Hi trying to keep us from taking our firedepartments for granted. G

Sour Grapes and Saddle Sores

George Hirst

Good Neighbors January 24,2008

The fire that destroyed the JES storage building on Christmas Eve was a larger fire than we have seen in awhile. It brought to mind the work of our Volunteer Fire Department and Fire Chief, Ed Fogelsonger. The skill of these men and the way they use their equipment, as well as the way they keep their equipment up to date, certainly is a good thing for Wyoming. I talked with Fire Chief Ed Fogelsonger and he said " We have good neighbors"

My response to that comment is, the citizens of Stark County also have good neighbors.

There were seven fire departments present at the fire. Chief Fogelsonger said that trucks coming from Sparland said they could see the fire from the hilll by Tanners Orchards on the east side of Route 40. They radioed to Lacon and the tanker truck from there was also sent to help.

To further illustrate the team work that takes place in fighting fires, a water truck from Kraft Fertizler and one from FMC hauled water. Water from the tank in downtown Wyoming and the supply tank at FMC were used to keep the fire controlled and to protect nearby buildings.

"Lots of good neighbors." Fogelsonger said that there is a phone system like 911 among the fire districts that is used to get help. He said assisting in brush fires is a better example of cooperation among the fire departments. He said that equipment is loaned on the "anything you can spare" idea. This so that the district sending equipment does not strip itself of protection. Insurance companies require that a fire truck be available within ten miles. The Wyoming/Speer district has a truck in Speer with several volunteers living close by.

The Wyoming/Speer department of twenty seven men is headed by Chief Fogelsonger and assistant fire chief Barry Pepper. The Wyoming/Speer district is the largest, covering 120 square miles. Stark County fire protection is covered by four districts , Bradford/ Camp Grove,Toulon, Lafayette and Wyoming/Speer.

The firemen in each district are residents in that district and are strictly volunteers. They are people who believe in fire protection and are willing to give up a lot to serve. The JES fire is a good example. Chief Fogelsonger said when he got home Christmas Day, his sons were already up and the presents were still hidden.

A fireman is paid five dolllars for a two hour fire, the money is called "clothing expense." The volunteers may not have time to go to the firehouse to get clothing, so they may ruin clothing fighting the fire.

I asked about recruitment of new people. Fogelsonger said that the system looks for people who are willing to give up time and take risk. They are trained "on the job" .

A Board of Trustees, consisting of Myron Rewerts, John Stabler and Carl Ryan, handle the financial end of the operation. Funding for operation comes from taxes and grants. Trucks and large equipment are paid for from taxes and borrowed money.

Several of the firemen are trained in handling trapped and/or injured persons. The red van that is seen going to fires carries tools to remove persons who are trapped in a wrecked car. A cot is in the van for transporting a patient to the hospital.

My point in all of this is that the people who man each district are our neighbors and/or co-workers who leave their jobs to help fight fires and we should all be grateful for their willingness to serve. In the now 37 years that I have lived in Stark County I have known Berhard Thieben, Jack DeWolfe, Barry Pepper and now Ed Fogelsonger who have served as Fire Chief. I watched them fight two large fires, the old Wyoming hotel and the old lumber yard building. There have been home fires, brush fires and car wrecks that were handled with equal skill.

We have reason to be proud of the fire protection in our County and we should find opportunity to tell these people that we appreciate their work.

Created by KKris. Last Modification: Friday 25 of January, 2008 09:43:23 EST by KKris.