To all past and present fire fighters and EMS personnel, we THANK YOU for serving our community. Your dedication and support was and is gratefully appreciated! Without you, there would not be a Palmyra Fire Department.
The following history has been taken from Palmyra Township Board of Trustee and Fire Department minutes as well as retired fire personnel.
Before the actual Fire Department building was erected, Palmyra housed their truck at the garage beside the Palmyra School.
The following men were the first Palmyra firemen: I. Brumbaugh, Claude Brogan, Leonard Cannon, Jack Chilson, Willard Church, Ira Cowell, William H. Cowell, James W. Derry, Paul DeVore, Robert Evans, Charles E. Fisher, Robert Fitzsimmons, Elmer Henceroth, J. Albert Hill, Norris Hughes, Arthur William Hunsicker, Robert Kehres, Ed P. Kruse, Sidney Matthews, Richard McKenzie, Terry McKenzie, Edward Morrison, Darst Pritchard, Lee Ronald, Julius Rose, Hubert Spencer, Claude Thomas, Elbert Tomlinson, Henry Westover, and Sidney Williams.
Wallace McKenzie was not an official member, but contributed a great deal.
We hope all original firemen are listed, but if not, please let us know. Thank you.
All original firemen were trained by Sol Trainer through the Sebring Fire Department. Mr. Trainer set rules and regulations which the firemen were expected to follow. Some firemen stated they wouldn’t have joined had they known they couldn’t do certain things that Mr. Trainer forbid during the training meetings; such as smoking. After the training, some firemen did leave the department.
August 3, 1953 Palmyra Township Trustees discussed purchasing fire fighting equipment for the township. Trustees felt it necessary to levy an additional tax of two mills on each $1.00 of valuation for the purpose of purchasing fire fighting equipment. Trustees are V. S. Hawn, Corley Fox and J.P. Cessna.
August 17, 1953 Trustees held a special meeting to name a fire chief. They voted unanimously to name Hubert Spencer as first Fire Chief. Trustees elected to have an additional two mills over and above the 10 mill levy to provide fire equipment for the township.
January 4, 1954 Trustees appropriated from the general fund, $2500 for the purchase of equipment and $100 for other expenses of fire protection. The John J. O’Doherty Fire Equipment Company was represented by Mr. Bernard M. O’Doherty, to sell the Trustees a used fire truck for $995. The truck was a tanker style 1941 GMC chassis with a 500 GPM front mounted pump, with a booster tank that has a 1150 gallon capacity, pump fittings are 21/2”, 4-12’ ladders, flasher lights, siren, spotlight, and two sections of suction hose. Mr. V. S. Hawn moved that the trustees purchase the truck. Corley Fox seconded the motion and vote was all in favor by V. S. Hawn, Corley Fox and J.P. Cessna.
February 18, 1954 It was decided to erect a building of cement block 40’ x 60’ with a space of 20’ x 30’ to be used for a township garage to store township owned road equipment. Corley Fox moved that the fire department building committee get figures for the cost of material for the building with three overhead doors, necessary windows and an oil furnace. All labor and construction will be donated by the fire department personnel.
May 3, 1954 Trustees agreed to pay the fire department $25 per month for services rendered to the township, provided the members show 75% attendance at meetings and fires. This compensation will begin April 1, 1954. Trustees agreed to purchase two Indian Fire Pumps from Warren Fire Equipment at a cost of about $80.
May 19, 1954 Trustees will receive sealed bids for a fire siren and controls. The siren is to be equipped with a 71/2 horse power 220 volt three phase motor. One remote control, one general alarm control, three start and stop buttons and one 75 amp master switch.
June 7, 1954 Paid M.H. Koppes Clay Products $ 139.36 for cement block work for the fire station. Bids were opened for the fire siren. Lowest bid was from and went to John J. O’Deherty for $583.00 less 2%.
July 2, 1954 Trustees agreed that $.20 per thousand valuations be used to set up a Fireman’s Indemnity Fund.
July 16, 1954 Trustees rejected all bids for building material for fire station and garage due to changing design of roof from a flat built up roof to a gable type roof.
August 16, 1954 Opened bids and accepted lowest bid from Ravenna Lumber Coal and Supply Company of $ 2512.84 less 2% for cash discount for material for fire station.
September 6, 1954 Paid John J. O’Doherty $571.34 for fire siren. Paid Pfile Builders Supplies for 4500 brick at a total cost of $183.
October 4, 1954 Paid M. H. Koppes Clay Products $111.49 for cement block.
December 6, 1954 Trustees received only one bid for an oil furnace. They opened and accepted bid of Verne Locke for $950 for a Luxaire furnace with a 224000 BTU output.
December 27, 1954 Paid the following firemen $9.00 each for their volunteer fireman service: Charles Fisher, Hubert Spencer, Edward Morrison, Sidney Williams, Norris Hughes, William H. Cowell, Leonard Cannon, Robert Kehres, William Hunsicker, Paul Challstrom, J. Albert Hill, Elbert C. Tomlinson, Sidney Matthews, Julius H. Rose, Ed P. Kruse, Jack Chilson, Ira Cowell, Darst Pritchard, Lee Ronald, Robert Fitzsimmons, Henry Westover, Willard Church, Claude Thomas, Elmer Henceroth, and Paul DeVore.
March 7, 1955 Paid Stamm Contracting Company $130.20 for 8 ½ yards of concrete for floor
May 2, 1955 Paid Charles Horning $88.50 for 6 yards concrete for fire dept. floor.
August 1, 1955 Paid V.S. Hawn $2.42 for bolts and padlock for the fire department
Paid Warren Fire Equipment $200.00 for Scott Airpack
Paid P.C. Shafer $489.25 for 4,750 gallons of oil
Paid Craig Beach Fie Department $250 for fire protection to April 1, 1955
September 14, 1955 Trustees accepted and agreed to the following bids:
Bernard M. O’Doherty for Unit B and C $8189.95 and the bid of Libis Garage Inc. of Atwater for $4290 for Unit A
December 5, 1955 Paid $200 from the General Fund to pay the following fire fighters $12 each for the year 1955 services: Charles Fisher, Hubert Spencer, Edward Morrison, Sidney Williams, Norris Hughes, William H. Cowell, Leonard Cannon, Robert Kehres, William Hunsicker, Paul Challstrom, J. Albert Hill, Joe McLay, Elbert C. Tomlinson, Sidney Matthews, Julius H. Rose, Ed P. Kruse, Jack Chilson, Ira Cowell, Charles Jones, James Hughes, William Hunter, Robert Fitzsimmons, Claude Thomas, Elmer Henceroth, and Henry Westover.
January 2, 1956 Trustees appropriated from the Fire Department Building and Equipment Fund for the purpose of building and purchase of equipment $9000. Plans at this time are to borrow $6000 from the Second National Bank in Ravenna, Ohio to pay for one new fire truck to be delivered on January 21, 1056. This note is to be paid by the two mill levy fund which the county auditor estimates to be $4703 in 1956, leaving a balance of about $1300 to be paid on said note from this fund in the year 1957. Agreed to pay each fireman $12 per year salary of wages up to 25 firemen OR $300 per year total for the fire department.
January 21, 1956 Fire truck was delivered by Howe Fire Apparatus Company of Anderson, Indiana as described in bid for Unit B & C on September 14, 1955. Truck was purchased for $8189.55.
January 28, 1956 Trustees met to accept and pay for the delivery of the truck chassis of the new fire engine from Mr. Libis of Libis Garage in Atwater, Ohio. Mr. Libis was paid $4290 the contract price
less $50 freight or $4240 for this International truck chassis.
October 1, 1956 Received the resignation of Hubert Spencer as fire chief in a letter dated September 29, 1956. Corley Fox moved to appoint William Hunsicker as acting chief until the vacancy is filled. All three trustees agreed.
December 3, 1956 Paid the following firemen $15 each for services in 1956: Charles Fisher, Sidney Williams, Norris Hughes, William H. Cowell, Leonard Cannon, Robert Kehres, William Hunsicker, J. Albert Hill, Joe McLay, Julius H. Rose, Ed P. Kruse, Robert Fitzsimmons, Claude Thomas, Elmer Henceroth, Charles Steele, Robert Williams, Benson Miles, Lloyd Main, and Henry Westover.
Paid $121.53 to Brett Sheet Metal for spouting at fire station.
March 22, 1957 Trustees agreed to assign house numbers for the township as presented by the County at a cost to Palmyra $150 when project is competed.
June 3, 1957 Trustees approved to purchase a portable light plant from Warren Fire Equipment for $425 less 10% discount.
December 2, 1957 Paid 28 firemen $10.35 each for the year’s service.
J.O. Westover and Frank W. North were voted to the Fire Department Indemnity Board as the two trustees with George Walter and Roy Hill as the two firemen elected to the same board. Dale Mizer was elected 5th member and Secretary.
March 3, 1958 Howe Fire Apparatus Company was paid $15.60 for a valve for the fire truck. Agreed to hire Verne Locke to install pipe and registers connected to the furnace for heating the new restrooms at the fire station at an estimated cost of $126.00.
June 1, 1959 Trustees decided to accept bids for a Willy’s Jeep to fight small fires.
July 1, 1959 Accepted bid for 1959 Willy’s Jeep from Downtown Motor Sales Inc. of 700 Niles Rd. SE, Warren, Ohio for $2372 with delivery being in about 10 days.
December 7, 1959 Paid 25 firemen $12 each for 1959 service. Warren Fire Equipment was paid $410 for 200’ of 2 ½” fire hose.
December 5, 1960 Ray Corbett motioned that fire chief be paid $15 per month for services beginning January 1, 1961 and to be paid every 3 months at $45. Trustees approved this motion.
December 2, 1961 Paid Warren Fire Equipment $488.99 for two lengths of suction hose: 10’ of 4 ½” (cost around $300) and 100’ of 2 ½” discharge hose at approximate cost of $215.
August 2, 1962 Accepted lowest bid to purchase from Sutphen Fire Equipment for Unit B $5995 less $1000 for trade-in. Purchase will be a 1962 International 1800.
November 4, 1963 Chief William Hunsicker was given permission to install radios into fire trucks at the fire departments expense. F. D. is also responsible for maintenance of radios and any other expense connected with radios.
January 4, 1965 Trustees inventory of fire department listed same trucks and equipment as 1964, but added: 1956 International 500 gallon truck with front mounted pump, hose reels and other equipment to fight fires.
Trustees paid Warren Fire Equipment $160.03 for 6 bunker coats.
May 5, 1965 Purchased brass valve $32.85 from Warren Fire Equipment
April 4, 1966 It was moved and approved by the trustees to purchase an aluminum ladder and canvas tarp.
June 6, 1966 Wickliffe Tarpaulin was paid $53.75 for tarp for fire department.
June 5, 1967 Warren Fire Equipment was paid $67 for aluminum ladder.
February 3, 1969 Warren Fire Equipment was paid $40.90 for fireman’s boots.
May 19, 1969 Warren Fire Equipment was paid $359.60 for Scott Air-pac with tank and spare tank.
September 15, 1969 Trustees heard Mr. Byers from the United Telephone Co. explain a fire alarm system. There would be 10 phones to the system with any one of them able to activate the fire alarm system.
October 6, 1969 Trustees and prosecutor signed the contract with United Telephone Co. for the Fire Reporting System at $26/month for 10 phones.
January 5, 1970 Fire Chief salary is same at $15/month and firemen will divide equally a salary of $300/year.
January 19, 1970 Warren Fire Equipment was paid $160.50 for 100’ 1 ½’ hose.
May 5, 1970 Warren Fire Equipment was paid $23.45 for 1 pair of fireman’s boots.
August 3, 1970 Monty Boyer represented the fire department and asked that the Trustees consider purchasing a new fire truck. The old truck is about 15 years old. The fire department wants to replace the two way radios with new ones. Trustees are considering a cistern for water supply and new bay to be added to the fire department building. Trustees will consider these improvements and will decide later as to what they want to do first.
August 3, 1970 The fire phones that were approved in October 1969 are to be installed by August 7, 1970.
January 4, 1971 Fire Chief salary is same at $15/month and firemen will divide equally a salary of $300/year. Trustees’ inventory of fire department listed same trucks and equipment as last year. $3,000.00 was appropriated for fire protection purpose for this year.
February 15, 1971 The trustees paid Warren Fire Equipment $5.40 for 18# CO2 recharge.
April 5, 1971 Trustees paid Kamara Electronics $647 for one two-way radio and also paid an additional $60 for the installation of one radio.
June 7, 1971 Warren Fire Equipment was paid $27.10 for 1 pair of fireman’s boots.
June 21, 1971 It was agreed to pay Ohio Edison $5.25/month for electric service to operate the fire siren until other arrangements can be made because the Palmyra Schooling building will be with the new Southeast School Board now.
February 22, 1999 Ravenna FireCom will begin dispatching for Palmyra Township on July 1, 1999 at an annual cost of $5000.
April 26, 1999 Trustees awarded new addition of Hollis Construction for $124,000.
July 16, 1999 Ground breaking for new addition on Fire Station.
March 7, 2002 Fire Chief Randy Bennett asked the trustees to consider hiring part-time paid EMS personnel. Current trustees are Michael Fannin, Henry Michael, and James Deffenbaugh.
September 16, 2002 The first day we had part-time EMS personnel to cover the station from 6a.m. to 6 p.m. daily Monday through Friday.
April 5, 2003 Trustees Henry Michael, James Deffenbaugh and fire chief Randy Bennett drove to Kansas to pick up a used 1998 International Heavy Rescue Unit with 16’ walk-in body. It will be paid by a grant that Chief Randy Bennett was awarded from FEMA. The town ship is responsible for 10% of the approximate $100,000 grant.
April 7, 2003 The 1998 International Heavy Rescue Unit with 16’ walk-in body arrived from Kansas. The truck needs to be lettered (Palmyra name on door and unit # 2016), radio has been purchased and installed, etc.
May 6, 2003 Trustees agreed to purchase a Motorola MCS-2000 radio with antenna and installation from B&C Communications in Akron for the 1998 International Rescue Unit #2016.
June 9, 2003 B&C Communications Installed Motorola radio in 1998 Rescue Unit.
I wish you could know what it is like to search a burning
bedroom for trapped children at 3 AM, flames rolling above your head,
your palms and knees burning as you crawl,
the floor sagging under your weight as the kitchen below you burns.
I wish you could comprehend a wife’s horror at 6 in the morning as I check
her husband of 40 years for a pulse and find none. I start CPR anyway,
hoping to bring him back, knowing intuitively it is too late.
But wanting his wife and family to know everything possible was done
to try to save his life.
I wish you knew the unique smell of burning insulation,
the taste of soot-filled mucus,
the feeling of intense heat through your turnout gear,
the sound of flames crackling, the eeriness of being able to see
absolutely nothing in dense smoke-sensations that I’ve become too familiar
I wish you could read my mind as I respond to a building fire “Is this
false alarm or a working fire? How is the building constructed?
What hazards await me? Is anyone trapped?”
Or to call, “What is wrong with the patient?
Is it minor or life-threatening? Is the caller really in distress
or is he waiting for us with a 2×4 or a gun?”
I wish you could be in the emergency room as a doctor pronounces dead
the beautiful five-year old girl that I have been trying to save during
the past 25 minutes. Who will never go on her first date or say
the words, “I love you Mommy” again.
I wish you could know the frustration I feel in the cab of the engine,
squad, or my personal vehicle, the driver with his foot
pressing down hard on the pedal, my arm tugging again and again at the air horn
chain, as you fail to yield the right-of-way at an intersection or in
traffic. When you need us however, your first comment upon our arrival will be,
“It took you forever to get here!”
I wish you could know my thoughts as I help extricate a girl of
teenage years from the remains of her automobile. “What if this was my
daughter, sister, my girlfriend or a friend? What were her parents
reaction going to be when they opened the door to find a police officer with hat
I wish you could know how it feels to walk in the back door and
greet my parents and family, not having the heart to tell them that I
nearly did not come back from the last call.
I wish you could know how it feels dispatching officers, firefighters and EMT’s
out and when we call for them and our heart drops because no one answers back
or to here a bone chilling 911 call of a child or wife needing assistance.
I wish you could feel the hurt as people verbally,
and sometimes physically, abuse us or belittle what I do,
or as they express their attitudes of It will never happen to me.
I wish you could realize the physical, emotional and mental drain or missed meals, lost sleep and forgone social activities,
in addition to all the tragedy my eyes have seen.
I wish you could know the brotherhood and self-satisfaction of helping save a life or
preserving someone’s property, or being able to be there in time of crisis, or
creating order from total chaos.
I wish you could understand what it feels like to
have a little boy tugging at your arm and asking, “Is Mommy okay?”
Not even being able to look in his eyes without tears from your own and
not knowing what to say. Or to have to hold back a long time friend who
watches his buddy having CPR done on him as they take him away in the Medic
Unit. You know all along he did not have his seat belt on. A sensation
that I have become too familiar with.
Unless you have lived with this kind of life, you will never
truly understand or appreciate who I am, we are, or what our job
really means to us…
I wish you could though.