In the Beginning: 1949
In the beginning there were approximately 20 guys, an idea and a definite need for firefighters. When the volunteer department of Wadsworth had to be called to a fire at Fishers (the local dry goods store), they took quite some time to arrive. The people of the township as well as the trustees knew it was time to create our own department.
The trustees put out a $20,000 bond issue ($10,000 for a fire station and $10,000 for equipment) which built the fire station and purchased the first fire truck; a 1950 Chevrolet. With a little word of mouth, the fire department began to grow. There were people from the local hardware sore, the barber, plumbers, electricians and farmers just to name a few. The would leave work when the fire siren went off to help those in need.
The second truck was a tractor-trailer 8,000 gallon tanker truck that was purchased by the Fireman's Association. It took some maneuvering and a little time to get to the fire, but once it was there, no other water was needed. A lot of time and energy was put into the fire department by volunteers, and over the years the trucks that were purchased were made into fire trucks and rescue squads by the firemen themselves. The first rescue squad did not appear in the station until the 1960's, although the firefighters were taking first aid courses long before the squad came along. Sharon Township became the first fire department in Medina County to have paramedics.
The Fire House: Then & Now
The original fire station (shown below) is now the Township Administration Building, and like the current fire station, it began with the sweat and determination of a few good volunteers. It began as the size of a large two car garage with a flat roof and siren on top. The basement was dug out to create a meeting room and a class room. There was some opposition to adding on to the department, but the need won out, and the station was enlarged before the squads were delivered. There were now four crowded bays, trucks and plenty of volunteers to rum them. By the time the new fire station was in the works, the crowded four bays held six trucks.
Ellis-Myers Architects designed the current fire station, which was built in 1989. The design itself won several architectural awards. We put a lot of sweat equity into the building and are very proud to call it our own! The bay area for the trucks was completely finished by the builders, but the other half of the station as well as the upstairs had to be finished by the firefighters themselves.
Today the fire department consists of approximately 29 men and women with that same idea and desire to help people. Some of the equipment and faces around the station have changed, but some have remained the same. Instead of the old phone system that was once used to alert those on the department, today we have a 9-1-1 system and pagers. Instead of the old tractor-trailer tanker, we have a 1993 Pierce Tanker that holds 2,500 gallons of water and a 1998 Pierce Pumper that holds 1,000 gallons of water. In place of the old jeep for fighting grass fires, we have a 1984 Chevy Quick Attack Truck with 250 gallons of water. All of these trucks hold a lot of equipment, new and old, that enables us to get the job done more effectively and efficiently. Technology has come a long way. The squads we currently have are a 1992 Horton International and a 2000 Braun International.
The firefighters are still a very diverse crowd. A new station, many trucks that have come and gone, many great people have come and gone, but the pride and dedication of the Sharon Fire Department still remains, and remains in those who have left. Those who have retired, moved, left or passed on, as well as those who remain to show the true courage and heroism of the firefighter.