Editor’s note: This is the second part of a two-part article on the history of the Huber Heights and Wayne Township Fire Department. Part one was published in the February 4, 2016 edition of the Huber Heights Courier.
HUBER HEIGHTS — Chief Buck left in 1976 and Thomas Grile was hired as the new Township Fire Chief. Again, it was soon evident that daytime coverage was a challenge as the community continued to grow.
In March of 1977, a Sunday afternoon, a fire occurred in an apartment on Broomall St., coverage was still by volunteers, and the fire destroyed the apartment building. Immediately on Monday morning, Chief Grile went to the Township Trustees with the need, in a community the size of Wayne Township, for improved service.
The Trustees hired four Firefighter/Paramedics and a Fire Inspector who became part of the department in April. This made three personnel to work a 24-hour shift with 48 hours off, thus beginning the 24/48 coverage this still exists today. At that time, all volunteers would spend a minimum of 24 hours each month to supplement the three full time personnel, working the 24/48 work shift. The goal was to staff a medic unit, two personnel and an engine with at least three personnel, volunteers received a small hourly stipend to help defray their expenses and pay for time at the station. Three additional personnel were hired in 1978 and 1979.
For many years, the people in Wayne Township fought being annexed into the City of Dayton, and in 1981, the citizens voted to incorporate and become the City of Huber Heights. This change, allowed the Fire Department to be recognized as the Huber Heights Fire Department. During the early 1980’s, the department continued to add to the staff which made eight fulltime, supplemented with volunteers working part time in the stations.
Increased emergency activity and the need for supervision, three personnel were promoted to rank of Shift Battalion Chief to oversee the day to day operations on each 24-hour shift. Huber Heights was viewed as a leader, in the region, due to the innovation and creative ideas, such as: Automatic Mutual Aid agreements were made with neighboring departments, protective clothing became the standard, 800 mhz communications and computerization throughout the Fire Department became the standard, Insurance Services Offices Fire Ratings were reduced from a six rating to a two, this being the lowest in the state.
Emergency services continued to increase and the volunteers work became less efficient, and in 1987 City Council hired 15 part-time personnel to work 24/48work schedule to supplement the fulltime staff. In the three years that followed, five of the part time personnel went to fulltime. In the same year, Huber Heights and the City of Dayton cohabitated Station 12 in Dayton along Huber Heights southern border and each would respond to each community, this co-operation continued until 1993, when it was discontinued due to the growth in northern Huber Heights and personnel was needed to serve that area.
A tax increase was passed in 1994 by the citizens of Huber Heights to rebuild Station 22 (Brandt Pk. & Longford) and completely remodel Station 23 (Old Troy Pk.) and in 1996 both were completed. In 1998 Chief Grile retired after 22 years of service and Battalion Chief Carl Reedy assumed the position as Fire Chief. Consistent increases in service demands made it difficult to keep up financially and the city looked into other methods of funding. The decision to bill for EMS service could provide revenue for the additional personnel needed to keep up with the demand for service.
In 1999, six additional Firefighter/Paramedics, one Training Officer, one Fire Prevention Specialist and one additional Clerical staff position were hired.
In 2002, Fire Chief Carl Reedy retired and Battalion Chief Daniel Yoe was appointed as the Interim Fire Chief. Chief Yoe assumed this position until the summer of 2003 when Bill Ford, Fire Chief of the Dayton Airport was appointed as Fire Chief. Bill Ford served as Fire Chief until mid-2008 when he retired. Battalion Chief Kevin Foley assumed the role as Interim Fire Chief until mid-December of 2008, when Battalion Chief Robert Maimone was appointed Fire Chief.
2011 Chief Robert Maimone retired and Chief Mark Ashworth took the position in January of 2011. Many changes and improvements in the department have been made as the community still continues to grow, as indicated by the new fire station.
In 2012, after several severe storms, the City of Huber Heights installed the Code Red alert system. Now the residents can be alerted by phone and even cell phone if there is an Amber Alert or impending storm where we need to take cover.
Today, the Huber Heights Fire Division continues to provide recognized high level service delivery to the community as well as the region. Known throughout the region as aggressive in fire suppression, rescue and emergency pre-hospital care, Huber Heights continues to lead the area in all aspects of modern day fire department operations.
As in the past, the Fire Division continues to confront many challenges, ranging from budgetary issues to increased service demand from the community. In one respect, nothing has changed, as each of these challenges and issues must be addressed, but in another respect, everything has changed, as the entire landscape of the community as well as the Fire Department is certainly different. One thing remains the same, the community continues to support the Fire Division and the men and women of the organization continue to meet the service demands of the community.
Information contained in this historical article comes from the 1810-1976 History of Wayne Township, History of Huber Heights Fire Department Website, John Eaton and Fred Geiger.
The Wayne Township-Huber Heights Historical Society continues to gather information, documents, photos and stories about the history of our community. Please feel free to contact us if you have something you would like to share or donate. We can scan most documents and photos if you want to keep your originals. The Wayne Township-Huber Heights Historical Society is now located in Studebaker School. Contact Pat Stephens at (937) 974-5286 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.