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, June 11, 2010


On April 12, 1892, fire gutted Winter's Art Lithographing Co. in Springfield, Ohio - destroying materials printed for the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, according to a dispatch in The New York Times of the next day.

"Before the Fire Department could arrive the entire three stories were enveloped in flames," the Times reported. "The company had contracted for all the World's Fair lithographing, and part of the orginial stones for the World's Fair work were destroyed."

The fire orginated in a room of oils and inks, "supposedly by spontaneous combustion," and "the heavy machinery was ruined by dropping to the basement," the newspaper reported. It said "the building is a total wreck."


On Jan., 10, 1982, fire "burned through the hospital wing" of the Ohio Masonic Home in Springfield, according to the Associated Press. Firefighters were hampered by intense flames inside and frozen equipment outside. The fire injured 30 people, including four firefighters.


On May 15, 1928, fire swept the Woodlawn Hall womens' dormitory at Wittenberg College, killing Hilda Sipes, 20, of Shelby, Ohio, according to a dispatch from the Associated Press.

Other women were injured jumping from windows early that Tuesday morning, the campus newspaper, The Torch, reported two days later.

Over the years, the tragedy contributed to ghost stories about Woodlawn Hall.

Ms. Sipes died in a lavatory across from her room, No. 11.

Firefighters located her body, clad in a nightgown, in a bathroom "stretched flat on the floor between the bathtub and the wall," said Fire Captain Ed Garrity of the Central Engine House, quoted by the Springfield Daily News.

The fire was discovered by Lilly Myers, house mother for the 20 residents, at about 2 a.m., according to The Torch.

The Associated Press identified three of the injured students as Alice Olde of Detroit, Helen McClain of Troy, Ohio, and Marie Schneider of Indianapolis.

The AP also reported: "More of the girls might have been trapped in bed had not most of them remained awake longer than usual to listen to a midnight serenade of a campus fraternity."

The AP dispatch was published in the May 16, 1928 edition of the Hartford Courant newspaper of Hartford, Connecticut. The headline of the story on page 6 of the newspaper read: "Co-Ed Killed in Dormitory Fire in Ohio."

The AP reporter identified the dormitory as "Woodland Hall."