South Point fire department marks 75th anniversary

Published 9:51 am Thursday, August 27, 2009

SOUTH POINT — It started out as a community effort in the truest sense of the word. In 1926, just three years before the Great Depression began, the village of South Point bought a Seagraves fire engine for $1,800 and named Marion Brubaker as its fire chief.

It was Brubaker’s job to get the truck to a fire and then the village residents would respond as adjunct firefighters. Then, about eight years later, the village organized its own volunteer fire department that continues to serve the community today.

Now there are 30 volunteer firefighters, six associates and two juniors in the department headed by Chief Richard B. Stevens, who was appointed to head the department on March 1, 1986.

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On Saturday, the department will go all-out to mark the department’s 75th anniversary with a day of events for the firefighters and the village.

The day kicks off with a parade at 10 a.m. starting from Fourth Street and ending up at the fire station. Other volunteer units and civic groups will participate including floats with the current Miss Spark, Grace Simpson, a student at South Point Elementary, and Miss Flame, Amber Goodall, a South Point High senior.

“From the fire station, we will have quite a few events throughout the day,” Debbie Stevens, firefighter and coordinator of the event, said.

At the station there will be a cookout of free hot dogs, hamburgers and the fixings before an afternoon of Firefighters Olympics competitions, ending in a tug of war.

At dusk fireworks will be set off at the field by the station. Afterwards guests can sit around and reminisce, Debbie Stevens said.

The history of the department is one of continual growth and got a great boost in 1962 when a levy was passed by the village. That led to the building of a two-bay fire station on Eisenhower Drive and the purchase of a 1962 America La France pumper and the first protective equipment. The department has also been transformed from an all-male unit to men, women and juniors serving.

“We try to do all we can to see that these men and women have the best fire and Haz-mat training we can get through the state of Ohio and also the new Nims program,” Chief Stevens said.

A special invitation is issued to all firefighters and the community as well to attend the anniversary celebration.

“All former South Point firefighters, we would like for them to attend,” Debbie Stevens said. “This day is about them too as it is for the current firefighters. Everybody is invited.”