On February 2, 1837, the Cuyahoga Falls Hook & Ladder company was formed by the village council. It was made up of eight men, all volunteers, who organized bucket brigades to put out fires. The ordinance was ‘officially’ passed on June 3, 1837.
The first fire warden was appointed in 1839. The men who served as fire wardens were: Elisha Sill, A.G. Bill, William Rattle, Joseph Holloway, Ezra Comstock, George Dow, J. Holloway, H.C. Smith, H.A. Miller, Enoch Morgan, Jacob Gilbert, Henry Scott.
According to the early constitution, fines were handed out to volunteers who did not report to the Hooks and Ladders at the time of a fire. The fines were to be a a “sum not less than twenty five cents, nor more than two dollars.”
Members of the company were required to be present at all meetings, too, subject to the fine of fifty cents to two dollars if absent.
At the June 30, 1938 meeting, the members voted that the uniform of this company consist of a “hat, frock, and belt” and further voted that the two foremen and marshals be a committee to “select and procure uniforms for this company.”
Being a member of the Hook and Ladder Company for five years offered several privileges. The fireman would receive a certificate from the state “exempting him from Road Tax or serving as jurors or doing military duty during the balance of their life while in the State of Ohio.”
Fines and penalties for absence got stiffer as time went by. In June of 1840 the members voted that all those who “do not appear at the next slated meeting, equipped, shall be expelled from the company and returned to the militia, unless they can render a good and sufficient excuse.”
The faded log, from which we gathered these records, abruptly closes with a record of the June 6, 1846 annual meeting at which officers for the following year were elected. Thus ends the official record of the first Falls fire company which had to battle devastating fires equipped with only an iron horse drawn hook and ladder truck.
From 1839 to 1888, fire protection in Cuyahoga Falls was under the jurisdiction of Fire Wardens. Beginning with E.N. Sill, in 1839, the village was served by A.G. Bill, Wm. Rattle, Joseph Holloway, Ezra Comstock, George Dow, J.Holloway, H.C. Smith, H.A. Miller, Enock Morgan, Jacob Gilbert and Henry Scott.
In 1885-6 Cuyahoga is listed in The Spectator Insurance Yearbook as having a population of 3,000 people and owning two hose carriages, one hook and ladder truck, 1,000 feet of rubber hose, a water supply, pumps, 15 hydrants and 20 hook and ladder members.
In 1888 the Cuyahoga Falls Fire Department was authorized by Town Council but it was still all volunteer. In 1927 the Fire Chiefs were paid but the rest of the team was strictly volunteer until 1932 the entire Department became fully paid.
1888-1889 – Thomas Carney
1889-1902 – William Clarkson
1902-1905- Irvin Loomis
1905-1910- Russell Post
1910-1912- Irvin Loomis
1912-1915- Frank Bethel
1915-1938- M. Harrington, Sr.
1938-1959- Louis Seiler
1959-1975- M. Harrington, Jr.
1975-1981- Elmer Brown
1981-1991- Wayne Bowen
1991-1998- Robert Leonard
1998-2008- Mark Snyder
2008- – Paul Moledor
Another post on the Falls Hook & Ladder www.cuyahogafallshistory.com/2013/08/cuyahoga-falls-fire-department/