Chickasaw Fire History


On June 15, 1896, the citizens of Chickasaw met at the corporation building to reorganize the Fire Company. The fire department at this time owned four pieces of equipment. The first piece was a horse or man-powered drawn pumper which was powered with a single cylinder engine. When the pumper was powered by man, it took six to eight men with a teeter-tooter arrangement from the sides of the pump. The second piece of equipment was a two-wheel cart with two 20 or 25 gallon tanks that were filled with water and charged with soda and acid to create a pressure to force the water into the hoses. The hoses were 3/4" in diameter.

The two other pieces of equipment were hose carts. One of these hose carts is on display at the Allen County Museum; Lima, Ohio.

The fire department was located in the Village Hall at the northeast corner of State Routes 274 and 716. The Village Hall at that time had a garage on the rear west side adjacent to the building. Ed Zahn, the local blacksmith fired the potbelly stove everyday during the winter to keep the pumps from freezing.

In 1910 the fire department purchased a 1910, gas-powered Howe Fire Truck. Not much is known about the details around this time period. In the year 1915, it was decided that a re-organization of the department was needed.

In 1928, the Village Council traded the pumper and the chemical cart for a used Reo Speed Wagon fire truck. This truck had solid tires and it's maximum speed was 20 to 25 mph. Upon arrival of the truck, the Village Council decided at once that this truck would not serve the purpose of the community. The Howe Fire Apparatus Company agreed to give the village a full refund for the truck if they agreed to buy a new truck from them within six months. They went to work at once and sold membership subscriptions to the rural property owners and farmers. They agreed to give the rural members protection for the lifetime of the truck at $25.00 per member. This then began the organization of the Fire Company known at the Chickasaw Community Fire Company.

In August, 1928, the Howe Fire Apparatus Company delivered a GMC truck with a 350 Gal. per minute pump and a 200 gallon water tank.

In the year 1932, the records for the Chickasaw Fire Department stopped. In fact, there are no records of meetings, training, etc... until 1948. The reason for this, we believe, is World War II.

In April, 1949, the Fire Company was reorganized and named the Chickasaw Community Mutual Fire Company. A new firehouse was built across the road from the old one at a cost of $4500.00. On December 23, 1949, the company purchased a 1949 Howe pumper at a cost of $7800.00. This was a piston pump, 500 gal. per minute with a 500 gallon tank capacity.

Later, to support the pumper, the volunteers attested to their ingenuity by converting a 1945 oil truck into a 800 gallon tanker.

Fire calls were wired into four different homes (those of the company officers) where they were transferred in turn to sound an alarm by simply pressing a button to start the siren. The siren sat atop an old tower behind the town hall, which also had been used as a hose dryer. once the new firehouse was built, the siren was moved to its roof.

On July 20, 1953, the Mutual Company and the Volunteer Firemen separated. They now have two separate organizations, the Chickasaw Community Mutual Fire Company and the Chickasaw Volunteer Firemen.

In 1959, the fire department became a participant n the Civilian Defense Program. Under the Civilian Defense setup, which had it's headquarters in Columbus, the company had a mobile radio in the 1949 pumper and a monitor in the station.

The Mutual Company purchased another truck in 1966 which arrived on May 5, 1967, at the purchase price of $12,000.00. This 1967, Howe truck had a centrifugal pump able to pump 500 gal. per minute with a tank capacity of 1200 gallons.

The firehouse was remodeled in 1970. One new bay was added along with a meeting room.

May 3, 1975, the Mutual Fire Company received a 1975 Howe truck at a price of $35,000.00. It has a centrifugal pump able to pump 1,000 gal. per minute with a tank capacity of 1,000 gallons.

Fire phones were still being used, but the Mutual Company had purchased 20 pagers in May of 1978 at a cost of $2,000.00. These pagers were set off by Central Dispatch from Celina. In 1979, the fire phones were discontinued.

May of 1984, the fire ratings in the village of Chickasaw were lowered from a class 9 to a class 7. The rural areas were lowered from a class 10 to a class 9.

A 1985 FMC Fire Truck was delivered in October of 1985 to replace the 1949 Howe at the price of $60,000.00 The truck has a centrifugal pump 1,000 gal. per minute with a tank capacity of 1,000 gallons.

In 1990, the volunteers got together and built a 3200 gallon tanker truck.  A used 1985 International cab and chassis was purchased and a local metal shop built the tank.  Once completed, this was the largest capacity tanker in the county.

Nick Thobe took over as chief of the fire department in June of 1993 and later in that year plans were started for either expanding the current firehouse or building a new one.  It was decided that the best option was to build a new station and a lot was purchased on the south end of Chickasaw.  Ground was broke in late 1994 and we moved into the station in 1995.

In 1996 a used 1985 step van was purchased and refurbished to fit our needs.  The van is used to carry rescue equipment, personnel, basic firefighting equipment and serves as our command center on the fire scene.

In 1998 we started the inquiry into a new engine to replace the aged 1975 engine.  A committee was formed and December 2000 we put into service a 2000 Smeal on a Spartan Chassis at a cost of $225,000.00.   The 2000 pumper has a 1,000 gal tank and pumps 1,500 gallons per minute.

In June of 2001, Mark Seitz became the new Chief of the department.   Over the summer of 2002, the fire department received a $53,000 grant from FEMA to purchase a grass fire truck. A Ford F-350 was purchased in the fall of 2002 which was transformed into a grass truck by members of the department with a 200 gal. tank and a 300 gpm pump.  The 2003 ford grass truck was put into service in March 2003.

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Chickasaw Community Mutual Fire Company.

This page last updated: 3/30/03