Ohio township increases emergency response with second firehouse
Ashtabula Township firefighters have a second fire house staffed by part-time crews
By Shelley Terry
ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP, Ohio — The Ashtabula Township Fire Department now boasts a second fire station after repurposing the Ridgeview Cemetery building, 7205 Austinburg Road.
The new station is part-time, taking nothing away from the main station at 2718 North Ridge East, but adds resources for quicker response time to the west side of the township, Chief Tom Steele said, noting the building houses emergency response equipment, personnel, a fire engine and an advance life-support ambulance.
“A part-time staff fills two positions daily,” he said. “Most are certified paramedics; the remaining are enrolled in programs.”
There will be an open house from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 14, 2023, at both stations. The public is invited to tour the stations and meet the firefighters.
The ability to compensate a part-time staff of emergency medical responders at Station No. 2comes from a CARES Act grant.
“The building has housed fire equipment during the volunteer department era,” Steele said. “It was turned over to the cemetery department once the paid department started.”
Transformation of the building was minimal, Steele said.
“The office area was converted into living quarters,” he said.T"he service department utilizes the remaining bays.”
The Ashtabula Township Fire Department began in November 1949 when voters approved a fire levy.
Bruce Harrison was appointed fire prevention officer by the township trustees and, in 1953, he was authorized to purchase a used 1,200-gallon water tank truck.
In 1963, the fire station was built at 2718 North Ridge East. As the years went on, equipment was purchased and many fires were fought by Harrison and his crew while assisting Ashtabula city firefighters.
In May 1973, the Ashtabula Township trustees felt it was time to organize a Volunteer fire department.
At midnight on Dec. 31, 1973 all fire calls from Ashtabula Township were answered from the station.
Two men were on duty 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The men worked six-hour shifts and were paid $1.50 per hour plus $3 per fire call. A radio alert system notified off-duty firefighters at home in case assistance was needed.
Today, Ashtabula Township Fire Rescue responds to any call for help, including fire suppression, emergency medical services, hazardous materials and water rescue.
The department is staffed 24 hours a day with firefighter-paramedics providing advanced life support, treatment and transport.
Personnel includes the chief, administrative training officer, 12 career firefighter-paramedics, five part-time firefighters with EMT or paramedic certifications.
Equipment includes two engines, an ariel, three ambulances, three support vehicles, one utility-terrain vehicle, and one HAZMAT trailer.