Deerfield Township, Portage County, Ohio

    Department History

    Page 1 and 2 of the original minutes book of the Deerfield Volunteer Fire Department reads as follows:

    1 1st Meeting

    Thursday June 26, 1947
    A number of Deerfield Citizens met at the Town Hall to form a Deerfield Volunteer Fire Department.
    Officers elected were Thomas Lloyd Chairman, Hazel Ingledue Sec, Thelma Johns Treas.
    Executive members, Mr. Leon Adams, Mr. George Hayes, Mr. Fred Brunner and Mr. Earl Johns. – Mr. Albert Strong –
    After the officers were elected it was noted that the Treasurer be placed under bond.
    Mr. Loyd stated that the Home Coming Festival planned by the Civic Club would be sponsored by The Deerfield Volunteer Fire Dept. The dates of Fri & Sat, July 25th – 26th were chosen.
    Tickets for a drawing were passed out to the members to sell for the benefit of The Deerfield Township. Mr. Walters paid for printing the tickets and bought the 1st $10.00 book of tickets.
    The following names signed as members of The Deerfield Volunteer Fire Department.
    R. H. Hoskins
    Glen Earnest
    Bill Westover page 2 Ted Weingart
    Clyde A. Ingledue
    J. S. Burkey
    George C. Walters
    W.D. Freese
    Fred B. Jenkins
    A.S. Hartzell
    C. J. Canfield
    Harold Canfield
    C.J Beal
    Lena Walters
    Earl Johns
    Tom Lloyd
    Fred Brunner
    Esther Petrit
    Leon Adams
    Racheal Lloyd
    Hazel Ingledue
    Zahma Walters
    (minutes signed by) Hazel Ingledue Sec.

    The group met again twice in July 1947 and once each month in August, September, October, and November 1947 and again January 5, 1948. At these meetings the type of equipement desired was agreed on and fund raising events were discussed.

    There was no meeting again until January 19, 1949 where invoices that were paid during the 1948 year for equipment ordered was discussed.

    The minutes of the January 19, 1949 minutes reflected the following invoices:

    1-13-48 Chief Portable pump 2 ½ inch
    1-13-48 two 10 foot sections of 2 ½ inch Buffalo hard suction hose
    1-13-48 one 2 ½ inch strainer, one adapter 2 ½ inch female to 1 ½ inch male N.S.T. , one nozzle 1 ½ N.S.T. Crome plated.
    1-13-48 200 feet of 1 ½ inch Buckey Board fire hose coupled N.S.T. $750.00
    5-14-48 1 KBG 158 inch WB Chassis #42122 with Engine BDL269-85833. $1725.00 increase capacity brakes. $15.00
    1 BDL 269 engine with F-51-C trans $123.00
    1 FHA Cab $240.00
    1 deluxe filter $9.00
    1 heater & defroster $24.25
    1 300 watt 6 volt generator $56.00
    1 dome light in cab $3.00
    1 right hand mirror $3.00
    1 right hand wiper $7.50
    6 8.25 x 20- 10 ply tires and tubes 195.00

    Also at the January 19, 1949 the actual firefighting force appeared to be started. The minutes did not accurately reflect who from the original founders remained as a firefighter. At this meeting Jesse Forest was identified as Chief of the VFD appointed by the Deerfield Township Trustees. At this meeting is was decided that the Fire Department would meet the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month for meetings, a schedule that remains the same as of this writing in the year 2000.
    At the February 10, 1949 meeting it was decided to purchase hooks and rope for water recovery of drowning victims.

    At the February 24, 1949 meeting the first dues to the Portage County Firefighters Association were paid.

    At the September 22, 1949 meeting it was agreed to utilize Junier Firefighters that could respond during the day from Deerfield School. At the October 13, 1949 meeting three Junier firefighters were identified, Webster Pauley, Bill Close, and Earl Shilling.

    It was at the end of the May 25, 1950 minutes when the first actual list of Fire Department members was written down. They were Secretary Leon Adams, Adrian Amos, Harold Blair, Fred Brunner, Stewart Burkey, Glen Earnest, Chief Jesse Forest, Assistant Chairman Eric Hall, Lieutenant Joe Hartline, Richard Hartzell, Chairman Jim Hoskins, Rudy Jaros, Cecil Johnson, Tom Lloyd listed as Honarary Member, William Seigler, Assistant Chief and Purchasing Agent Raymond Sutcliffe, Captain Robert Sutcliffe, Carnival Chairman Lou Thompson, Ira Welker, Treasurer William Westover.

    At the December 1950 meeting Ray Sutcliffe was elected Chief but the minutes continued to refer to Jesse Forst as Chief as well as Ray Sutcliffe. It was obvious that there was a controversy. At the March 22, 1951 meeting a motion was made to have a committee contact the Township Trustees to have the “Chief situation” straightened out.

    At the April 12, 1951 meeting Chief Forst told all members that “if anyone is not satisfied with the present Chief they can turn in their hat, badge and key”.

    On May 10, 1951 it was reported that the Township Trustees wanted the Fire Department members to nominate at least 3 men for Chief for the Trustees to pick from. Nominated were 4 persons, Ray Sutcliffe, Joe Hartline, Robert Sutcliffe and Tom Rach.

    There was no further record of what was done by the Township Trustees but Jesse Forst name was not mentioned again in the minutes obviously reflecting that Ray Sutcliffe won out as Chief of the Fire Department.

    In 1952 the minutes reflected that the department had an average of 4 calls per month.

    7/9/53 100 license type plates were ordered at a cost of $36.09 to be sold as a fund raiser at one dollar each. Plates read “Deerfield Home of the Round Square”.

    1/14/54 a letter presented by 27 women interested in organizing a ladies auxiliary.

    2/26/54 announced that Ladies Auxiliary was forming and will meet at the Fire Station the 2nd Friday of each month. Ladies signing on were Genell Johnson, Cilia Tanifer, Mrs. Flory, Miss. Graham, Jane Hartline, Lina Sutcliffe, Fern Hall, Mrs. Newell, Mrs. Blair, Elanor Koras.

    3/25/54 Ladies Auxiliary to be known as “Sirenetts”.

    In December of 1958 Chief Ray Sutcliffe refused to accept the job again stating “there is to much work and not enough help”. Eric Hall was elected to replace Sutcliffe.

    Eric Hall was Chief for two years and Ray Sutcliffe was again elected Chief in 1960.

    February 25, 1965 a child that drank nail polish was transported to and from Alliance City Hospital in the emergency van by Joe Hartline and Harold Batson.

    December 8, 1966 Joe Hartline was elected Chief after Ray Sutcliffe declined to continue as Chief.

    January 12, 1967 Township Trustees decided to pay firefighters 1 dollar per call and or drill.

    It was obvious that it was difficult to get enough members to volunteer for clean up details at the Station. On October 12, 1967 Township Trustees send a letter to the Fire Department membership scolding them for the dirty condition of the station and equipment.

    On December 14, 1967 firefighters notified Township Trustees that they would declined any pay and would continue to work as non-paid volunteers. Members advised Trustees that they would rather see a member paid to perform janitorial services. Ralph Binckley was elected Chief of the Fire Department.

    1968 began fund raising efforts that had been declining since the late 1950’s began again with pancake breakfast. These breakfast became popular with the summer recreational traffic and took place each Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

    1969 was the year Deerfield purchase a new fire pumper. It was delivered in early 1970. The truck was on a Chevrolet chassis with an American Fire Trucks conversion. The truck had a 750 gallon per minute pump and a 1000 gallon water tank. Pancake breakfast fund raising continued in the summer.

    In 1970 CB radios were still the main communications between the station and the emergency vehicles. Deerfield used channel 12 and was receiving complaints from a Channel 12 Club in the Alliance area that we interfered with their clubs activities. The cable to our base radio was cut several times and we were unable to communicate due to other radios transmitting when ever Deerfield Fire tried to transmit. It was decided that we need a better system. All of our fund raising money went to purchasing a 100 watt radio on VHF frequency 154.130 to be able to communicate with Ravenna Fire Department that operated Portage Fire Control. Pancake breakfast fund raising continued in the summer.

    In 1971 communications were again improved when the Department purchase a base radio on the VHF frequency and added a 2nd frequency 154.235. Pancake breakfast fund raising continued in the summer.

    In 1972 fund raising provided rescue equipment in the form of metal saws and a porta power with spreading jaws. Pancake breakfast fund raising continued in the summer.

    In 1973 the members began training for arson detection and improved water rescue capabilities with a small boat and dragging hooks. Pancake breakfast fund raising continued in the summer.

    In 1974 several members took advance first aid training as emergency medical calls became a bigger part of the call load. Pancake breakfast fund raising continued in the summer.

    In 1975 a large portion of the pancake breakfast savings was used to purchase tone activated radio receivers to alert members from home. Pancake breakfast fund raising continued in the summer but with the call load increasing it was becoming difficult.

    In 1975 the Department became more active in the Portage County Firefighters Association with Chief Binkley becoming the President and Deerfield Secretary Miles Felmly becoming the Secretary of the County Association. Deerfield pushed for a more active firefighters field day and the event became popular with other departments belonging to the County Association. Deerfield took first place in the water barrel fight and the hose lay.

    During 1975 and 1976 there was minor friction as the Department divided into two factions. One that wanted to remain a firefighting force that also administered first aid but relied on outside services to provide ambulance transportation and another that wanted to expand into ambulance service along with firefighting.

    In 1975 training requirements increased and pancake breakfast fund raising continued in the summer. Members were becoming tired of fund raising due to the time required to train and answer calls.

    In 1976 private ambulance services operated from funeral homes began to go out of service due to the training requirements that were coming into force by the State. The division between the faction wanting ambulance service from the fire department and the faction not wanting it became greater.

    December 1977 Miles Felmly was elected Chief of the Department replaceing Ralph Binckley who had served since January 1968. Felmly imediately began the process of starting ambulance serice .

    In January of 1978 ambulance service began through the Fire Department with the first ambulance being a military surplus vehicle converted by members into an ambulance.

    The Department continued to grow and change. In 1982 William (Chuck) Little servied as Chief. From March 1982 through October 1984 Fred Duval servied as Chief. From October 1984 through January 1986 Paul Hetherington servied as Chief. From January 1986 through April 1996 Fran Puck servied as Chief. In May of 1996 Miles Felmly returned as Chief and serves in that capacity currently.

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