Fort Loramie News
Fort Loramie Area Chamber of Commerce
Community Fire Co.
Fort Loramie Community Fire Co., Inc. 220 North Main Street, P.O. Box 111 Fort Loramie, OH 45845 937-295-2004
Fire Chief – Brad Schulze
History of the Fort Loramie Community Fire Co.
The Fort Loramie Community Fire Company, Inc. was formed in the year 1883. Father William Bigot, Pastor of St. Michael’s Catholic Church was instrumental in the purchase of a hand-operated pump in 1883, just after the newly built Raterman Sawmill burned to the ground. Fr. Bigot was a French Army Chaplain during the French-Prussian War. Both sides decorated Fr. Bigot.
Speaking of early steps in the direction of fire protection, an item in one of the scrapbooks, dated 1884, reads, “Fire Engine has just arrived and will be one of the main attractions at the Fourth of July Picnic.” Another notation, later that same year, “Berlin has organized a Fire Company to take charge of the new Fort Loramie Engine recently purchased.” The following officers were elected: Henry Menker Sr., President; Valentine Gaier, Vice President; John J. Williams, Treasurer; Stephen Kerner, Fire Chief; Albert Hasebrook, Assistant Chief; Henry J. Rottinghaus, Secretary; Christ Kirsch, Hose Reel Captain; Jacob Ullerman, Assistant Hose Reel Captain; Jacob Ullerman, Assistant Hose Reel Captain; Henry Menker Jr., Charles Wider, Nozzlemen; Tony Kummell, John Henke, Guides; Henry Borchers and John Flynn in Charge of Hose.
A Howe gasoline pump followed the Hamilton Hand Pumper in 1910. Both of these pumps were mounted on horse-drawn wagons, but the department did not own any horses. It seems there were always horses available at a nearby establishment. Danzig Funeral Home horses were kept stabled in an area behind the present Brucken’s Cafe.
In 1928, the first motorized Pumper was purchased. It was a Dodge truck, with the fire apparatus built by the Howe Fire Apparatus Company of Anderson, Indiana. The truck was an open top cab with a 500-gallon booster tank and a 300-gallon-per-minute piston pump.
The second truck was a 1938 V-8 Ford truck with the apparatus built by Howe Fire Apparatus Co. It was fitted with a 300-gallon-per-minute rotary pump.
In 1950 the department voted to purchase a new fire truck. It was another Ford Chassis, with a Howe-built fire apparatus. The membership decided on a midship mounted 500-gallon-per-minute rotary pump.
On February 4, 1954, a committee was appointed to look into purchasing a Tanker; this is a truck that would haul water to fires. On March 1, 1954, a Ford Chassis was purchased with Howe building the tanker. The Truck had a 1200-gallon booster tank.
On October 4, 1962, the members of the department voted to purchase a 1963 Ford C Series chassis with a Howe-built 750 gallon-per-minute Engine and an 800-gallon booster tank.
In the fall of 1965 the booster tank in the 1954 tanker began to leak. Members voted on November 30, 1965, to purchase a new tanker rather than to repair the old one. The department purchased a Ford C-Series chassis outfitted with a Howe-built apparatus, containing a 1500-gallon booster tank. In 1985 the members added a six-inch quick dump to the rear of the truck.
In 1968 a committee was formed to look into either building or purchasing a grass rig. After several months of discussion and looking over other grass trucks, the members decided to build their own. It was decided to go house-to-house to pay for the new truck. A 1969 G.M.C. three-quarter ton pickup was purchased; a 250-gallon booster tank was added along with a portable pump. As time went along several other pieces of fire equipment were added to this truck. After several years the portable pump was replaced with a 300-gallon-per-minute power take off pump.
A 1981 Chevrolet three-quarter ton pickup replaced the 1969 G.M.C., as this truck was extensively damaged in an accident while responding to an arson fire. The members voted to replace the truck rather than to have the 1969 truck repaired. Members again decided to build their own truck. This truck has many of the same features as the 1969 pickup, with the addition of many new items. Installation of two (2) mounted 500 watt quartz lights with a 1200-watt inverter, 210 feet of 1-½? preconnected hose, three (3) inch inlet plumbing, two (2) 2-½? outlets, and a rear-mounted pump panel, are just a few of this truck’s additions. In February 1991 the booster tank on this unit was found to be in extremely poor condition. An exact duplicate built by the members in March of 1991 replaced the tank.
In 1976, another C-Series Ford chassis was purchased, with the Howe Fire Apparatus Company building the apparatus. This Engine replaced the 1950 Engine. It has a Waterous 1000-gallon-per-minute pump, with top-mounted controls, carrying 800 gallons of water. This Engine was put into service in 1978.
In April of 1988, our department was proud to accept the delivery of Engine 361. Built by Pierce Manufacturing, it is a tandem axle Arrow Chassis with a 1250-gallon-per-minute Waterous midship pump, also carrying a 2500-gallon water-booster tank. The classified Engine-Tanker also has a six-inch rear jet dump. This truck replaced our 1963 Engine. Late in the fall of 2006 the tank in this unit began to leak, and in 2007 the steel tank was replaced with a Poly tank holding 2400 gallons of water.
In 1996, a new Tanker 364 was put in service. Smeal Fire Apparatus delivered a FL-80 Freightliner chassis with a custom built tanker apparatus. This unit is fitted with an 1800 gallon, poly-booster tank, extra compartmentation, and a 300-gallon-per-minute Wajax semi-portable pump, along with a 2100-gallon drop tank.
In early 1995, our department took ownership of a 1987 Chevrolet Union City Body P-60 step van. This vehicle previously was used as a Snap-on Tools sales van. Many hours and numerous ideas were used in the renovation of this van into an Equipment Truck. In May of 1996, 367 was officially put into service.
On October 3, 1999, the first day of Fire Prevention Week, the members of our department took part in Ground Breaking Ceremonies for a new Fire Station, located on North Main Street. This project had been in the making since the initial purchase of land in 1988. The move into the new Fire Station came on July 2, 2000, with the Dedication held on October 8, 2000.
In July 2002 the Department accepted delivery of New Engine 362. This Engine replaced the 1978 Ford/Grumman. The new Engine is a Spartan Metro Star Chassis with Smeal Built apparatus. The engine has a 1500-gallon-per-minute pump and carries 1000 gallons of water.
In 2004 and 2005 the Department received the Department of Homeland Security Federal Grant for Firefighters. With the two grants the Department was able to upgrade and purchase self contained breathing apparatus, extra bottles, air compressor for filling of air bottles, thermal imaging camera, 25 sets of turnout gear, upgrade of recently purchased gear to meet current standards, a stand-by generator for the building, portable radios, rescue equipment, spreader, cutter, and ram, air bags, Stabilization Kit, and RIT rescue ropes.
In 2006, the Department was lucky enough and was awarded a grant from the "Department of Homeland Security Federal Grant for Firefighters." The money was allocated for purchase of a replacement Tak and Pump for our Grass 366.
A self contained unit with a 250 gallon tank and 300 GPM pump was purchased. A committee was formed to look into getting the new unit installed on the truck. After much work and research, the committee reported that the current 1981 Chevrolet 3/4 ton truck was not capable of holding the extra weight. It was decided to put the skid unit in storage until an appropriate truck could be found.
In the spring of 2007, the members decided to purchase a new truck to replace the 1981 Chevrolet and have the skid unit installed on it. In the summer of 2007, the department purchased a 2008 Ford Super Duty 4WD F-350 with a 4 door cab. The truck was sent out to have the skid unit installed and was put into service in the spring of 2008.
Also in the summer of 2007, our Utility 367 started to have some recurring problems. After some discussion, the department decided to start looking for a replacement for the truck. Since Heavy Rescue units are not high on the Department of Homeland Security Federal Grant list, the department decided not to seek a grant for it, but to purchase a used truck if possible.
The summer of 2007, former Chief Barhorst found a 2000 Heavy Rescue unit for sale at a department in Maryland that was being sold with all of its equipment. Most of which could be used in Fort Loramie.
After a group of members traveled to Ridgedale Heights, Maryland to look over the truck, a 2000 Freightliner Heavy Rescue built by Horton was purchased and returned to Fort Loramie. The truck was painted white so that was going to be fixed. The truck was sent out to be painted red and returned in the winter of 2007. The spring was a very busy time for the truck. All the roll up doors needed work and it was decided to have them replaced. The truck was well maintained but not very clean. The members replaced the roll up doors and many of the items inside the cab and riding area. After a lot of work by the members, the truck went into service late in the spring of 2008. The truck has an onboard 25KW generator, and an onboard 6000 watt light tower. The truck also came with Holmatro Extrication equipment with onboard pumps and preconnected 75' hose reels. The truck is equipped with a 12,000 lb. front bumper mounted winch with 130' of cable. Also, the truck has a command post and re-hab area that is heated and air conditioned if needed.
Fort Loramie Community Fire Company, Inc. covers approximately 90 square miles in Shelby County, including Cynthian, McLean, and Turtle Creek Townships, along with the Village of Fort Loramie. Over 95% of our coverage consists of rural areas. This coverage is contracted to the residents by a balloted fire levy.
In June 1992 a combined Rural Fire District was addressed to all three of the Township Trustees and Village Officials. This venture turned out to be quite a success, with the unanimous support from all involved. After several months of research and hard work, the LORAMIE FIRE DISTRICT became a reality.
Although our equipment has been numerous, our leaders have been few, as there has been only been seven (8) Fire Chiefs. Stephen Kerner was elected the first Chief for the original Berlin Fire Department in 1883. He served as Chief until January 1894, when the elected position was turned over to J. C. Quatman. John Raterman was elected to take charge of the Department in January 1901. August Gaier Sr. then took over the helm of Chief in January 1932, and remained in that position until January 1961, when Vernon “Morrie” Frey took command. Theodore Wendeln was elected Chief in January 1973 when Chief Frey retired. Jerome U. Barhorst was elected Chief in January 1985 after Chief Wendeln’s retirement. Brad Schulze was elected Chief in 2009 and is the current Chief of the Fort Loramie Community Fire Company Inc.
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