On August 18, 2016, the New Carlisle Historical Society sponsored a presentation by Ron Manemann at the New Carlisle Public Library tracing the history and development of the New Carlisle Fire Department. Manemann, who is a 50-year veteran of the department and owns the Honeycreek Fire Museum, traced the history of the department back to its founding in 1810.
One of the first things that the New Carlisle founders did in1810 after establishing the town was to make a plan for the fire department. They passed an ordinance that every adult in the community would own a fire bucket. When the fire alarm sounded, all residents were required to respond. They could only miss a fire if they were ill; however, they were still required to provide their bucket for those fighting the blaze.
By 1859, the town leaders needed something more. They purchased a fire pumper from Piqua for $250. The pump required six to eight men to operate it. During a fire, water was pumped from cisterns that all homeowners had, which contained between 1000 to 2500 gallons of water. There was no formal training, so everyone in town could be a firefighter. The firefighters had no masks or other safety equipment.
By 1881, the village had grown considerably. There were numerous business, schools and churches along with an increased resident population. Once again, the community leaders decided an upgrade in equipment was necessary and purchased a steam fire engine from Mansfield Machinery Company. Horses pulled the new engine. Since a cold steam engine would not work, the department purchased a stove to heat the water and circulate it through the boiler on the pumper. The stove was manned 24/7. The department also kept wood and shavings on the truck for heating the steam engine when at a fire. When a fire broke out, the fire station manager disconnected the heater and the engine left the station fully equipped to fight a fire. The engine pumped 250 gallon of water per minute. In order to provide water for the blazes, the community construction a cistern at every main intersection in town, which held 25,000 gallon of water. In addition, to manning the heater in the fire station, the fire station manager was responsible for refilling the cisterns after a fire, obtaining wood for the heater, and checking for fire hazards and chimney safety in town.
The first motorized fire pumps were purchased in 1924. The community bought two Model T Fords equipped with pumps on the front. This was also the first time chemicals were used to fight smaller blazes. The soda-acid extinguisher used a reaction between sodium bicarbonate solution and sulfuric acid to expel pressurized water onto a fire.
During 1928, New Carlisle purchased their first ladder wagon from Troy.
At some point in 1935, the community built an elevated water tower on South Adams Street and installed fire hydrants and underground pipes to supply water for fire fighting.
In 1937, one of the area funeral homes donated a hearse to the village. The hearse was then equipped with a 250-gallon tank, hose and tools. It was the first metal firefighting vehicle.
Over the next several years, as advancements in firefighting equipment improved, the village and surrounding townships upgraded their equipment.
By 1969, Trostel Chapman was providing ambulance service to the community. However, they recognized that additional training was needed to provide first aid in addition to the ambulance. In exchange for the donation of the ambulance to the village, the village agreed to provide ambulance services and first aid through the fire department. In July 1969, the first village provided service was available. However, the first aid training was minimal. In addition, the department was manned by volunteers who were paid $3 - $4 per run.
By 1973, Manemann realized that the fire fighters were under trained. He enrolled in a paramedic program offered by Good Samaritan Hospital and became the first certified cardiac medic in Clark County. Many of his fellow firefighters soon enrolled in the program.
Not only were NC Firefighters instrumental in getting the proper training to serve the community, they took the initiative to raise funds for much needed equipment by the department. Over several years, the firefighters went door to door throughout the community to raise over $57,000 to purchase ambulances and the Jaws of Life. According to Manemann, “The people whose life and property we were working to save enjoyed contributing to the New Carlisle Fire Department.”
The Fire Department is now funded by four permanent levies that provide operating and capital improvement funds for the fire and emergency medical services.
To learn more about the New Carlisle Fire Department, visit the Honeycreek Fire Museum at 311 N Adams Street. The museum, which contains over 300 pieces of historical firefighting equipment, is open by chance and appointment. An appointment can be made by calling (937) 845-0480.