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.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021


The Brighton section of Harmony Township, Clark County, was the scene of an airliner crash on New Year's Eve 1931.

Springfield, O., Jan. 1 -- (AP) -- The death toll of the wreck of a Cleveland-Cincinnati passenger plane rose to four today with the death of W. D. WIEBACK, of Cincinnati, a salesman.

Three men were dead when they were pulled from the smashed ship, near here last night. The pilot remains critically injured.

The cause of the fall was investigated by Capt. Frank McKee, state director of aeronautics, who inspected the wreckage today.

The plane, a single motored craft, enroute from Cleveland to Louisville, was flying low when it went into a barrel roll, according to LEWIS L. BOWEN, of Louisville, the pilot and one of the injured. It plunged 300 feet to bury itself three feet in a muddy field.

The other dead:

A. L. WENNER of Cincinnati, an engineer.

LOUIS E. STONE, 24, of Cincinnati, personnel director of the Embry-Riddle division of the American Airways.

A. C. MAYER, JR., 38, of Louisville, merchandising manager of the General Electric Co. refrigerator division with headquarters at Cleveland.

The plane left Port Columbus at 6:35 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) and was due in Dayton at 7:25. It was reported overdue at Cincinnati at 8 p.m.

Residents of Brighton, near where the crash occurred, reported seeing the craft about 7:30 p.m. apparently in trouble.

Shortly afterward a crash was heard and residents began searching. Two boys located the wreckage nearly two hours later. The three dead apparently had been killed instantly.

The pilot said he had lost control of the plane while trying to regain altitude. He was slightly off his course and was flying low.

Monday, July 12, 2021

SQUADS 6 & 7

Photo: Springfield Fire Rescue Division

Squads 6 and 7 on ramp at Springfield Fire Division headquarters in 1971

Friday, December 13, 2019


On Nov. 13, 1916, flames fanned by wind gusts gutted the  
O. S. Kelly Piano Plate Company in Springfield.

The fire started in gas ovens used to manufacture of piano plates and had made significant headway by the time it was discovered by a police officer on patrol.

 "Chief Samuel F. Hunter responded and found the two top floors in flames on the west and gaining eastward, fanned by a high wind," Fire Engineering reported. "The chief was handicapped by a deep creek running along the south side of the building, the creek being forty feet wide.

"He had forty men at the fire and they worked skillfully under his direction and checked the blaze," the magazine said.

Springfield firefighters responded with 
 an Ahrens motor combination pumper, two American-La France chemical engines, a Seagrave aerial ladder, a Webb pumping engine and four Kelly hose and chemical engines. 

The plant was located at Limestone Avenue and Warder Street.

Thursday, October 24, 2019


Image: Department of Veterans Affairs
On May 21,1942, fire hit the Dayton veterans home, which was undergoing renovation.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019


On Feb. 3, 1908, two Xenia firefighters died when a brick wall collapsed at a fire at the 
H. H. Kavey & Co. 
wholesale grocery store.

Martin Ulery and Joseph Fletcher
 were manning a hose line at the rear of the building when the wall gave way, according to Fire Engineering magazine. Another firefighter was thrown to the ground by the force of the collapse and injured.

"The flames made their way upward through the elevator-shaft, and before they burst through the roof had been burning fiercely for some time," the magazine said. "The firemen were hindered in their operations by the intense cold and by help given to the flames by the gas which escaped from the broken and melted lines."

Firefighters directed 
seven streams at the blaze, all at the constant pressure of 85 pounds, which was considered reliable in the early 1900s.

The likely cause was an 
overheated pipe or spontaneous combustion in the rear of the building.

Decades later, members of the Ohio National Guard lost their lives at the same site when a killer tornado struck Xenia on April 3, 1974, according to the Xenia Fire Division.


Members of Springfield's engine companies line up on the ramp of  Fire Station No.1 before hitting the streets for home fire inspections in May 1960. 
The Springfield Fire Division introduced a home fire safety program in May 1960 and within the first four weeks firefighters completed more than 6,000 inspections. Civic organizations provided funds for the program, brainchild of Fire Chief Willard G. Compton.  


Roaring flames swept the old Clark County Courthouse on March 12, 1918, toppling the bell tower and gutting the interior.

The grand jury room, the common pleas court chamber and the court of appeals chamber were ruined.

Many of the law library's 9,000 volumes were lost.

Fire Chief Samuel Hunter struck a second alarm upon arrival, bringing his entire force to the scene at about 1 a.m.

``Hundreds of feet into the air the flames shot as they encircled the high tower,'' The Sun newspaper said. ``Several lines of hose were used to throw water on the southwest corner in which are kept all the court records of the county ... Two lines of hose were carried to the top of the sheriff's residence and from there water was played on the building.''

Winds carried sparks ``as far down as Spring Street where a dwelling caught fire,'' according to The Sun.

Sheriff James Welch ordered the transfer of inmates from the County Jail to the City Prison as a precaution.

The blaze apparently started near a lavatory on the second floor of the courthouse, which was built in 1878.

Friday, September 06, 2019


Photo: Youngstown Fire
Photo: Big Mack Trucks

t's not easy being green," Kermit the Frog once said.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Springfield, Dayton and other American cities fielded safety lime and safety yellow fire apparatus to improve visibility and cut down on traffic accidents.

Scientists had determined human eyes are "most sensitive to greenish-yellow colors under dim conditions, making lime shades easiest to see in low lighting," according to the American Psychological Association.

However, later scientific studies determined "
recognizing the vehicle was more important than paint color" the APA said. "If people in a particular community don't associate the color lime with fire trucks, then yellow-green vehicles may not actually be as conspicuous."

The trend has since shifted back to red, just like Kermit the Frog's Sesame Street neighbor - Elmo.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

MAST FOOS - 1925

Photo: Fidelity Sales Co. via Clark County Historical Society

Insurance agents distributed local fire photos like this one to drum up business. It was pretty convincing advertising.

On Dec. 17, 1925, fire broke out at the Mast Foos plant
in Springfield, Ohio, and the city's aging steamer was put back to work supplementing motorized fire apparatus.  Notice that part of a wall collapsed.

Mast Foos, founded in 1884, produced
Iron Turbine Wind Engines, Buckeye Force Pumps and Buckeye Lawn Mowers.

Thursday, August 22, 2019


On March 4, 1908, fire killed 172 children and two
teachers at Lakeview Elementary School in the village of Collinwood, Ohio, near Cleveland.

"The fire began shortly after 9 a.m when an overheated steam pipe came in contact with wooden joists under the front stairs, and only 194 of the 366 students enrolled escaped the blaze," according to the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.

"The others were trapped inside the rear first-floor exit, and by the time volunteer firemen arrived, nothing could be done to save them," the encyclopedia said.


Special to The New York Times.

Cleveland, Ohio, March 4 - In a fire that may have been incendiary between 160 and 170 children lost their lives this morning when Lake View School, in the suburb of Collinwood, burned.

Penned in narrow hallways and jammed up against doors that only opened inward, the pupils were killed by fire and smoke and crushed under the grinding heels of their panic-stricken playmates. All of the victims were between the ages of 6 and 14 years. There were about 310 children in the school.

Two teachers, in vain efforts to save the little ones perished. To-night 165 bodies are in the morgue at Collinwood, of which more than 100 have been identified and 57 are still unidentified. Thirteen children are still unaccounted for, and all the hospitals and houses for two miles around contained children, some mortally and many less seriously injured.
Fire's Origin a Mystery.

What caused the fire is a mystery. There are hints that it was incendiary. There were no wires to cross and ignite the woodwork. There was no rubbish where the flames began, to ignite from spontaneous combustion. All that now seems to be known is that three little girls coming from the basement saw smoke. Before the janitor sounded the fire alarm a mass of flames was sweeping up the stairway from the basement. Before the children from the upper floors could reach the ground egress was cut off and they perished. It was all over almost before the frantic mothers who gathered realized that their children were lost.

With the call for fire engines calls for ambulances were sent in. Every ambulance from the eastern end of Cleveland was pressed into service. Wagons were used to carry off the dead.

Rescuers were present by the hundreds, but they could not save the life of one child, so dense was the jam at the foot of the stairways.

The Lake View School was a three-story structure. Under the stairway in the front of the building was the furnace. Owing to the mild weather there was less fire than usual, and it is certain that the fire did not start there. On the first floor four rooms were in use when the fire started, and the children of this floor escaped with few exceptions. They believed the ringing of the fire gong was the usual fire drill signal and marched out in order. The pupils on the second and third floors became panic-stricken and rushed to death.
Rear Door Was Locked.

The number of pupils was more than normally large, and the smaller children had been placed in the upper part of the building. There was only one fire escape, and that was in the rear of the building. There were two stairways, one leading to a door in front and the other to a door in the rear. Both of these doors opened inward, and it is said that the rear door was locked as well.

When the flames were discovered the teachers, who throughout seem to have acted with courage and self-possession, and to have struggled heroically for the safety of their pupils, marshaled the little ones into columns for the "fire drill," which they had often practiced.

Unfortunately the line of march in this exercise had always led to the front door, and the children had not been trained to seek any other exit. The fire to-day came from directly under this part of the building.

When the children reached the foot of the stairs they found the flames close upon them, and so swift a rush was made for the door that in an instant a tightly packed mass of children was piled up against it. From that second none of those who were upon any portion of the first flight of stairs had a chance for their lives. The children at the foot of the stairs attempted to fight their way back to the floor above, while those who were coming down shoved them mercilessly back into the flames below.

In an instant there was a frightful panic, with 200 of the pupils fighting for their lives. Most of those who were killed died here. The greater part of those who escaped managed to turn back and reach the fire escape and the windows in the rear.

What happened at the foot of that first flight of stairs will never be known, for all of those who were caught in the full fury of the panic were killed. After the flames had died away, however, a huge heap of little bodies, burned by the fire and trampled into things of horror, told the tale.

As soon as the alarm was given MRS. KELLEY ran from her home, which is not far from the schoolhouse, to the burning building. The front portion of the structure was a mass of flames, and, frenzied by the screams of the fighting and dying children which reached her from the death trap at the foot of the first flight of stairs and behind that closed door, MRS. KELLEY ran to the rear, hoping to effect an entrance there and save her children.

She was joined by a man whose name is not known, and the two of them tugged and pulled frantically at the door. They were unable to move it in the slightest, and there was nothing at hand by which they could hope to break it down. In utter despair of saving any of the children, they turned their attention to the windows, and by smashing some of these they managed to save a few of the pupils.

"They could have saved many more," said MR. KELLEY to-night, "if the door had not been locked. Nobody knows how many of the children might have made their way out before my wife reached there if the door had not been locked. If half a dozen men had been there when my wife and her companion arrived at the schoolhouse, perhaps they might have broken down the door, but the two could do nothing, and the flames spread so rapidly that it was all over in a few minutes."
Parents Fight with Firemen.

The suburb of Collingwood contains about 8,000 people, and within a half hour after the outbreak of the fire nearly every one of them was gathered around the blazing ruins of the school house, hundreds of parents fighting frantically with the police and firemen who were busily engaged in saving the lives of the children caught in the burning building and doing their best to extinguish the fire.

The police were utterly unable through lack of numbers to keep away the crowd that pressed upon them, and the situation soon became so serious that a number of the more cool-headed men in the throng took it upon themselves to aid in fighting back the crowd, while others worked to help the firemen and the police.

Among the latter were WALLACE UPTON, who reached the building shortly after the front door had caved in, and disclosed to the horror-stricken crowd the awful scenes that had occurred there. Just in front of UPTON'S eyes was his own ten-year-old daughter, helpless in the crush, badly burned, and trampled upon, but still alive. The fire was close upon her, and if she could not be saved at once she could not be saved at all.

UPTON sprang to help her, and with all his strength sought to tear her from the weight that was pressing her down and from the flames which were creeping close. Although he worked with a desperation of despair, his strength was unequal to the task. He fought until his clothing was partly burned from him and the skin of his face and hands was scorched black.

Other men attempted to induce him to move, but he refused until he saw that his girl was dead, and that he could not save her life by sacrificing his own. He then withdrew from the schoolhouse, and, although so seriously injured that he may die, lingered about the place for several hours, refusing to go to a hospital or to seek medical attention.

Monday, August 19, 2019


From Fire Engineering
Feb. 8, 1922

Chief Samuel Hunter of the fire department of Springfield, Ohio, who is also chairman of the exhibit committee of the next convention of the International Association of Fire Engineers, will soon file his annual report with the city manager of Springfield. He will recommend purchase of two new pumpers, extensive repairs to the fire houses and the purchase of a triple combination hose and other equipment. The estimated cost of the improvements will be about $100,000, according to Chief Hunter.

A recommendation that he will embody in his report will be the purchase of a squad car and the addition of twelve men to the present force of the department. The squad car will be placed at one of the centrally located stations so that it can answer all alarms and insure an ample number of firemen to be present at each fire. The apparatus, in addition to the men, carries axes, hand chemicals and tarpaulins. Twelve additional men will be necessary to man the squad car under the two-platoon system. Chief Hunter said that he believed that the adoption of the squad system would meet the demands of the National Board for more men in the department without making an increase in each of the fire houses necessary.

According to Chief Hunter, more than fifty per cent, of the hose now in service has been in use for eight years and is liable to fail at any critical moment. The fire houses, according to the chief, have been in bad repair for years and he expresses the hope that the new city commission will provide enough money to place them in good condition. Fire hydrants should be placed in front of every school building and also in front of the city hospital.

Thursday, August 30, 2018


UPDATED JAN 31, 2019

Fatal accident and fire on I-70, Clark County, Oct. 4, 2018; one dead

WHIO SKY7 view of fatal house fire, Dover Road, Springfield, Aug. 30, 2018; one dead
Fatal house fire, Wiley Avenue, Springfield, Aug. 12, 2018; two dead 

Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken, Springfield, May 24, 2018

Monday, June 25, 2018


Photos courtesy of the estate of Henry Frank Moler, an engineer employed by the City of Columbus engineer's office

Five members of the Columbus Fire Division died Feb. 19, 1936 when a wall collapsed at a fire at the Odd Fellows Temple - one of the largest losses of firefighters in Ohio history. 

They were:

  • Herbert Harrington, firefighter, Squad 1
  • Otto Ignatze, captain, Pump 3
  • Harry McFadden, firefighter, Truck 1
  • Oliver Metzger, firefighter, Squad 1
  • Robert Welsh, captain, Squad 1
The fire apparently started at the furnace.

The building was located on the corner of High and Rich streets.
On Feb. 19, 2012, the Columbus Dispatch published the following recollection:

Five Columbus firefighters died, and seven others were injured on Feb. 19, 1936, when the rear wall of a four-story Downtown lodge hall collapsed during an early morning fire.

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows hall, which stood where Columbus Commons now is on S. High Street, was one of the oldest office buildings in the city, having been built in 1868. 

Decayed mortar between the bricks of the building’s west wall was blamed for the tragedy.

At least eight firefighters were on a fire escape when the wall gave way, plunging some to their deaths and injuring others.

Firefighter Earl Ruhl said he was on the third floor when “Lt. McFadden and others in his company told me to go down and warm up. I went down the fire escape and a ladder, and before I knew what happened, I heard timbers crashing and felt bricks hitting my back.”

Lt. Harry McFadden, 36, had been injured fighting the fire but ignored advice to go to a hospital.

“He returned to the blaze after preliminary treatment just in time to be crushed under the wall,” The Dispatch reported.

McFadden was killed.

Firefighters used torches to rescue survivors from a tangle of steel beams, bricks and debris.

The front of the building was coated in a 6-inch sheet of ice, as the water from firefighters’ hoses froze in frigid weather.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


On Jan. 21, 2018, a grain silo ruptured in New Carlisle, spilling an estimated 20 million pounds of corn.

There were no injuries.

New Carlisle Fire Chief Steve Trusty told FOX 45 News: ``If we would've had employees in the building it would've been a lot worse because their drive-thru that they run during the week, five-days a week was demolished on one side. The office area was completely demolished.''

Monday, January 01, 2018


From Springfield News Sun

Chief Nick Heimlich became the head of the Springfield Fire/Rescue Division in 2010, shortly after the Great Recession in the late 2000s.
The division “had a series of a couple of years of decreasing budgets,” Heimlich said. “But, when I started, we were at the lowest point of budgeting over the last seven to 10-year cycle.” Heimlich said his goals included “trying to maintain services, maintain our equipment and facilities under pretty significant constraints.”
Learning how to manage that he said was his single biggest challenge. The division will spend close to $1.1 million to upgrade the vehicle fleet in 2018. Three new ambulances and a rescue truck will be the first new vehicles since 2010, according to Heimlich. The current rescue engine has been in service for about 20 years. Some others are at least 26 to 27-years old, he said.
“Many of the fleet vehicles were deferred replacements over the course of the last seven years and as a result of that we … need to move that process very aggressively,” Heimlich said.
That will be a significant portion of the next chief’s duties, he added.
In his career as chief, Heimlich was able to install an information management system the division could use to help make decisions.
“My primary objective for the organization was to connect everybody to the information,” Heimlich said. “Collecting data on all the medical runs we go on. All the fire runs we go on. All of our inspections that we do. The hydrants we maintain,” Heimlich said.
That system showed where activity was in the city and became instrumental when a station had to be shuttered earlier this year. Information from that system helped officials make an informed decision about what to close.
Assistant Chief Brian Miller is serving as acting chief until Tuesday when he becomes Springfield Fire/Rescue Division’s new chief. He said Heimlich did a lot to insure the success of the division.
“Chief Heimlich did most of the hard work. He weathered the storm and we kind of reached bottom and we are heading back up,” Miller said.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017


Thank you to Fire Journal reader Tracey Young for this photo of Springfield Fire Chief Willard G. Compton's helmet. Tracey's husband is the chief's grandson. Compton served as chief from Feb. 1, 1952 to March 4. 1963. He was appointed to the fire division on Aug. 20, 1929, according to the book From Buckets to Diesels. The home fire inspection was introduced during Compton's tenure.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Photo: WDTN
Truck 8

On July 1, 2017, the Springfield Fire Rescue Division returned to full strength.

Funding for Fire Station No. 5 was restored after voters approved an income tax increase in a special election in May.

The station was closed after the ballot initiative failed in November and firefighters were assigned to other stations.

Here is the Springfield Fire Rescue Division station roster as of July 2017, courtesy of Fire Chief Nick Heimlich:

Fire Station No. 1

Rescue 1
Medic 1
HazMat 1
Trench 1
Medic 9 (reserve)

Fire Station No. 3
Combo 3 Engine/Medic

Fire Station No. 4
Truck 4
Medic 4
Truck 5  (reserve)

Fire Station No. 5
Combo 5 Engine/Medic

Fire Station No. 6
Combo 6 Engine/Medic
Medic 11 (reserve)

Fire Station No. 7
Combo 7 Engine/Medic

Fire Station No. 8
Truck 8
Medic 8
Engine 8 (reserve)


From Springfield Fire Rescue Division Facebook: "Drillmaster W. Joseph Heinzen directing a training evolution at the drill tower which was located on Park Avenue behind the Municipal Stadium"

Thursday, February 02, 2017


Central Engine House, Springfield, Ohio, about 1933

Thursday, January 26, 2017


In the early and bitter cold hours of Feb. 1, 1977, a three-alarm blaze trapped students and firefighters inside the 10-story Tower Hall dormitory on the campus of Wittenberg University.

Firefighters raised an 85-foot aerial ladder from Truck 7 to save two students, Ed Wittenberg, 20, and David Clement, 20, from Room 601 on the sixth floor, according to The Springfield Daily News and a Wittenberg University press release.

Firefighters escorted two other students from the 7th floor and removed two firefighters from an elevator as flames leapt from the rear of the co-ed dorm on Woodlawn Avenue.

Medic 1 transported students and firefighters to Mercy Medical Center with smoke inhalation.

The first alarm was struck at 1:40 a.m., with Engine 1 from fire headquarters first due. Engine 7, Truck 7, Chief 3 and Medic 1 were also on the initial assignment. Other units typically "on the running card" for alarms at Wittenberg in that era were Engine 8, Engine 5 and Truck 8. (The nearest street alarm - Box 6124 - was located at the corner of Woodlawn and Cassily.)

 There had been confusion as to the location of the fire when firefighters arrived.

Signs in the stairwell identifying the floor numbers had been moved.

There was also a problem with the standpipe system.

An investigation determined a candle in a student's room - Room 612 - started the blaze, which was fueled by a vinyl record collection.

The sixth floor was rendered inhabitable, with considerable smoke and water damage extending from the fourth to seventh floors.

Evacuees were house in other dormitories, sororities, fraternities and private homes.

of the city's fire apparatus responded to the fire as did the volunteers of Box 27 Associates.  (Your editor, a Wittenberg freshman and regular visitor to fire headquarters, was pressed into service to assist Medic 1.)

In total, four firefighters were injured:

William Edgington, 50, platoon commander
Jerry Mansfield, 27
Bill Kemper, 33
Cecil "Pete" Siratt, 49

Later in 1977, one of the deadliest dormitory fires in U.S history killed 10 women at Providence College in Rhode Island on Dec. 23, 1977. That fire started in a closet. Two hair dryers had been left on to dry wet mittens.

The Wittenberg campus was the scene of other fires:

  • On May 15, 1928, fire swept the Woodlawn Hall womens' dormitory, killing Hilda Sipes, 20, of Shelby, Ohio, according to a dispatch from the Associated Press.
  • On Dec. 28, 1900, fire destroyed Hamma Divinity Hall. Firefighters rescued three students even as their hose lines were hindered by low water pressure.

URBANA - 1948

Photo: Champaign County Historical Society

On Jan. 20, 1948, fire destroyed the Champaign County Courthouse in Urbana, Ohio - and it took a decade to build a replacement.

According to Wikipedia:

"With no money in the budget for construction, several ballots were voted on to raise funds but were all defeated.

"A group of citizens campaigned for a final bond which passed with a sum of $650,000.

"This was not enough so the county officials decided to pay for the cost to equip the courthouse out of the county's fund which left restricted spending for several years."

The new building was dedicated 
June 8, 1957.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Associated Press, New York Times
DAYTON, Ohio, Aug. 9—At least 11 families lost their homes today as three major fires spread uncontrolled while striking Dayton firefighters watched from their picket lines.

A judge has ordered the more than 370 firemen to end their two‐day strike, but the union was delaying a response.

Meanwhile the firemen, who want higher wages and a shorter workweek, have said they will respond only in life or death situations in this city of 241,000.

No injuries have been reported from the fires.

Firemen from a nearby town chopped a hole in Bob Jackson's burning frame house, then told him to put the blaze out himself because the strikers had threatened them.

He could not and he lost his home.

An unattended fire destroyed a four apartment complex with an attached business, causing $40,000 damage. Mary Mader, 60 years old, lost her home when fire spread to it from an abandoned apartment building.

Mr. Jackson and Mrs. Mader and at least nine other persons lost their homes when they were caught by the spread of major blazes on Brown Street, in the Gettysburg Avenue area, and near Midway Street.

The 16 fire supervisors were on duty, but they could only try to coordinate with outside departments.

When they received telephone calls, they would go to the fires and make sure nobody was in danger, but would not fight them.

Timothy Harker, president of Firefighters Local 136, acknowledged receiving restraining order to end the strike, issued yesterday by Judge William H. Wolff Jr. of Common Pleas Court.

But Mr. Harker said he would not order firefighters back to work until a meeting of the full membership.

That he said, could take at least two or three days.

City Manager James Alloway directed the spread of the stubborn fire, which rekindled several times.

DAYTON, Ohio, Aug. 10—After two days of standing by while homes or apartments burned, Dayton firefighters reached an agreement with city officials on a new contract late this afternoon, ended their strike and jumped on their engines to answer another fire call.

Although the call turned out to be a false alarm, the sound of fire engines roaring through this city of 240,000 in southwestern Ohio could not have come too soon.

The fires that damaged or destroyed dozens of homes in Dayton had begun to enrage the city's residents.

They had never been confronted before by a strike by uniformed public service employees, and they were growing increasingly angry with the city and its firemen since the strike began Monday at 7 A.M.

City officials announced the agreement just before 6 P.M. the time at which Judge William it P.M., Jr. of Common Pleas Court was to start hearing arguments from the city on a motion for a contempt of court order against the 362 firefighters who failed to return to work yesterday.

The issue was moot by 6 P.M., however, for by that time the firemen were back on their jobs.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Firemen battled flames and swarms of angry honey bees at Davenport's beehive workshop in Springfield, Ohio, in June 1891.

The San Francisco Call published an account of the strange incident its it July 13, 1891 edition, first reported by The New York World:

Springfield (Ohio), June 27 - A dozen Springfield  firemen are covered with soda poultices and slices of fresh onions as a result of fighting a queer combination of bees and blazes late the other night during the fire at Davenport's beehive workshop.

As soon as it was seen that the workshop would be burned to the ground, Davenport  called to the firemen that sixteen hives of valuable honey-bees near the shop would be burned. Firemen, neighbors and the proprietor at one began moving the hives to a place of safety.

Soon the firemen commenced to feel sharp stings on their hands and faces. At first they attributed it to the sparks which were flying thick through the smoky air. Presently, however, they were aware that they had disturbed the midsummer dreams of sixteen hives of furious bees. The bees meant business, and plied their stings without mercy. The firemen were forced to fight the flames and bees both together, and by the time the fire was out they were beside themselves with pain.

The faces of the men were literally covered with lumps where they were stung. There was amusing stampede of the big crowd watching the fire when some one yelled: "The bees are loose!" - Springfield (Ohio) Special to N.Y. World 

Friday, January 06, 2017


Congratulations to a Lt. David Aills, a friend of the Springfield Fire Journal.  

Monday, January 02, 2017


NOTEFunding for Fire Station No. 5 was restored after voters approved an income tax increase in a special election in May. The station reopened July 1 with a combination company - Engine 5/Medic 5.

Fire Station No. 5, which covered Springfield's west-side, closed Jan. 1, 2017 after the defeat of a ballot initiative to raise the city's income tax.

Firefighters assigned to the station were transferred to one of the city's six remaining stations.

Prior to the closure,  Springfield operated four combination fire/medic companies, three fire companies and three medic units. 
The current minimum  staffing for the Fire Rescue Division is 127.

There have been other closures through the years.

Springfield shuttered Fire Station No. 2 on Wittenberg Avenue during the Great Depression in 1932.

Station No. 9 on Johnny Lytle Avenue closed in 1975.

Old Station No. 9 was converted into a police sub-station, which was also slated for closing in the budget cutting.

Fire Station 5 opened 1981, replacing a firehouse at 1125 West Main Street.


On Dec. 17, the News-Sun reported:

The fire division plans to decrease its overtime by about $60,000 next year, Springfield Fire/Rescue Division Chief Nick Heimlich said.

He plans to lower the number of firefighters working each shift from 28 to 25.

The calls made in the area of Fire Station No. 5 will covered by the closest available unit as it always has been, Heimlich said.

“It’s the way our system has always operated and will continue to operate that day,” Heimlich said. “It’s not something that we had to invent.”

Fire Station No. 5 on Commerce Road was chosen because it had the lowest call volume in the city, he said. However, it’s unclear how many calls that station took for other units throughout the city.

“That’s the one we’re going to be watching because that’s the one that’s harder to predict,” he said.

The fire division is expected to spend about $90,000 in overtime from the general fund next year, he said. It has been planning for this situation since this summer, Heimlich said.

“It’s a good thing we did so now we’re ready,” he said. “We have a purposeful structure built to address the responses we’re going to be needed to make.”

Thursday, November 10, 2016

LIMA - 1929

The Lima News - Jan. 7,1929

Valuable Records Destroyed When Floors of Building Fall; Others Saved by Volunteers; Outside Help Responds
Two Lima firemen were killed and the Allen County courthouse damaged to the extent of more than $100,000 in a fire that started at 10 a. m. Monday and appeared to be of little consequence until part of the roof collapsed, carrying two men to death. At 1:15 p.m. it was announced the fire was under control.
The dead:
John Wolfe, 45, captain of No. 5 department.
John Fisher, 29, hoseman at No. 1 station.
The injured:
Hod Murray, Bluffton. Severe bruises about legs and body. Condition not serious.
Wolfe and Fisher were working under the dome of the courthouse when the roof collapsed, carrying them to the floor below and burying them under tons of debris. Four other firemen, including Chief Mack and Frank Kinzer had been working on the same floor until a few moments before the crash. Two firemen left on other duty and Chief Mack departed to make a round of inspection. Kizer just reached the door as the roof fell.
Murray was injured when he feared being overcome by smoke and slid down a rope from the third floor of the recorder's office. He landed so hard that he suffered injuries requiring treatment at City hospital where it was said his condition is not serious.
When the fire was first discovered it w as not regarded as serious and it was not until a half hour after the first alarm that the flames took on a serious aspect. Chief Mack turned in a second alarm as a precautionary measure. The fire started on the third floor in the room of the court of appeals. Its origin has not been determined.
Firemen John Wolfe and John Fisher, who lost their lives, both supported families. Wolfe was married and had children. Fisher was the support of his mother and other relatives. It is customary that communities show their appreciation of the heroic services of such men when they die in line of duty. The Lima News feels that such appreciation should be shown in this connection and believes a fund should be raised. To start it, The News subscribes $50. Subscriptions will be received by The News and divided equally between the widow and mother of the two dead men. Fuller details will be printed Tuesday.
Mrs. Wolfe, wife of one of the men who was carried to death with the collapse of the roof, learned of the tragedy at her house and hurried to the fire where she pleaded with the firemen to do something to bring out her husband. She was hysterical from grief.
As Chief Mach was making his definite statement that two of his firemen, John Wolfe and John Fisher, had lost their lives in the fire, the faithful old courthouse clock which has given the times to Lima for many, many years, its face shrouded in smoke from the burning ruins of the county's capitol, boomed out the hour of twelve, as tho sounding the requiem for the brave firemen who had given their lives.
The fire was discovered by Lewis F. Bitters and Don Slechter, who were passing the courthouse and discovered smoke issuing from the top floor. They went to the office of the surveyor and the fire department was called.


Photo: WDTN
Neighbors raised a ladder to help two people escape a house fire on East Northern Avenue in Springfield on Feb. 28, 2016. They were "
we’re very fortunate under the circumstances," Battalion Chief Pat Casey told WDTN television. Resident Michael Bertram said: “If it wasn’t for the neighbors over here, we would have been dead.” 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Photo: New Carlisle Sun9 Lives: On July 25, 2008, firefighters resuscitated a cat rescued from a house fire in New Carlisle, Ohio, according to the New Carlisle Sun.

Springfield firefighter and canine, 2002

Saturday, August 20, 2016


Springfield, Ohio

  • Maddox Fisher Mill fire - Dec. 5, 1834
  • Linn and Murry fire (N.E. Corner Main and Limestone) - Feb. 21, 1840. Flames consumed entire business block from Maddox Fisher's block on Main Street to alley west of Limestone Street. Pioneer newspaper office destroyed. Fire originated in livery stable. [Beers' 1881 History of Clark County, Sketches of Springfield, 1852]
  • Muzzie and Frankenberg Mill fire (Mill Run and Buck Creek) - Feb. 2, 1857
  • Firefighter John Dawson died in line of duty - Feb. 24, 1857. Killed by falling portico at house fire. [East High Street] [Roberds]
  • Barnett Flour Mill fire (Buck Creek and N. Limestone) - Feb. 2, 1863
  • Rat Row fire (S.E. Market St) - 1868
  • Ferrell Ludley Rodgers fire (E. Side S. Limestone and Union) - 1873
  • Firefighter John  Powell  died in line of duty - June 25, 1873. Powell fell to his death while advancing hose line to belfry at First Lutheran Church fire (Wittenberg Ave. and High St.). [Roberds]


Springfield, Ohio
  • Fire Captain Oscar Keys (or Keyes) died in line of duty - June 28, 1886. Was recovering from injuries sustained at fire at J Funk Keys Grocery (South side of Main Street at Fisher) on May 29, 1886. Fell down elevator shaft from third floor and suffered compound fracture of right leg below knee. Was captain of hook and ladder wagon. [Springfield Globe Republican]
  • Ohio Southern Roundhouse Fire - Jan. 8, 1887
  • Lumber yard fire (Main and Western) - Aug. 30, 1887. 3-story brick shop, 2-story frame dwelling also damaged. $10,000 damage, 4,000 ft hose used. [Roberds]
  • James Leffel Co. fire (Lagonda Ave.) - Oct. 11, 1887. Steamer, 2,800 ft hose used. [Roberds]