify the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Fire Chief — Samuel F. Hunter.

Superintendent of Telegraph — Michael M. Duffy.

Central Steam Fire Company No. 1 — West side of South Fountain Avenue, between Jefferson and Washing ton; H. M. Rankin, captain.

Engine Company No. 2 — East side of North Factory Street, between Columbia and North; C. M. Moffett, captain.

Engine Company No. 4 — Lagonda Avenue, between C, C, C. & St. L. Railroad and Florence; J. Edward Bryant, captain.

Engine Company No. 6 — Southeast corner Mound and Glenn Avenue; E. J. Perkins, captain.

Chemical Engine Company — West side of South Yellow Springs, between Pleasant and Dibert Avenue; William Fanning, captain.

Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 — West side of South Fountain Avenue, between Jefferson and Washington.

Hook and Ladder Company No. 3 — Northwest corner Clifton and Boler; H. T. Evans, captain.

Southern Steam Fire Company No. 3 — Northwest corner Clifton and Boler ; H. T. Evans, captain.

Hose Company No. 4 — East side Lagonda Avenue, between C, C, C. & St. L. Railroad and Florence.

Hose Company No. 5 — South side Main, near Park ; L. L. Metcalf , captain.

Hose Company No. 6 — Southeast corner Mound and Glenn; E. J. Perkins, captain.

Hose Company No. 7 — South side Cecil, between Fountain Avenue and Limestone; Pat H. Lawler, captain.

Hose Company No. 8 — West side South Yellow Springs, between Pleasant and Dibert Avenue; William Fanning, captain.

SOURCE: 20th Century History of Springfield , and Clark County, Ohio and Representative Citizens. Edited and compiled by Hon. William M. Rockel, Springfield, Ohio - 1908.


On May 1, 1920, Springfield switched to a two-platoon system from continuous duty, placing firefighters "on duty twenty-four hours and off the same length of time — subject to emergency calls at all times," according to a 1922 history of the city by Benjamin Prince.

"The chief is continuously on duty; his entire time is given to the city, and all firemen sleep with their ears attuned to telephone calls, responding as quickly at night as to day time alarms," according to Prince's book. "Under the two-platoon system firemen have home privileges impossible under previous conditions ; they have opportunity of knowing their families and sharing in home pleasures appreciated by all of them."

Today, the Fire Division employs a three-platoon system.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

ENON - 2007

On Oct. 25, 2007, fire swept an apartment building at 6631 Rita Drive in Enon, Ohio. According to WHIO-TV, a neighbor fetched a ladder to rescue three people. Enon is near Springfield.

Photo: WHIO-TV

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


On Dec. 28, 1900, fire destroyed Hamma Divinity Hall, a seminary, and low water pressure delayed the firefighters' assault on the flames.

According to an article in the next day's Times newspaper in Washington, D.C., firefighters rescued three students. All the others were at home for the holidays.

The blaze started in a furnace "and by the time the students noticed it the chapel on the first floor was in a blaze," the Times newpaper said. "Efforts to put it out with buckets were fruitless, as the smoke was suffocating."

Underscoring the rapid spread of the flames, the newspaper said Oliver McWilliams, of Montgomery, Pennsylvania, "tried to get out of his room, but was forced back by the smoke." John Sweeter, of Curlsville, Pennsylvania, "was rescued from a second-story window." C.A. Hackenburg, of Pittsburgh, "escaped by crawling out on the rear part, where the firemen took him down."

The seminary - located on the grounds of Wittenberg University, then called Wittenberg College - was rebuilt in 1901.


Springfield firefighters saved Myers Hall at Wittenberg University from a prank gone awry more than a century ago, according to the Spring 2001 edition of Wittenberg Magazine.

The late Rev. Willard Hackenberg, Class of 1901, recalled that two students set fire to coal bins at the rear of the dorm:

“What a fire that was! Think of the many tons of coal that were burned. ... The Springfield Fire Department came with great force, but because the water pressure was so low, all the firemen could do was protect the dorm.

"They had to allow the coal and the bins to burn, using all the water on hand to keep the very hot flames from reaching the most important building.”

The article didn't mention the date of the fire.

Monday, November 02, 2009


On Dec. 12, 1906, flames broke out at St. Bernard Church on Lagonda Avenue. The fire "for a time threatened the entire structure, but fortunately it was confined to the organ," according to a 1935 history of the parish. "It was much disputed what caused the fire, but it was thought that a candle was left lighted in repairing the organ. The organ was immediately replaced by a larger one."


Photos: Springfield Fire Rescue Division
Springfield's Medic 5 pictured at Station No. 5. A second apparatus bay was added to Truck 5's quarters on the west side of the city to house the medic unit.

Friday, October 02, 2009


Photo: Springfield Fire-Rescue Division
Duty chief's car on the ramp at Station No. 1.


Photo: Springfield News-Sun
This is a Springfield News-Sun photo of a house fire at Southern Avenue and South Plum Street on Oct. 1, 2009. Two families escaped from the flames, the News-Sun reported. Engine 8 is at the hydrant.

Friday, September 11, 2009


On Sept. 4, 2009, a motorist helped a woman trapped by a house fire at 1428 Clifton Avenue, according to the Springfield News-Sun. "Jonna Buckner was in the upstairs apartment when the fire started and escaped to the porch roof," the newspaper said. "A passerby in a truck stopped, took the ladder off his truck and helped her get down." He left before she could thank him.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Jefferson School - destroyed by fire in 1928 - was located McCreight & Garfield. The Trump-Littleton Insurance Agency employed a photographer to document major fires in the City of Springfield as an advertising tool.

Friday, May 29, 2009


On May 6, 1895, The New York Times published a brief dispatch from Springfield entitled "AN OHIO TOWN ON FIRE; New-Carlisle Threatened with Destruction -- Opera House and Other Buildings Burning." New Carlisle requested assistance from Springfield's fire department after the fire broke out May 5, the dispatch said. William Francis Stockstill, 1850-1922, built the theater and moved to Dayton when it "aburned to the ground," according to a family history posted on the web.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


On Jan. 8, 1968, a freight train derailed in Snyderville - six miles west of Springfield - and set a family's home ablaze, according to the Associated Press.

The accident killed Jason Williams, 47, and injured his wife and three children. Brenda Williams, 17, was credit with saving her younger sister and brother, according to neighbors. A neighbor pulled Jason Williams and wife, Frances, 40, from the flames, according to the AP dispatch.


The Evening Independent - Google News Archive Search


A random search of Google's newspaper archives for articles about firefighting in Springfield, Ohio, led to a brief wire dispatch in an Australian daily.
  • According to The Age of Nov. 13, 1961:
``Three children perished last night when fire swept through their third-floor flat in Springfield, Ohio. Their mother, with her six-month-old son, was visiting friends in a second-floor flat at the time. Firemen found the woman, Mrs. Elisa Duheart, screaming at the door to her blazing flat, attempting in vain to batter it down to rescue her children.''


The news commentators called it ``America's long hot summer.''

In July 1967, rioting in Detroit led to disturbances in two-dozen other cities - including Springfield.

``Springfield, Ohio, reported its first racial incidents, with rock throwing and tossing of fire bombs,'' according to the Free-Lance Star of Fredericksburg, Virginia on July 28, 1967. Trouble was also reported in the Ohio cities of Toldeo and Lorain.

By 1967, the civil rights movement of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who would be assassinated a year later in Memphis, was losing influence to the ``Black Power Movement'' and its more militant approach to fighting social injustice.


SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (UPI) - Firemen say four children playing with matches behind the Lynn Hockenson Co. here accidentally touched off a three alarm fire that swept through the cardboard box producing plant, causing an estimated $40,000 damage.

  • The Bryan Times, Bryan, Ohio - April 12, 1971



SPRINGFIELD NEWS & SUN: On July 19, 1973, Barney the beagle puppy got his head stuck in a milk can and members of the Springfield Fire Division freed him - proving man can be a dog's best friend. The photos in the News & Sun were transmitted to newspapers across the U.S. by the Associated Press. Engine Co. 9 punched a hole in the can so the puppy could breath, tried cooking oil to slide his head but finally went with a metal cutter. [Submitted by Lt. Dave Aills of Rescue Company 1]

Friday, May 15, 2009


On May 2, 1990, a three-year-old boy named Tyler Wolf dialed 911 after his mother fell unconscious in their home at 817 East McCreight Avenue in Springfield, Ohio.

"He knows that he helped mommy and he called the squad for mommy," said his mother, Lori Wolf, who was quoted by The Dayton Daily News. "We're very proud of him."

The boy's father - employed by a private ambulance company - was at work. The parents taught Tyler how to dial 911.

Following is a transcript - from Dayton Daily News archives - of Tyler, fire dispatchers Rick Williams and David Storer, and police dispatcher Ann Eubanks:

WILLIAMS: "What's wrong, son?"
TYLER: "Mommy fall."
WILLIAMS: "Did mommy fall down?"
TYLER: "Yeah."
WILLIAMS: "What's your name?"
EUBANKS: "Is it Tyler?"
TYLER: "Yeah."
EUBANKS: "How old are you?"
TYLER: "Three."
EUBANKS: "And your mommy's right there and she fell down?"
TYLER: "Yeah."
WILLIAMS: "Is his daddy there?"
TYLER: "No. At work."
WILLIAMS: "Did his mom ask him to call?"
WILLIAMS: "Tyler, you stay here on the phone, OK?"
(IN THE BACKGROUND: Williams then asks fellow fire dispatcher Storer to pick up the call while he sends an engine and emergency squad to the home.)
STORER: "Hi, Tyler. How are you?
WILLIAMS: "Tyler, go ahead and talk to this man for a minute, OK?"
TYLER: "Hi."
STORER: "Hi. We're going to send the emergency squad and an engine out there, and they'll talk to you and take care of your situation, OK?"
TYLER: "No. My dad not going to be here."
STORER: "Why isn't he?"
TYLER: "Because he's working 24."
STORER: "Just your mother's there?"
TYLER: "Yeah. (Unintelligible)."
STORER: "Tyler, stay here on the phone, OK? We want to keep talking to you. How old are you, Tyler? What are you, about seven?"
TYLER: "Mommy! Mommy!"
STORER: "Is your front door unlocked so that the firemen can come in?"
TYLER: "Yeah. No. It's locked."
STORER: "Do you know how to unlock it so that the firemen can help your mom?"
TYLER: "Yeah."
STORER: "OK, because the firemen are on their way up there, OK?"
TYLER: "Mommy! Mommy! Bye."
STORER: "Don't hang up now."
WILLIAMS comes back on the line and says, "Hey, Tyler. What's your mommy doing now?"
TYLER: "Laying down."
WILLIAMS: "Did she hurt her head or something? Did she bump her head?"
TYLER: "No."
STORER comes back on the line and asks, "Are her eyes closed?"
TYLER: "Yeah."
STORER: "OK. We're going to need you to unlock the front door for the firemen, OK?"
WILLIAMS: "Don't do it right now. We'll stay on the phone with you until the firemen get there, OK? They'll be there in just a little bit. It doesn't take them very long."
TYLER: "Can I put the phone on the chair?"
WILLIAMS: "No. Don't put the phone on the chair right now. You just stand there and hold it. Are you standing there holding the phone?"
TYLER: "No. I'm sitting down."
WILLIAMS: "You're sitting down. OK. Is your last name Wolf?"
TYLER: "Yeah."
WILLIAMS: "Where's your dad? Is he at work?"
TYLER: "Yeah. He's working 24 today. His name Barry Wolf."
WILLIAMS: "His name is Barry Wolf and he's working 24? Do you know where he works? Do you know what company he works at?"
TYLER: "He don't work at company no more. He work at Med Trans."
WILLIAMS: "He works at Med Trans. Hey, Tyler. Go over and open the front. I want you to go over and open the front door, then come get back on the phone."
(IN THE BACKGROUND: There are three knocks on the door. Tyler asks, "Yeah. Who is it?" He unlocks the door after the firefighters identify themselves and ask him to show them where his mother is. One firefighter then picks up the phone.)
FIREFIGHTER: "Hey Rick. You there?"
FIREFIGHTER: "OK, we're here, bud."
WILLIAMS: "Is it real?"


On Jan. 4, 1954, a general alarm fire swept the 99-year-old Western Grade School at West Main and Yellow Spring streets.

Eight teachers and 275 pupils were safely evacuated by the time firefighters arrived, demonstrating the value of regular fire drills.

The Springfield Daily News reported that when the alarm sounded teachers ``did not know it was a real fire'' and ``headed their charges out of the building before they realized the building was aflame.''

Coincidentally, an earlier school by the same name was destroyed by fire in February 1858.

Four years later, a fire at the Our Lady of Angels School in Chicago claimed about 100 lives, leading to sweeping changes in school fire safety across the U.S.



Photo: Ohio Air National Guard

Senior Master Sgt. Douglas Drum, 178th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, participates in major accident exercise in April 2008. The Ohio Air National Guard provided aircraft firefighting and rescue service at city-owned Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport until 2011. The Springfield Fire-Rescue Division replaced the military firefighters.



Willard Dale Ritenour, a member of the Tremont City Fire Department in Clark County, died in the line of duty on Nov. 4, 1963, according to the Ohio Fire Service Honor Roll. Information regarding the incident is scarce as the Tremont City department disbanded. Ritenour was apparently electrocuted while fighting a grass fire. His name is also listed on an honor roll for Miami Valley firefighters who died in the line of duty.


Photo: Bethel Township web site
Station 51 - 11100 Gerlaugh Rd. in Medway

Thursday, May 14, 2009


South Fountain Avenue, City of Springfield

Friday, March 20, 2009


NEW PHOTO - APRIL 30, 2009

On Nov. 24, 1893, Springfield firefighters provided mutual aid to the City of Columbus for a blaze that consumed the Chittenden Hotel and Henrietta Opera House. ``The fire takes from Columbus her best theater, her best hotel and a number of flourishing business enterprises,'' the Daily Democrat of Hamilton, Ohio, reported the next day.


``Those familiar with author Harry Laybourne’sfirst volume on Springfield, or those encountering its history for the very first time, will undertake a journey that deepens an understanding of this fascinating city. Home to Wittenberg University, the Clark County Historical Society, and the Westcott Home built by Frank Lloyd Wright, Springfield has undergone numerous changes in its remarkable 200 year history. Laybourne invites the reader to witness these changes as they unfold. Join him on a fascinating exploration of Springfield, and discover its thriving downtown district, distinctive cultural arena, adaptation to rail and aviation, and perhaps most notably, the many faces who helped to build the city’s identity and profile.''

Thursday, March 19, 2009

OX TEAM - 1800s

"In the days of Fire Chief Simpson the Simpson Lumber Company horses were used in emergencies saving the city the expense of so many horses. Mr Simpson operated a lumber yard in a central location and one year when there was epizootic among the horses an ox team was used by the fire department the hose cart was too heavy for man power." - Excerpt from Benjamin F. Prince history book, 1922

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Photo: Springfield News-Sun
Old Fire Station No. 9
17 West State St., Springfield, Ohio
Closed Jan. 1, 1975
Engine 9, Truck 9


Photos: Wikipedia
On Sept. 15, 1956, fire damaged the King Building at 21 South Fountain Ave. in downtown Springfield, Ohio.