About Wooster Fire Department

Mission

To prepare for, respond to, and mitigate all calls for duty in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

  • This will occur by providing an all-hazards approach to emergency services requested by the citizens, businesses, and visitors to the City of Wooster.
  • To meet this mission, we will aggressively provide; fire suppression, emergency medical services, rescue operations, training activities, emergency and community risk reduction.
Personnel
A-Shift
B-Shift
C-Shift
Ted Elder, Captain  Michael Maag, Captain  Rhodes Walter, Captain
Tom Etter, Lieutenant  Joseph Linz, Lieutenant  Chris Green, Lieutenant
Don Keller, Lieutenant Joe Kiefer, Lieutenant Les Teichmer, Lieutenant
Scott Meshew, Lieutenant  Christopher Hawkins, Lieutenant Greg Thompson, Lieutenant
Ron Balas  Jeff Aukerman Joshua Brownson
Scott Bertsch  Jeff Buzzard Brandon Hewitt
Pat Christie John Eberly Scott Kiper
Aimee Crum    Ed Edgell Nathan Miller
Matt Cudlip Scott Ianarelli David Shaffer
John Cutlip Marc Lindsay Michael Sherrick
Jared Durstine   Kristen Peterman Don Smith
Patrick Kermode    Aaron Spurlock Jonathan Stull
Scott Martin Brad Stull Thomas Tannhof
Michael Springer    Brad Welty Derek Webb

 

*Office Coordinator - Kim Gates

History

Wooster Fire Company No. 1 was organized in 1827 following two years of preparatory effort. This volunteer fire company consisted of two engineers, two axe men, six ladder men and two pike men. Also at this time a reservoir was sunk at the northeast corner of the public square to be used as a water supply for fire suppression. In the years that followed, additional volunteer fire companies were organized and numerous reservoirs and cisterns were placed throughout the town. Until 1868, the different fire apparatus consisted either of hand-drawn or horse-drawn hand pump fire engines, hose reels and ladder trucks.

In 1868 the Deluge Fire Company No. 3 with the assistance of the Town of Wooster, purchased a Silsby fire steamer. In 1896 the Relief Company No. 4 purchased an Allerton fire steamer. These fire steamers, which were horse-drawn, replaced the old hand pump fire engines. The usefulness of the steamers began to decline with the development of the City Water Works in 1876, as did the system of reservoirs and cisterns.

In the early 1870’s, the various independent fire companies formed an association creating the Wooster Fire Department and the position of fire chief to supervise fire suppression activities; the first of all twenty seven fire chiefs was James Curry. Each volunteer fire company still had its own captain in charge of the company.

In 1888, the City of Wooster built its first city hall, located on the north side of the 200 block of East Liberty Street, with a fully equipped fire department located in the rear of the city hall. The first Gamewell fire alarm system was installed at this time. The fire department was then reorganized as a paid department with a paid fire chief, two paid regular firemen and a compliment of volunteer minuteman. The volunteer minutemen, known much later as reserves, were abolished in 1988. The first fire chief of the new paid department was Elmer Funk. The creation of the paid department ended the era of the independent fire companies, their company buildings sold for different uses or razed; the only fire engine company building still standing is Relief Co. No 4’s… most recently occupied by Boyd’s Drug Store, and presently, Tulipan Hungarian Bakery.

Horse drawn fire apparatus responded on calls well into the first two decades of the 20th century. In 1915 a Buick was purchased as the chiefs car and about 1916/17 a motorized Reo fire truck was bought. Horses at the fire department were kept through 1917 but not used that year; the horses were sold in 1918.

The Wooster Fire Department’s activities were primarily fire suppression and prevention up to the late 1920’s. In 1928 Chief Edward F. Snavely reported the purchase of a portable inhalator, a device use to assist victims of breathing difficulty. The fire department did not have an ambulance for victim transport to any of the local hospitals. Inhalator calls were the first run on using the fire chief’s car or one of the fire trucks. Firemen attended to the victim until transport could be made by one of the local funeral home ambulances. The number of emergency medical calls for assistance increased year by year until by the 1950’s, these calls began to equal the number of fire related calls the department responded on. In November of 1959, a bond issue was passed for a new city hall, new main fire station, and a new second fire station to the north of town. Under the direction of Chief Lloyd S. Eberhart, the fire department moved into the new quarters in early 1962. The fire city hall was shortly thereafter razed.

By the 1970’s, only two funeral homes were still providing emergency ambulance service. In 1974, the Ohio State Legislature passed a law which intensified the requirements governing emergency medical service and the funeral homes could not afford to comply. The responsibility for providing emergency medical service fell to the Wooster Fire Department under Chief Edward F. Schuch. Additional personnel were hired, trained in emergency victim care and two ambulances were purchased. Emergency medical service officially began November 1, 1974, and then in 1976 a third ambulance was purchased primarily for transfers from Wooster Community Hospital to out of town medical facilities.

In 1995, Chief M. Victor Haugh began to initiate a paramedic program for the Wooster Division of Fire, and in April of 1997, the City of Wooster approved the proposed training program and purchase of the necessary equipment. Medic training takes 11 months with classroom study and practical work in emergency departments and with other fire departments. By July of 1997, the department became paramedic operational with those personnel who already had their training; by March of 1999, the base level of 18 certified paramedics had been achieved. 

*Above information provided by: Douglas C. Myers, Records Specialist, Retired, Wooster Division of Fire

Under Chief Barry Saley, the Wooster Division of Fire continues its fire prevention, fire suppression, and emergency medical service activities from out of the #1 Station at 510 N. Market Street and the #2 Station at 433 East Highland Avenue.  The majority of emergency calls are requests for emergency medical assistance requiring Basic and/or Advanced Life Support. We are the First Responder for all 911 life safety concerns in the City of Wooster. In 2015, the Division responded to a total of 3936 calls; 3247 were EMS calls.