NEW MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A big controversy in a small town tore apart New Middletown’s fire department, but now the village is seeing it rebound.
New Middletown sits within Springfield Township. In the ’70s, there was a split which many people still find difficult to talk about today. The township had provided fire service, but then New Middletown started its own.
“I don’t even know what it’s over, but it’s ridiculous,” said Pat Ayers, who lives in New Middletown.
Some people believe the municipalities need to work together again. New Middletown seems committed to providing its own service and rebuilding.
New Middletown has a new fire chief. Lee Ingold was voted into the position Wednesday night.
On Thursday, he talked about his goals for rebuilding the department after Curt Brown resigned.
“It’s going to help, but it depends on what he does,” Ayers said.
The news about the new chief is just making its way across the village. Ayers said many residents have gotten a letter explaining issues with the fire department.
They’re the same issues village council has been talking about for months and now the fire department has a new leader.
“That helps to a degree, but do we have people to man the fire truck? How many people? And maybe with a new chief, maybe they can work something out to get more volunteers,” said Rick Gorgei, who also lives in New Middletown.
Ingold said he’s trying to attract trained firefighters who are qualified to work.
The village just fixed its truck. Springfield has three stations and 12 pieces of equipment.
“We need to join and work together to have a better community all the way around,” Ayers said.
“I see nothing wrong with, if you have the manpower and equipment to keep it in New Middletown Village because we did have very good service for years with them,” Gorgei said.
New Middletown will keep talking about the situation and the new chief will work to rebuild the department. He has a five-year plan to keep the department in the village and reach his goal of 15 to 20 firefighters.