Author: Leslie Korenko

This siren was mounted on the roof of Kelley’s Hall and be seen in the KI History Museum.Type your paragraph here.

The first fire chief, Howard Brown, was appointed by the Village on April 3, 1947, as a result of a devastating fire that burned the Fred Dischinger farmhouse the year before, in which the Walter Brown family was living. However, the Volunteer Fire Dept. was not officially established by the Village until December 7, 1966 via Ordinance No. 166.

This great article appeared in the Island newspaper SeaScape, August 1989: "The Kelleys Island’s Fire Department was formed approximately in 1941. Past known fire chiefs: Howard Brown, Lloyd Marchky, Henry Beatty, Lawrence Betzenheimer, Ronald Beatty, David Phinney, John Kilko, Wayne Finger, Roy Fox, Steve James [and later Jim St. Julian, Jack Hostal and, currently, Bobby Skeans]. Our Fire Department has made great strides in the past three years under the leadership of Chief James St. Julian. New members have completed and passed the 36 hours of training and a grateful thanks to these new members! John Kilko is now our assistant chief, Claude Smith is Jr. Captain and Rob Holmes is Lieutenant. Additional members are Robert Coulon, Shane Delvin [Delin?], Gary Finger, Robert Golias, Ken Neufer, Joanne Wilson, Wayne Neumann and Kim Watkins. The Department is now Class A. Training sessions are on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 7 pm. Equipment consists of a 1981, 1,000 gallon pumper; a 1967, 750 gallon pumper; a 1976 brush truck; an air compressor for the 4 MSA air packs; and fire clothing. A $7.000 Jaws of Life apparatus is on order. Recently, the department raised $2,500 and donations are greatly appreciated. A heartfelt thanks to our fire department members and [I] am grateful for the pride they have in their unit. Information was supplied to our anonymous writer by Chief St. Julian."
So, how were fire reports handled? Before 911, there were four red phones (located in the Island Market, the VFW, the Village Pump and in the Fire chief’s home). When a fire was called in, someone would go over to the Town Hall and push the red button to activate the siren which required a 440 volt installation.  There were actually two sirens, one on the roof of Kelley’s Hall and the other one, in a different style, on the water tower. Today we call 911 to report a fire and our Fire Dept. and EMS are paged with the location.

This red button was used to active the sirens.