Robert G. McClaran - Fire Chief

Protecting Families And Property Since 1951​​​​​​​​​​



     From the early 1930's to 1951, Orange Township and the Village of Nankin was covered for fire protection by a community truck which was located in Ashland. It carried only 500 gallons of water and had a 500 G.P.S pump. The main problem was the lack of water.

     In 1951, a group of citizens ask the Orange Grange to help in seeking what interest there might be in 
forming a local Fire Department. The Grange asked one township trustee (Wallace Canfield), one grange member (Robert Steiner), and three Nankin residents, (Walter McQuillen, Gene Hart and Frank Lutz), to discuss how best they could help the Ashland Community Truck. From this meeting, it was decided  to hold an open meeting for the entire township. 

     From the Community Meeting in February of 1951, it was decided that they use high pressure fog, backed by high capacity portable pumps. Also at the meeting, Paul Edwards, Frank Lutz Roy Kettering, Norman Leininger, Eugene Fluke, Carl Stackhouse and Berlin Laughery, were asked to act as directors and form a Fire Department. These directors decided to incoperate and sell stock at $25.00 a share to any property owner in Orange Township. The yearly dues were $2.00 per stockholder to help maintain equipment.

     The first Fire Chief was Mirl Jenkins, who served until December of 1958 when he retired. In the spring of 1952, the Volunteer Firemen were organized. On April 17, 1952, they had their first meeting. The men built equipment and other things to help the company. The company was kept in the Orange Township House. Shortly after this, the Ladies Auxilliary was formed. With adding the Auxilliary, many of the projects could not have been completed.

     The second Fire Chief appointed was Jack Stiebritz who served until 1970, when he retired. Duane Keener was then appointed Fire Chief and served until December 1978.

     During the summer of 1951, a truck chassis was purchased along with a high pressure pump that was built into the first fire truck. In 1954, a tanker was built but replaced in 1956. In 1958, a front mounted pump was added to the tanker and in 1959 a new chassis was purchased for the high pressure pump. In 1970, a stainless steel tank and truck which would hold 1800 galllons of water was purchased. In 1974, a used American LeFrance that carried 500 gallons of water with a 1000 G.P.H. pump was bought. 

    In 1976, the department built a tanker on a used truck which had a 1500 gallon tank, a 750 G.P.H, front mounted pump. It replaced the 1958 front mounted 500 gallon pump with a 1200 gallon tank truck. Frank "Hank" Steiner who became the fourth Fire Chief in December 1978 and served until November of 1987. Art Barr became the fifth Fire Chief continued until July of 2001.

     In order to make improvements to the Fire Department, money projects were brought up and completed. Several we as follows:

        * Some of the Airport property was farmed and on April 6, 1978 the last of the corn was sold for $1,889.20.
        * February 11, 1978 the Ladies Auxilliary served food for John Deere Day, at the Joint Vocatonal School. They
           also served food at the John Deere Dealership February 10, 1979.
        * The fire dept also helped with tractor pulls in August of 1980 to 1983.
        * Magazines were sold in August of 1982. 
        * June 6, 1985, then firemen went to All Plant Inc. and made up 162 bottles of fertillizer as part of a fund 
           raiser to sell for $1.00 a bottle.
        * A fund raiser ball game with WNCO was held August 18, 1985 and made $72.25.
        * Many Election Day Spaghetti dinners were served and continue at present.
        * We served as fire watch at horse shows at the Ashland Fair Grounds in May of 1988.
        * In October 1988 we had a garage sale.
        * Then in July of 1994, we made $2600 with a Bowl-A-Thon to get new pagers.

     Thanks to the 1.7 mil tax levy originally approved by the Orange Township voters in 1989, we have not had to spend to much time rasing money to improve our department. We have also recieved grants that have helped us purchase equipment.

     From July 2001 to October 2001, Phil Crossen was appointed Acting Chief until the end of the month, when Rob McClaran was appointed Chief and continues serving in that capacity at present.

     The trucks we are presently using are as follows: In 1959 we purchased #3241, a Dodge grass/utility truck. It was the only new truck ever bought.  #3212, a 1964 Ford Pumper was purchased for $5000. #3222, a 1964 Chevy Tanker was purchased in July 1992 at an auction for $1,964.53. The tank that is presently in it was made at Pioneer Joint Vocational School. #3224  a 1971 GMC Tanker was purchased in 1993 at Polk Twp. in Galion Ohio for $6,303.25. It had 1,200 miles on it and has a capacity of filling 200 G.P,M and emptying 200 gallions in one minute. #3214 is a 1986 Ford Diesel. It was purchased in 1998 for $35,000. It has a 1000 gallon capacity with a 1000 G.P.M. pump. Our newest truck was purchased in July of 2002 for $12,500. It"s a 1999 GMC 3/4 ton 4X4 pick up truck that will be converted to a grass buggy.

     Your Fire Department continues to work on improving the service to the community. In May of 2000, we started our First Responder Service. Six volunteers have been trained. Because they lived within the township, they can arrive at the scene of an accident or health emergency  to assist Ashland's Squad. Chief McClaran hopes to be able to increase the number of volunteers and that someday in the near future, might be able to build a new fire station.
          Story witten from "Nankin/Orange Twp Fire Dept 50th Anniversary" Guide Book - August 24, 2002


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