Cardington’s first fire departments well staffed


I could not mention last week all of the gas stations that were in business in Cardington before I-71 opened, but I did miss one that I should have named. I sped up Gilead Street right past Maceyko’s Linc Gas Station.

I apologize.

I attended the 90th birthday reception for Leonard Benson and recall when he was the village fire chief. That prompted me to share the history of our fire department. Looking back in the history book I learned that for the first 50 years of its history, the village was virtually fire free. The entire town’s loss was about $7,000. In 1874 the fires became more numerous Up to then the Babcock extinguishers allowed most fires to be put out before they made much headway. In 1874 the town purchased a No 3 Selsby Fire Engine for $200 with two hose reels and 1,200 feet of rubber hose at a cost of $6,000. An additional $300 was spent to add a hook and ladder truck.

The volunteer company was big with 15 men in the engine company; two reel companies of 15 men each and hook and ladder company of 30 men.

J S Peck was the first fire chief. There were four drills a year plus any at the call of the chief. They were paid $1 a drill and members were paid 50 cents an hour to fight fires and the chief 75 cents. The hose company was paid $5 to clean up after the fire and the engineer received $50 a year Horses pulled the engine when there was a run on muddy roads But the machine was not moved from the building during and in town fire. In order to protect the town’s business district a tank under the engine supplied water from the mill race, the supply was termed in exhaustible. There were also five cisterns or wells supplying water. The fire house stood behind what was later Long’s Garage.

The village has seen many fires, one of which was the Slicer Buggy Works in 1912- where newspaper accounts credit the fire department with keeping it from being much more destructive. The department withstood the 1981 tornado and worked tirelessly during the oil boom.

As the years passed, the department was modernized and today there is a fleet of two engines, one tanker, and one brush truck. There are 21 members who are paid per run and the chief is paid a salary plus per run. The department is funded with a levy.

Since 1908 the village has had only four fire chiefs. Ralph “Sandy” Sanderson- for 63 years (Sandy was also a mail man and the town night watchman) When he died in 1959 his casket was carried to the cemetery on the fire engine. Jim Thomas was another long time dedicated member, serving from 1925 to 1967. He was called to about 1,300 runs. Leonard Benson served from 1959 to 1975 when Jim Ullom was named chief. He retired in 2014 when the present chief, Gary Goodman, took the reins. Cardington can be proud of its volunteer fire department and its history.

If anyone is interested in the complete history, contact me.

I don’t know about you, but I get a little lump in my throat when the fire engines pass by in a parade- I’m so proud of these dedicated volunteers.

90 years ago, August, 1925: The board of education of the Fulton-Lincoln district, in an effort to retain the schools of Fulton met with oficials of the state department of education to present their request for a charter to establish a three year high school. The request was denied by the department.

August, 1935: Gerald Long of Cardington, employed with HPM, Mount Gilead, narrowly escaped death while working at the plant. He was struck by a cast iron ring while preparing to move alarge casting on which machine work was being done. He suffered a badly fractured left leg.

August, 1945: PFC Roy Pollard died in England of Diphtheria. He had been ill for two days. He was a member of the 488th Ordinance Evacuating Co. and was believed to have been stricken on his way home. He had been stationed in England until shortly after D-Day when he was sent to France and his company was in the vicinity of Nuremburg on VE Day. He was the son of Mr.and Mrs. Clarence Pollard of Fulton.

PFC Kenneth Holt who spent 20 months in the European Theater of operations, was spending a 30 day furlough with his father, I A Holt.

August, 1985: Morrow County was said to be possibly setting on a huge atom smasher. The story noted that Governor Richard Celeste with recommendations from an Ohio State University Task Force was pushing for a location that included Marion, Morrow, Union and Delaware Counties for a 60-150 mile circular tunnel running 200 feet beneath the surface.

Courtesy Photo Sandy Sanderson, Cardington’s longest serving fire chief at 63 years. He was also the town watchman and carried mail. Photo Sandy Sanderson, Cardington’s longest serving fire chief at 63 years. He was also the town watchman and carried mail.


By Evelyn Long

for the Morrow County Sentinel

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