History of the Beavercreek Township Fire Department 1946 to 1979: As Told by Past Fire Chief Treber "Bud" Crawford
John Scott's Initiative
In 1941, John Scott, owner and operator of Knollwood Florist, decided that the Knollwood area could use some help in extinguishing fires at their homes or on their property. Having a panel truck for his business, he used the truck and purchased portable fire extinguishers, shovels and rakes for the purpose of fighting fires. For manpower, he used his own employees and some local residents he had recruited. He installed a siren on his greenhouse. He let it be known to the community that if they had a fire and needed help that they could call the greenhouse to report their fire. He would then activate the siren for the volunteers to come to the greenhouse and they would respond to the fire.
First Beavercreek Fire Station
In 1945, Mr. Scott convinced the township trustees to put a $15,000 bond issue on the ballot to start a township fire department. The trustees at the time were Grover Wolf, Otto Zink and Crawford Coy. The bond issue passed and the $15,000 did purchase two new Chevrolet fire pumpers. In addition, there was enough money to purchase material for the first Beavercreek Fire Station. It was located on South Central Drive in Knollwood.
Second Beavercreek Fire Station
The trustees rented two bays from Marshall Bros. Garage, located on Dayton-Xenia Road near Factory Road that became Beavercreek’s second station. That building was where Elano Corporation is now located. Tom Ferguson was township road superintendent so the trustees appointed him to serve as Beavercreek’s first fire chief. The township was divided into two districts. District Number 1 was east of Fairfield Road William Calvert was District Number 1 Chief. District Number 2 was west of Fairfield Road and John Scott was District Number 2 Chief.
Beginning of the Beavercreek Township Fire Department
In 1946, the two fire pumpers were delivered and, with some basic training in fire and emergency, the volunteers who had been recruited for stations Number 1 and Number 2 started the Beavercreek Township Fire Department.
In 1952, the trustees felt that being road superintendent and fire chief was too much of a burden for Tom Ferguson. They relieved him of his being fire chief and appointed John Scott township fire chief. I was a lieutenant at Number 1 station until 1951. At this time Bill Calvert resigned and I was appointed District Chief at Station Number 1. I might add that we received no pay for any of these positions, it was all volunteer. Between 1946 and 1950, the volunteers from Station Number 1 purchased a used Jeep and made a utility vehicle for grass fires and other emergencies. Station Number 2 volunteers purchased a used panel truck with their own money and made a combination utility vehicle and ambulance out of it.
Third Fire Station
In 1950, the residents in the NE. corner of Beavercreek known as New Germany decided that they needed a fire station in their area. The trustees gave them their blessings and Station Number 3 was started. The station was built on the northern part of Grange Hall Road near New Germany Trebein Road Labor was by volunteers and material was paid for by the township. By the time Station Number 3 was built, a used fire pumper purchased by the township was delivered to them. In addition, the firefighters from Number 3 bought a used semi tractor tanker that held approximately 5,000 gallons of water. Back in those days we had to haul our own water, there was no Greene County Water Department, only wells. At fires we had to haul our water from nearby creeks and ponds. Each of our fire pumpers, Number 1, Number 2 and Number 3, hauled 750 gallons of water.
In 1953, the trustees purchased four two-way radios, one for each of the three pumpers and one for a base station.
In 1956, Chief Scott persuaded the trustees to put a one-mill five-year operating levy on the November ballot. The levy passed and the first year it produced approximately $23,000. Up until then money was in short supply. The volunteers had to raise their money by having square dances, cake sales (with the wives baking the cakes), and donations from private individuals and businesses. Sometimes we had to ask for money or materials from citizens or businesses. When we passed the one-mill operating levy in 1956, we told the people of Beavercreek that if they would pass the fire levy we would never knock on their doors again for donations. It did pass and we didn’t knock on doors again. From that time on, the citizens of Beavercreek passed our one-mill levy every five years and were still doing it when I retired in 1979.
In 1958, land was purchased for Fire Station Number 1 at the corner of Dayton-Xenia Road and Forest Dr. A new fire station was built and this also became Beavercreek Fire Headquarters. A new fire station was built on Indian Riffle Road between N Fairfield and Grange Hall Road The land that this station was built on was donated to the township by George Henkle, a plat developer in Beavercreek. The volunteers provided most of the labor and, again, the township purchased the materials. A used pumper was purchased from Van Buren Twp., now Kettering, for the new station, Station Number 4.
In 1960, I was hired full time as assistant fire chief and fire inspector. I inspected public places and businesses for fire hazards or fire code violations. I was particularly well received by the Beavercreek school system.
In 1963, the trustees purchased three-fourths of an acre of ground on Dayton-Xenia Road between Forestdale and Central Dr. A new, modern fire station was built on this site. This was Number 2 station and is still being used today. John Scott retired as volunteer fire chief in 1964. Several months later the trustees appointed me their paid fire chief and inspector. My salary was $6200 per year, full time. With businesses moving to Beavercreek, we needed and hired two of our volunteers as fire inspectors, working part time 20 hours a week. They were James Valentine and Earl Boggs.
In 1972, we hired Eugene C. Merrill, who was Station Number 4 District Chief, as a full time Assistant Chief and fire inspector. New homes were being built in northern Beavercreek, so in 1973 it was decided to build a new fire station in that area. A station was built on Kemp Road between N Fairfield and Hanes Road replacing the old one on Grange Hall Road That station is still in use. We also decided to remodel fire headquarters in 1973. We added a third bay and offices to this building on Dayton-Xenia Road across from Elano.
In 1974, we began having ladies apply to the fire department as volunteers. We did not have them before for the same reasons you hear today, mostly that ladies didn’t belong in an all male job. I was reluctant to have them join but they soon proved to me that they were just as good as men and a great asset to the department. They were particularly good on emergencies involving children and older adults. Some of them were handicapped in fire situations because they didn’t have the physical size or strength that most of the men had. But, as they say, sometimes brains take the place of brawn and I was very pleased with the contributions the ladies made to our department.
In 1975, fourteen of us started paramedic training. The paramedic course consisted of 240 hrs. of classroom schooling and 240 hrs. of on the job training at different Dayton hospitals covering most emergencies, i.e., emergency rooms, CCU and ICU. In 1976, eleven of us completed the training and passed the course of 480 hrs. We then became certified paramedics. Over the years Beavercreek grew and with that growth our one-mill levy produced more income. Due to the fact that we got good volunteers practically free, we were able to purchase some of the finest fire and emergency equipment in the area. We had a personnel limit of 25 volunteers for each of the four fire stations. Many times there were waiting lists of persons wanting to become firefighters. Then, in the mid-1970’s, volunteerism was beginning to drop. We began to think about hiring some paid men.
In 1978, we were able to hire four full-time firefighters. First they had to pass a written test, a physical and a background check. The trustees hired the top four of nine applicants. Those hired were Dana Brewer, Greg Connors, Gail Thompson and Joe Bianco. All were Beavercreek residents and volunteers. They were all certified paramedics and had much firefighting training. They were sent for additional fire and rescue training at the Dayton Fire Training Academy for 20 weeks. Two of the four are now captains and one is a lieutenant on the Beavercreek Fire Department. One left the department for another city. We could not have had all of the good equipment and fire stations had it not been for the many people, particularly the volunteers and their families, the businesses that supported us, and the township trustees who wanted us to be the best we could be.
Chief Treber "Bud" Crawford's Retirement
In October of 1978 I announced my retirement to be effective January 1, 1979. The Beavercreek Chamber of Commerce, businesses and persons we will never know, gave my wife and me a wonderful retirement party at Wright State University. We were given many nice gifts, including a trip to Hawaii.