Rocky River Fire Division celebrates centennial
By Sue Botos
Residents had the opportunity to take a glance at the past while looking to the future during an open house at the Rocky River Fire Department Sunday. The celebration was in recognition of the department’s 100th anniversary.
Begun as a volunteer service in 1911, the first full-time members, a lieutenant and one firefighter, were appointed in 1924. The following year, the lieutenant was named chief and two more firefighters were added. That same year, 1925, the fire department purchased an American La France Type 75 combination chemical engine with junior pump.
This truck holds a special place in the hearts of city officials. It was rebuilt by former Eaton Township Fire Chief Mel Ternes with the financial backing of Rocky River residents Jackie and Marilyn Jauch.
In memory of their father, Dr. Roland Jauch, who worked for many years with the Rocky River Schools’ athletic department, the sisters donated $10,000 toward the restoration of the truck.
“I was in England and my sister called me and said ‘I just donated $10,000 of your money to the truck,’” said Jackie Jauch, with a laugh, at the open house.
Mayor Pam Bobst expressed her gratitude, saying, “We never could have done this without her.”
Visitors had the opportunity to see all parts of the station, including living quarters, and watch demonstration of equipment such as a thermal imaging device, which allows firefighters to find people in a dark, smoke-filled building.
Also demonstrated were the ladder truck and hydraulic equipment featuring “the jaws of life” used to remove victims from wrecked cars.
Firefighters explained that many accident victims used to die, not as an immediate result of an accident, but rather from being moved afterward. They said that this equipment allows the vehicle to be removed from the victim rather than the other way around.
Currently the Fire Division consists of 29 full-time personal, including Chief Chris Flynn, a fire prevention officer, three captains, six lieutenants and 18 firefighters.
Since 1972, all firefighters have been required to be certified paramedics. “Rocky River was one of the first departments,” said 20-year firefighter Paul Murray of the EMT requirement. He added that everyone, including the chief, is certified.
Murry said that the department makes about 2,800 runs each year, a vast majority of which, he said, are medical transportation. The three-man squads, he continued, usually spend about one hour per run.
Due to privacy regulation, Murry said he really could not talk too much about the EMT runs, however, he recalled one story. “We delivered a baby on Lorain Road last year. A woman came to the station and knocked on the door because she was about to have a baby. We didn’t make it to the hospital and delivered en route,” said Murry.
Mother and baby did well and visited the station six months later.