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

Saturday, October 13, 2012


UPDATE 2016: ARFF service no longer provided.

 Airport Tower

 Engine 2

By day, they are guardians of the sky.

Engine Company No. 2 of the Springfield Fire and Rescue Division covers Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The city assumed responsibility for Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) services from the Ohio Air National Guard in 2011.

Eighteen members of the fire division are ARFF certified.

In the event of an aircraft fire, "we use the foam capabilities of Engine 2 and we have a pick-up truck with a slide-in, 500-pound dry chemical extinguishing agent," according to Battalion Chief Randy Keifer.

None of the Air National Guard ARFF equipment remains at the airport.

Springfield airport is located about two miles south of the city limits on State Route 794.

It has two runways and a tower.

The Federal Aviation Administration rating for the airport is "ARFF Index A," meaning it requires one fire engine when the tower is open.

The index is based on aircraft size and the average daily number of departures.

"In the event of a full blown event, we get a normal fire alarm response from the city," Keifer said. "Mutual aid is available."

In the evenings and on weekends, Engine 2 operates as a structural firefighting unit from the East Home Road station which also houses Engine 7.

Airport diagram - Runways 6/24 and 15/33


Springfield, Ohio - FAA Identifier: SGH
Latitude: N39o 50.42'; Longitude: W83o 50.41'

Two intersecting runways are capable of handling anything from a heavy military transport to a small two-seat training aircraft, according to the airport's website.
    Runway 6/24 - Length: 9,000'; Width: 150'
    Runway 15/33 - Length: 5,500'; Width: 100'
    Radio - Tower 120.7, Ground 121.7

OHIO PEN - 1930


On April 21, 1930, a fire at the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus claimed 320 lives. 
The blaze - which was apparently started to cover an escape attempt - erupted in the top tier of a cell block along Neil Avenue and spread into other blocks.

The warden braced for a riot.

Instead, "heroism cropped out in unexpected places," according to a Zanesville newspaper.

"Liberated convicts gasped fresh air into their lungs, armed themselves with sledge hammers and crowbars and rushed back into the burning tiers."

Surviving inmates won pardons for their acts of heroism, which also led to creation of the Ohio Parole Board in 1931, according to the Ohio Historical Society.


Some of the dead were listed as from Springfield and Clark County:


Brannick was doing time for possession of liquor. Myers was a burglar. The Sherricks were locked up for robbery. Taylor passed bad checks. Timblin was convicted of larceny. Young stole an auto.

Friday, October 12, 2012



On Oct. 1, 1908, a fire at the Knox 5&10 Store fire fatally injured two senior members of the Youngstown Fire Department. Capt. Charles Vaughn died that day and First Assistant Chief Thomas Reilly succumbed to his injuries a day later.


On May 15, 1929, fumes from burning nitro-cellulose x-ray film killed 123 people at the Cleveland Clinic. Among the bodies scattered about was Dr. John Phillips, a founder of the clinic. According to the Associated Press, firemen ``reached the roof and chopped a hole leading to a stairway, then dropped a ladder to the fourth floor landing. Below they found sixteen bodies, one a doctor and another a nurse.''

Cuyahoga River

At least 13 fires have been reported on the Cuyahoga River, the first occurring in 1868. The worst blaze (pictured above) caused over $1 million in damage to boats and a riverfront office building in Cleveland in 1952. Following a blaze in 1969, Time magazine described the Cuyahoga as the river that "oozes rather than flows."

Post card of fire departmeent headquaters in Alliance, Ohio, showing motorized chief's buggy on left along with hose drawn engine and hose wagon.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Photo: Youngstown Fire web site
Old Engine 1 - Circa 1937 - Springfield, Ohio
In December 1937, the Springfield Fire Division took delivery of a closed-bed American LaFrance sedan pumper. This unique rig was assigned to the Central Engine House as Engine 1. There wasn't a rear running board like most engines of the era. Everyone traveled in the cab or the covered hose bed. Firefighters dubbed it the "Covered Wagon." It remained a front-line pumper until 1959.

Motor Driven Combinations in Fire Department Service
By Samuel F. Hunter, Chief of Fire Department, Springfield, Ohio.
Excerpt from Municipal Engineering
June 1913 
The city of Springfield, Ohio, not only enjoys the distinction of being the first municipality in this country to purchase a motor-driven pumping engine, but has reason to be proud of the fact that she was among the first cities in this section to realize the advantages and the savings of motor-driven combination chemical and hose wagons.

We have three of these motor-driven combinations in service and, while the financial saving over horse-drawn apparatus is considerable, the special advantage of being in a position of getting to a large number of fires in double-quick time and knocking them out before they gain headway, cannot be over estimated. The efficiency of our fire department has increased many fold since the installation of these machines, which are located in strategic positions, thus being enabled to make quick trips to the remotest parts of the city in four minutes' time.

These motor-driven combination chemical and hose wagons were furnished us by the Kelly-Springfield Motor Truck Company, Springfield, Ohio. Every part of these machines is very carefully and durably made and it is my belief that the motor has fewer parts than any other 4-cylinder, 4-cycle head motor built. This motor is not only completely enclosed, including the valves, but the only moving parts exposed are the two cross-shafts in front, which drive the magneto and water circulating pump.
The equipment of our combination chemical and hose wagon includes 1,200 to 1,500 feet of 2 1/2-Inch hose, one 40- gallon chemical tank, two 3-gallon acid and soda chemical extinguishers, hose basket, 200 feet of 3/4-inch hose, one nickel plated shut-off nozzle, one 20-foot extension ladder, one 12-foot roof ladder, together with the usual equipment of plaster hooks, pike poles, axes, storage battery, speedometer, lamps, lanterns, torches, nozzle plugs, etc.
Our motor-driven combinations respond to all alarms of fire in the city on first call and are always the first apparatus to arrive at the fire. Our combinations after reporting back at the engine house are ready for another alarm of fire 20 to 30 minutes sooner than our horse-drawn equipment, which responds to the same fire reports on duty with the horses sweating and blowing and tired and many times almost exhausted, and not in a condition to respond to another and immediate alarm of fire.


Photo: Youngstown Fire web site
Engine 1/Reserve 10 - 1959 Mack - Springfield, Ohio 
Pictured here is the original "Attack Pumper" in semi-retirement as Reserve Engine 10. The rig was painted safety green after it was scorched at a fire in the late 1970s. The Attack Pumper responded to all working fires in the city with a crew of four or five men following the Jan. 1, 1975 reorganization of the fire division.

4's & 5's

Photos: Youngstown Fire web site
Engine 4 and Engine 5 - Springfield, Ohio
These Ward LaFrance pumpers entered service in 1967, replacing American LaFrance rigs assigned to Engine 4 and Engine 5, according to the 1978 book "From Buckets to Diesels" by the late Calvin E. Roberds, a senior officer in the fire division.


Photos: Youngstown Fire web site
Truck 6 and Engine 6 - Circa 1970s - Springfield, Ohio


Photo: Youngstown Fire web site
1964 Mack assigned to Engine Co. 8 - Springfield, Ohio


Photo: Youngstown Fire web site
Box 27 - Springfield, Ohio
Light and air unit operated by volunteers of Box 27 Associates in the 1970s and 1980s; converted from fire division ladder truck.


Photo: Youngstown Fire website
Reserve Truck on the ramp at Station No. 1, Springfield Ohio


Photo: Youngstown Fire web site 
Reserve Engine 12 - Circa 1980 - Springfield, Ohio


Photo: Private Collection 


"Some Like It Hot" -- Street scene from Dayton, Ohio; outside the Ohio Follies Theatre in the late 1950s or early 1960s.


Post card of central fire station Youngstown, Ohio, with early motorized fleet. 

Photo: U.S. Army

Crash at Wright-Patterson military airfield, between Springfield and Dayton, on Oct. 30, 1935


Post card of oil refinery fire in 1911.


"Matthew Byrd, a young boy of Springfield, Ohio, was taken before the Probate Judge of Clarke county, Ohio, and reprimanded for setting fire to the building owned by the Springfield Casket Company. It was the intention of the judge to have him taken to the Boys' Industrial School, but, owing to his tender years, the sentence was suspended during his good behavior" - Ohio State Fire Marshal's Annual Report for 1906

Monday, April 23, 2012



Photos courtesy of Spingfield Fire Lt. Dave Allis

CLARK COUNTY, April 19, 2012: "More than 50 agencies responded — including every fire department in Clark County — to the fire at the R.D. Holder Oil Co., 2219 Folk Ream Road. The blaze produced flames that shot 200 feet up, black smoke could be seen as far away as Dayton and Butler County, and the plume even showed up on weather radar." - Dayton Daily News

Tuesday, March 27, 2012




ORIGINAL RESCUE 1: Springfield's unique "Aircraft Carrier" was a 1966 Peter Pirsch Aerial 1 HC Tractor converted into a heavy rescue with a tiller. Before its conversion, the aerial operated as Truck 6. It was retired in the 1990s and replaced with a rescue engine. Photos courtesy of Springfield Fire-Rescue Division.

Monday, March 26, 2012


"Original" call signs for Clark County fire stations, courtesy of Brian Halk of Bethel Township Fire Department:

51- Bethel Township (Medway/ Crystal Lakes station)
52- New Carlisle
53- Pike Township/ North Hampton
54- Bethel Township (Donnelsville station)
55- Enon/ Mad River Township fire (Combined with squad to become current station 50)
56- Springfield Township (Rockway station)
57- German Township (Tremont City station)
58- Springfield Township (Beatty station)
59- Husted
61- Christiansburg (Once part of Clark County fire association, number no longer used)
62- Ambulance operated by funeral home in South Charleston
64- 178th Fighter Group, Ohio Air National Guard
71- Miami Township/ Clifton (Once part of association; number transferred to Madison Township EMS, but eventually dropped when EMS combined with fire department)
72- Springfield Township (Garden Acres or "East Side" station)
73- Pitchin
74- Moorefield Township
75- Catawba/ Pleasant Township
76- Harmony Township/ South Vienna
77- Madison Township/ South Charleston
78- German Township (Lawrenceville station)
79- Enon EMS (Combined with Enon fire as current station 50)
95-"Rescue 95" (Husted EMS; eventually combined with fire as part of station 59)

Sunday, March 11, 2012


List of radio signals used by Springfield Fire Division in 1970s:

FCC Call Sign: KQD-688

Signal 1 - Telephone at once
Signal 2 - Telephone ASAP
Signal 3 - Working fire
Signal 4 - Single company can handle
Signal 4A - False alarm
Signal 5 - Lights and siren
Signal 6 - No apparent fire
Signal 7 - Stand by
Signal 8 - Returning out of service
Signal 9 - Returning in service
Signal 9A - Returning for gas/air
Signal 9B - In service on scene
Signal 10 - Radio silence
Signal 11 - Police requested
Signal 13 - Coroner requested
Signal 14 - Community Hospital
Signal 15 - Mercy Medical Center
Signal 16 - Subject armed/dangerous
Signal 17 - Out at scene
Signal 18 - Return to quarters
Signal 19 - Out of car
Signal 20 - Firefighter injured

UPDATE: Additional signals from Fire Journal readers:
Signal 3A - Working fire can be handled with current assignment. Engine 1 (attack pumper) not required
Signal 22 - Transmit second alarm
Signal 25 - Check fire station stove
Signal 27 - Request Box 27 Associates

Monday, January 23, 2012


On Nov. 21, 1961, a fire at Wright Paterson Air Force Base, located between Springfield and Dayton, killed two firefighters.

Dale Kelcher and William Collins were last seen alive entering the headquarters of the Air Force logistics command, which took fire at about 11 p.m. that night. [Top two photos]

Four days later, another major fire gutted a building at the base. [Bottom photo]

Both blazes were deemed accidental.


CORRECTION - Sept. 9, 2014

We have received word from an authortitative  source that these are photos of downtown Dayton, Ohio, during the March 1913 floods - not Springfield, Ohio. Dayton was hardest hit with the city and surrounding communities reporting more than 300 flood deaths, including Dayton firefighter Ed Doudna.

LIMA - 1904

Image: Columbus Public Library
 Post card of 1904 oil field fire in Lima; note proximity of spectators to blaze. Printed on upper left of card: "Greetings from Lima, O."

Sunday, January 22, 2012


FRIDAY THE 13TH: House fire on West Grand Avenue, Springfield, on Feb. 13, 1981.

Friday, January 20, 2012



Bellefontaine, O., May 15. -- The Logan County Children's Home was totally destroyed by fire. All of the 42 children were saved.The building was a magnificient three-story brick structure, built nearly 20 years ago, but was without fire protection of any kind.

[Van Wert Daily Bulletin Ohio May 15, 1907]


On Feb. 1, 1900, Dayton firefighters put out a call for mutual aid from Springfield, Columbus and Cincinnati for a warehouse fire - the worst in about 30 years.

A falling wall seriously injured Dayton fireman George Coy but no lives were lost in Dayton's largest blaze since the Turner Opera House in 1869. [Top photo]

According to an Illustrated History of the Dayton Fire Department by J. E. Brelsford, copyright 1900:

"This date will remain a memorable one to Dayton firemen. It was a bitter cold morning with a high wind blowing, when they were called to J. P. Wolf & Sons tobacco warehouse, on the corner of First and Foundry Streets.

"The flames spread rapidly, and for a time it looked as if the department was unequal to the task of extinguishing them. Aid from Cincinnati, Columbus and Springfield was asked for, but before either Columbus or Cincinnati reached here the fire was under control.

"The men fought the flames heroically for hours, always at a great disadvantage, due to inadequate water pressure, the intense cold and high wind. The establishments of Wolf & Son, Benedict & Co., Dayton Paper Novelty Co. and E. Bimm & Sons' were destroyed, while other firms sustained minor losses."


From New York Herald, May 17, 1869


LOSS BETWEEN $600,000 AND $800,000


Dayton, May 16, 1869.

At one o'clock this morning Turner's Opera House, in this city took fire and was entirely destroyed. The building was occupied by McKEE, WOODWARD & WEEKLY, wholesale grocers; BLACK & FOX, wholesale china and queensware; GROVER & BAKER'S Machine Company, a large restaurant and billiard rooms. Nothing was saved but a few sewing machines.

The fine residences east of the Opera House, on First street, of J. SCHWAB, JOEL ESTABROOK and A. KUHERS, were also destroyed. The fire also communicated to the buildings south, on Main street, owned by M. OHMER, which were entirely destroyed, including the large furniture establishment of MR. OHMER and the grocery store of SARDMIER & BROTHER.

HERMAN SARDMIER, of the latter firm, was endeavoring to save some of his goods, when a portion of the wall fell, crushing him to the floor. His brother and several others endeavored to extricate him, but it was impossible. He lived in this condition for a while, when another crash came, burying him in the ruins. His wife and family were present, but no human power could save him.

The scene was heartrending. The loss is estimated at between $600,000 and $800,000, and the insurance about $100,000. It is supposed to be the work of an incendiary. The Opera House was one of the finest in the West, and was owned by J. M. and W. M. TURNER, whose whole loss will be about $250,000 over and above an insurance of $48,000.