Cuyahoga Falls Fire Department

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 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.

Cuyahoga Falls Hook & Ladder Company, Standing in front of the City Hall bef. 1900

Cuyahoga Falls Hook & Ladder Company, Standing in front of the City Hall bef. 1900. The store on the right of the City Hall is a wallpaper and paint store owned by Albert Letz

In 1888 the department was run entirely by volunteers, but was staffed by a chief, Thomas Carney, two captains and twenty call men.

To date, thirteen men have served as fire chief. The first of course, Thomas Carney, followed by William Clarkson, Irvin Loomis, Russell Post, Frank Bethel, Myron Harrington Sr., Louis Seiler, Myron Harrington Jr., Elmer Brown, Wayne Bowen, Robert Leonard, Mark Snyder and currently, Paul Moledore.

1870s Hook & Ladder Medal

1870s Hook & Ladder Medal

In 1909, for about nine months, Cuyahoga Falls was without fire protection due to a feud with City Council causing all volunteers to resign their post. During the fall of 1909 all the volunteers were reinstated. Also that year, Chief Russell Post purchased a horse drawn hose and chemical truck for $1,525. As member of the Hook and Ladder Company for five years made you eligible for a certificate from the state exempting him from Road Tax, serving as a juror or doing military duty while living in the State of Ohio.

Edward Kettleberger, Hoseman

Edward Kettleberger, Hoseman

The Falls never owned a fire engine up until 1891 when the system was improved considerably. Hose and hook & ladder trucks were purchased along with fully paid, organized firefighters.  Hydrants were installed at what were considered convenient points. Several years before there were lines of pipe from the Variety Works and the Pearl Mill which was brought through the main business street upon the west side, driven by pumps attached to the water-wheels of those establishments which with the few hundred feet of hose they possessed afforded partial protection to a limited area. The defect in this partial system was that after the fire was discovered it took valuable time before a stream of water could be had to extinguish fires.

By the 1900’s many changes had taken place. It was realized that the fire department¬† located in the basement of city hall, located on Front & Broad, had outgrown its allotted space. In 1927 it was moved to 1924 Front Street at “Weller Court”, dubbed Fire Station #1. Once relocated, the department the firemen consisted of both paid members and volunteers. By 1932, the fire station was filled with all paid staff.¬† Station #2, at 2121 High Street, was built in 1949 to service the east side of town, which at that time was isolated because of the railroad tracks dividing the city. Station #3, at 1601 Portage Trail, was added in 1959 due to expansion of the city westward after the war. Station #4, at 3089 Northampton Road, was added with the merger of Cuyahoga Falls and Northampton Township in 1986.

1962 Portage Trail - West Side Fire Station #3

1962 Portage Trail – West Side Fire Station #3

Fire Station #1 on Front Street in 2004

Fire Station #1 on Front Street in 2004