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In 1911 the City of Ashtabula enacted legislation to change the volunteer Fire Department into a fully paid professional service. This legislation made the Ashtabula Fire Department one of the first paid fire departments in the State of Ohio. Two pieces of apparatus were purchase; one a 1911 Seagrave chemical truck, the second a 1911 Robinson pumping engine with a chemical tank. Originally six men were hired and in September of 1911 began working out of a station on Bridge Street. This station was used until 1959 when it's personnel took occupancy of a new station on West Ninth Street.

In February of 1912, with the hiring of six additional men, the City opened a newly constructed station on Park Avenue at West 48th Street. The 1911 Robinson pumping engine was taken from Bridge Street and moved into this building. The department now had twelve paid men, with two pieces of motorized apparatus, working out of two stations. This station was manned until the early 1970's when the proposed widening of 48th Street forced it to be moved. In 1974, with the completion of the present station on Main Avenue, the station on Park Avenue was closed. In 1987, the station on Ninth Street was closed do to financial difficulties within the City of Ashtabula.

The Ashtabula Fire Department of today bears little resemblance to the department of 1911. The present Department roster of 26 personnel, man two apparatus, with additional manning accomplished through emergency recall procedures. The two front-line trucks consist of a 1991, 102 foot Grumman Aerialcat Ladder Platform and a 1998 HME Engine.

Ashtabula Firefighting - Images of America

Paperback written by Eric A. Johnson (2006)

Over 200 archival images with documentation on 127 pages stretching through 170 years of Ashtabula.

The story of firefighting in Ashtabula is almost as old as the community itself, beginning with the informal citizen bucket brigades of frontier necessity in the early decades of the 1800s. Between 1836 and 1911, the burgeoning Lake Erie port and manufacturing city was served by a cadre of dedicated volunteer fire companies, including the celebrated, award-winning Protection Fire Company. Ashtabula’s rapid growth spurred the October 25, 1911, transformation of the city’s longstanding volunteer fire corps into a paid, full-time professional fire department. With over 200 archival images drawn from the Ashtabula Fire Department, the private collections of retired city firefighters, and local newspaper and museum archives, Ashtabula Firefighting highlights 170 years of firefighting heritage.

Today's Firefighter
Many of you have seen the fire department in the course of your lives. Some of you may even have had to call the fire department for an emergency. However, few of you are probably aware of what is required of the present day firefighter.

Today's firefighter spends hundreds of hours in the classroom. Firefighters attend a basic fire academy, emergency medical technician training, incident command classes, hazardous materials classes, even radiological training classes. This is just the start of the educational process that embodies today's firefighter. All of this information must be continually refreshed and updated to remain current with the ever changing environment in which we work.

The firefighter of today typical responds to an emergency wearing 70lbs of equipment that costs in excess of $3,000. He/she arrives there on a vehicle that costs from  $200,000 to almost $1,000,000. In addition, that vehicle has another $100,000 of equipment on it.

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