Monday, August 24, 2015

Ogontz Fire Company and Firefighting in Sandusky

On June 4, 1870, Richard C. Cuthbert was given a certificate from the Fire Department of the city of Sandusky for a life membership in the Ogontz Fire Company, No. 1.  Mr. Cuthbert had served with the Ogontz Fire Company for twelve and a half years. The certificate was signed by Henry J. Hertel and Joseph C. Whetstone.  The Ogontz Fire Company, No. 1 was begun by volunteers in 1834, at a fire station located at the foot of Hancock Street. “Bucket brigades” had been in use in Sandusky in the early 1830s, under chief fireman Henry H. Wilcoxsen. The early fire stations were built so that the animals that carried the horse drawn vehicles could be housed on the street level of the station.  The picture below was taken at the Central Fire and Police Station which was on Market Street in the 1890s.

The Sandusky Library Archives Research Center has two publications that chronicle the history of the Sandusky Fire Department. A souvenir booklet published in 1896 documents the Sandusky Fire Department and Division of Public Safety, up to that time. Included are several pictures of officials of the Sandusky Fire Department, and a listing of forty two call boxes that were placed throughout the city in 1896. The publication was published “in the interest of the Firemen’s Pension Fund.”

Jim Martin, a retired Sandusky firefighter, produced two booklets of his research on firefighting in Sandusky, entitled The Sandusky Fire Department: A Look Back at History. The first volume covers from 1830 to 2002, and a second volume describes events between 2002 and 2004. This publication includes a history of the department, a listing of the individuals who served as Fire Chief, and a breakdown of major fires in Sandusky throughout the years. The “Last Alarm” page of the booklet lists the names and dates of death of those firemen who died in the line of duty. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research to learn more about our historic Sandusky Fire Department.

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