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

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.