Chief’s Corner

History of The Firefighter’s Wall and Statue

On November 30, 1975 three Massillon Firefighters: Frank Urwin, Donald Roseman and Kenneth Arnold were killed while fighting a fire at the LaCusina Restaurant, then located at 1731 Lincoln Way East. Shortly after this tragedy the members of the department talked of a memorial.

A statue of a Firefighter

In the spring of 1976 Fred Koehler, owner of Massillon Glass, approached Mayor Mark Ross and asked if he could erect a memorial to the firefighters and requested permission to put this memorial in a city park. The Mayor immediately contacted Chief Michael Bednar. He, along with other members of the department, decided the memorial should be built at the Central Fire Station. While the wall was being planned, firefighters proposed a statue be incorporated into the memorial, the cost of which would be paid by firefighters. This along with the thought that the memorial would be dedicated to all firefighters who served the City

of Massillon. All materials and labor to construct the wall were donated. Mr. Koehler provided the Maltese cross in colored glass that adorns the wall. The names of those who assisted with the wall were in the program of the dedication.

Mr. Raymond Coia from Canton was contacted to construct a life size bronze statue of a firefighter. He came to the station and took pictures of firefighters in turnout gear to build the statue. The cost of the statue was $5,780 and the dedication plaque $350. The 35 firefighters of the department at the time each were accessed $116.58. The three widows of the above mentioned firefighters gave $1,000, as did the wives of then current Massillon Firefighters.

The statue was to have been dedicated on the anniversary of the tragedy, November 30, 1976, however the mold of the statue broke and the dedication was not held until May 30, 1977.

Fallen Firefighters’ Dedication

Alarm Boxes

In 1893 the City of Massillon purchased and put into service the Gamewell fire alarm system that is still in service today. The alarm system, which uses a telegraph type system, activates an alarm panel located at our dispatch center when the fire alarm box is tripped by a fire or smoke detector or it is manually pulled, if so equipped. The street alarm boxes were removed several years ago and the only ones remaining are the ones tied to several businesses’ alarm systems.

At the first of the year the Regional Emergency Dispatch Center (RED Center), the dispatching center for the Massillon Fire Department, will be moving from their present location at the Getz Signal Center, located next to Massillon City Hall, to the second floor of the Jackson Township Hall, located at Mudbrook and Wales N.W. in Jackson Township. Due to this move we will no longer be able to monitor the City Fire Alarm Box system, the Gamewell system. Area businesses that are now connected to the system will need to contact a private alarm company to monitor their fire alarm systems. Shortly after the first of the year the City Electrical Department, who maintains the system, will remove the alarm boxes from the businesses’ buildings. We are sorry that we can no longer maintain the system but due to technical difficulties associated with this antiquated system we have no other choice.

150 years of service

2003 marks the 150th year that the Massillon Fire Department has been a full time department. Prior to that time the firefighters of Massillon were all volunteer. In 1853 the City Council adopted Ordinance #30 establishing a City Fire Department. During the year of 2003 we will be celebrating this important milestone with various activities.

Chief’s Summer Safety Tips

Now that summer has arrived people will be outside cooking and enjoying the warm weather. In order to have a safe time we would like to pass on the following safety tips.

Propane grills are a fast and easy way to cook outdoors but there are dangers associated with them. Please follow the guidelines listed below:

  • Use the grill outdoors in a well-ventilated area. Never use them indoors or in an enclosed area such as a garage.
  • Follow all of the manufacturer’s instruction.
  • When you have finished cooking turn off the burner controls and close the valve on the cylinder.
  • Make sure the grill is cool and all the valves are closed before covering the grill.
A picture of a propane tank
  • Store the cylinders outdoors away from any sources of ignition. Use and store the cylinders in an upright, vertical position.
  • After filling the cylinders take them home immediately, making sure that they are secured in the trunk and not rolling around. Keep your vehicle well ventilated making sure the cylinder valve is closed and capped or plugged and never leave the cylinder in you vehicle.
  • Before lighting your grill check for leaks at the connections using a leak detection solution such as soapy water or a solution supplied by your propane dealer. Never check for leaks with a lighter or matches.
  • Never smoke while handling propane cylinders.
  • Keep children away from the grills and never allow them to play with the grill or cylinder.
  • If you have a significant and uncontrollable release of gas or a fire, call the fire department immediately and move everyone way for the grill or cylinder.
  • Effective April 1, 2002 propane cylinders must be equipped with an OPD (overfilling prevention device) in order to be refilled. Your propane dealer will advise you if you do not have the OPD.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact your local fire department or propane dealer.

Summer is also the time when people enjoy campfires. Each year we get dozens of calls to respond to complains of open burning. Under the Ohio Administrative Code and the Codified Ordinances of Massillon Part Fifteen – Fire Prevention Code Chapter 1511 open burning is illegal without the written permission of the Ohio EPA. There are a couple of exceptions. The Massillon ordinance, which is the same as the Ohio Code, states the following:

1511.03 Open Burning In Restricted Areas

(a) No person or property owner shall cause or allow open burning in a restricted area except as provided in subsections (b) to (d) hereof or in Ohio R.C. 3704.11.

(b) Open burning shall be allowed for the following purposes without notification to or permission from the Ohio EPA.

(1) Cooking for human consumption;

(2) Heating tar, welding, acetylene torches, highway safety flares, heating for warmth of outdoor workers and strikers, smudge pots and similar occupational needs.

Fires allowed by subsections (b)(1) and (b)(2) hereof shall not be used for waste disposal purposes and shall be of minimum size sufficient for their intended purpose; the fuel shall be chosen to minimize the generation and emission of air contaminants.”

What does all this all mean? It means that you can only have a small fire (about 4 feet by 4 feet) that you can use for cooking only. Nothing else! You can not burn garbage, yard waste, construction material, or any other material except dry clean wood that produces little or no smoke in a restricted area. A restricted area, according to the codes, “means the area within the boundary of any municipal corporation established in accordance with the provisions of Title 7 of the Ohio Revised Code, plus a zone extending 1,000 feet beyond the boundaries of any such municipal corporation having a population of 1,000 to 10,000 persons and a zone extending one mile beyond any such municipal corporation having a population of 10,000 persons or more according to the latest federal census.” In other words you can not burn, except for the above exceptions, in Massillon or within one mile of Massillon.

If you do have an outdoor cooking fire we would like for you to follow these guidelines:

  • Call our dispatch at 330-833-1051 and advise them of your cookout. Give them your name, address, phone number, and the times of the cookout. They will log you on a list of cookouts for that day.
  • Burn clean dry wood only.
  • The fire should not be larger than 4 feet by 4 feet and away from any structures.
  • Be considerate of your neighbors. We usually only get called to cookouts because the fires were too large and/or too smoky.

We do not like to disrupt anyone’s fun but we have to follow the law. The fines for open burning can be up to $500.00 and/or sixty days in jail, so be careful.

Also, don’t forget to change the batteries in your smoke detector. We recommend that you change the batteries every time you change your clocks to and from daylight savings time. We hope everyone has a safe and fun summer!