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, 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