Saturday, February 05, 2011

Michael and Wilson McLaughlin, Sandusky Fire Fighters

Captain Michael McLaughlin and his son Wilson McLaughlin are both pictured below, in the photograph of Fire Station No. 5 located at Tiffin Avenue at West Madison Street for many years. (This building is now privately owned.)
Sandusky’s Fire Station Number Five was built around 1906. Ellie Damm pointed out in her book Treasure by the Bay, that since the city fire fighters still used horse-drawn equipment at this time, the fire station was designed for use by both men and animals. The lower portion of the building housed the horses which were used to carry the fire fighting equipment and firemen.

On Thursday, February 8, 1934, Captain Michael McLaughlin died in the line of duty while fighting a fire on Perry Street. He was overcome with smoke while battling the blaze, and was carried out of the burning building by his son, Wilson. He was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital, but efforts to revive him were fruitless. Capt. McLaughlin had been a member of the Sandusky Fire Department for 32 years. He was a friend of the community, and he originated the idea of repairing broken toys at Christmas time, and giving them to children in need. He worked at Fire Station No. 5 for 28 years. You can read the resolution by the City Commission of the City of Sandusky which honored Captain Michael McLaughlin on page 15 of the 1934 Obituary Notebook found in the Archives Research Center of Sandusky Library. It read in part: “Having been with the fire department for a great many years both as a member and a captain, he displayed a keen interest in the duties before him his every act and decision was marked by sincerity, courage and integrity which fact was demonstrated when he lost his life while serving his community in his line of duty.”

Wilson “Slip” McLaughlin, son of the Captain, was also a longtime Sandusky fire fighter. He died in November of 1984, after having served the community for fifty years. He had been the state fire marshal for four years, and was formerly an Erie County Commissioner. Wilson McLaughlin started the annual Fireman's Shoe Fund for needy children. He was an honorary life member of the Sandusky Safety Council and the State and National Association of Fire Chiefs.

Visit the Archives Research Center to learn more about the many men and women who have served Sandusky and Erie County throughout the years. Newspapers, county histories, and many other reference sources can assist you in researching the many past and present residents of our community.

Pictured below is Fire Station No. 5 in the 1980s.

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