A Brief History of the Mantua-Shalersville Fire Department
The Mantua Village Fire
Department was established on May 20, 1901 by Village Council
Ordinance. The name of "Mantua Hose Company #1" was given to this
organization with H. A. Turner appointed as the first Fire Chief. This
was the fifth fire department to organize in Portage County. Prior to
1901, a civilian Bucket Brigade was used to battle the fires that
occurred in Mantua Village, which was known as "Mantua Station" prior
to its incorporation in 1898. Village Council purchased a hand drawn
55-gallon chemical engine, four 6-gallon fire extinguishers and a 10"
Gong in April 1901 for the new organization.
1880 fire bell at the Town Hall was used to call out the firemen when
there was a fire in the village. All the members of the department at
that time were true "volunteers", receiving no pay for their services.
The village water system was also completed in 1902, which included 22
Corey fire hydrants and a 250,000 gallon reservoir. Although there had
been many destructive fires in town over the years, it was the large
East Prospect Street blaze of February 28, 1901 that pushed village
council to finally organize a fire department and purchase specialized
council purchased two hand-pulled hose carts, and 600’ of 2 ½" hose. A
hand pulled hook and ladder wagon that carried 140 feet of wooden
ground ladders was put in service. Beginning in 1909, the firemen were
paid 40 cents an hour. The villages first "Fire Prevention Code" was
also adopted by council in 1909, along with the first set of Rules and
Regulations for the department.
In 1915, the
department was operating six pieces of fire equipment out of the Livery
on East Prospect Street. They were the hand drawn chemical engine,
three hand drawn hose carts, the hand drawn hook and ladder wagon and a
small hand drawn chemical extinguisher. There was an officer and 3 or 4
firemen assigned to each piece who were responsible for "turning out"
with their assigned apparatus for each fire call.
council purchased the department’s first motorized fire truck, a Ford
model "T" 40-gallon chemical engine that cost $970.00. It was the
second motorized fire engine in Portage County at the time. It was at
this time that the village fire department began to respond to fires in
Mantua and Shalersville Townships.
council purchased the department’s first "triple combination" fire
truck, a 400 GPM Seagrave "suburban" pumper with a 300-gallon water
tank. The Department’s fleet of apparatus has been continually updated
since that time. Most noteworthy, the first 1,500 GPM pumper (Seagrave)
in Portage County in March of 1978, and the counties first 1,750 GPM
pumper (Mack), in February of 1988 and the first 2,000 GPM pumper
(Pierce) in August of 2000.
In 1946, the
Mantua-Shalersville Fire Association was formed when Mantua Village,
Mantua Township, and Shalersville Township entered into a formal
contract to share all the cost in operating the joint Fire Department.
In 1959, the
department’s first "Rescue Truck" was placed in-service, a Ford
delivery van that was converted for heavy rescue and first-aid use by
the firemen, 13 of them who were certified in advanced first-aid
techniques. The truck was used to respond to an ever-increasing number
of drownings, accidents, oxygen, and rescue calls.
In 1975, the
Mantua-Shalersville Fire District was formed by voter approval. This
provided for special tax levies to fund the department instead of
taking money from the general funds of the three political
subdivisions. In 2000, three levies, (Fire, EMS, Equipment) generated
approximately $1,100,000 a year to fund the operation of the
In 1976, the
department began providing EMT-A level first responder EMS, and in
1979, paramedic service was started. In 1981, the department’s first
three full-time firefighter/paramedics were hired. The department began
staffing the fire station 24 hours a day, seven days a week in 1995,
when two more full-time fire/medics were hired. As of 2001 there were 6
full-time and 25 part-time members.
department currently operates three ALS squads, one rescue pumper, one
attack pumper, one tanker, a staff/utility vehicle, and a technical
rescue bus. The fire station at Main and High Streets, which was built
in 1867, is the oldest in Ohio.
department responds to about 1,200 calls annually, and averages three
to six working fires a year with an annual fire loss of $150,000 to
$300,000. The department also averages well over 100 accident calls a
year, many of them involving extrications, trauma, and fatalities, due
to the 20 miles of state highways that crisscross the department’s 54
square mile jurisdiction.
years, the department has evolved from a volunteer force whose primary
concern was fire suppression, to today’s force that is a combination of
full-time and part-time members. Their specialties include EMS, rescue,
inspection, instruction, fire safety education, investigation, scuba,
and haz-mat services to over 12,000 residents of the Fire/EMS District.
Other Interesting Accomplishments of the MSFD
- 1953-First resuscitator placed in-service
- 1954-First SCBA units placed in-service (two)
- 1962-First two-way radio installed in a pumper
- 1969-Deluge gun placed in-service
- 1972-A crew call system is implemented
- 1973-Rescue saw is placed in-service
- 1974-3' supply hose is placed in-service
- 1974-First pagers (8) are placed in-service
- 1974-First female firefighter hired
- 1976-First dry hydrant installed and drop tank placed in-service
- 1982-1 ¾" hose and task force nozzle placed in-service
- 1987-Air bag system placed in-service
- 1988-4" supply hose placed in-service
- 1988-Amkus hydraulic rescue system placed in-service
- 1990-Automatic-aid system implemented
- 1990-Mutual-aid box alarm system (MABAS) implemented
- 1994-Full-time Chief appointed
Fire Department has a long and rich tradition of providing progressive,
high quality service to the Mantua-Shalersville Community. From the
early beginning in 1901, through a depression and four wars, to the
current dramatic changes of society today, the Mantua-Shalersville Fire
Department will continue to strive for excellence.