EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – April 28 marks a special day for the East Liverpool Fire Department. It’s the day, 125 years ago, that the council passed ordinance #492 establishing a paid professional fire department.
Fast-forward to 2021, and the department has progressed in many ways, something Chief William Jones is proud of.
“We have a 24-hour, 7-days a week staffed paramedic ambulance, we are a typed and verified hazmat team, we do confined-space rescue, and we have a tactical EMS team now,” Jones said.
There’s a lot of history tucked into those 125 years. Jones said they were one of the first stations to have pneumatic tires and go from horse-drawn fire engines to mechanized fire engines overnight. They are also one of the charter members of the International Association of Firefighters, who celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018.
“In 1877, they started to form a volunteer-style department. It progressed into a part-paid department and then on April 18, 1896, it became a paid career department, and we’ve been that way ever since,” Jones said.
The department has employed 193 firefighters and lost four in the line of duty in 125 years. Jones said that he is the tenth chief in the department’s history, which is a “pretty nice group to be in,” according to Jones.
“When I started 30 years ago, they didn’t have iPads where you can help do things, especially when it comes to hazmat. It’s a good research tool. So, that’s pretty cool is to watch how the electronic age has helped evolve the fire department,” Jones said.
Jones said when he started there were four operating fire stations, 32 firefighters, a chief, an inspector, three assistant chiefs and three lieutenants.
Today, the department has 16 firefighters, a chief, three assistant chiefs and three lieutenants.