The Laurelville Volunteer Fire Department was formed on July 1, 1913 after the Village Council passed an ordinance creating the Volunteer Fire Company.

Their officers and members were as follows:
L.A. McClelland, Chief 
Charles White, Engineer
Frank Dawson, 1st Assistant Engineer
Harry Wharf, 2nd Assistant Engineer
Liberty Jinks, Nozzle Man
Levi Scott, Nozzle Man

This fine group incurred $ 45.65 in expenses and receipted for $ 74.05 their first six months in operation according to their treasurer Harry Wharf and reported on December 31,1913. Their first engine was a horse drawn vehicle operated by the 2 engineers. The first street carnival held in 1923 netted $ 408.70.

The fire department purchased their first motorized apparatus was a 1921 REO purchased from the Howe Fire Apparatus Co. The second engine, a Seagraves pumper was purchased in 1938. A used tanker truck was replaced in 1957 with the purchase of a new cab & chassis from Sweptson Chevrolet in Laurelville.

In 1968 the members custom built their own fire truck with side rails and bed parts from the Chillicothe fire department. They purchased a new F750 ford cab and chassis, a Barton American 500 gpm front mount pump, took the used parts they received and with a lot hard labor had their own custom pumper that remained in service until 2000.

It was not until 1977 that the fire department purchased its third factory built fire apparatus from Pierce MFG in Wisconsin. The 1977 mini-attack 4x4 with a 300-gpm pump was bought for $25,000. This unit was used for first attack on structure fires, being it was smaller than the engines carrying 1500 gallon of water, it could respond much quicker and in most cases was able to knock down the fire until an
engine got on the scene with more water.

In 1986 the department purchased a 1000-gpm pumper from the FMC Corporation in Florida for the sum of $68,000. The purchase of this unit allowed the retirement of the 1957 engine. The 1938 Seagraves was restored in 1993 and is currently in the fire museum in Chillicothe. The purchase of this engine allowed the department to drop the 1977 ISO class 8 rating to a class 6 rating in 1991 within the Village of Laurelville.

In July of 1994 the department purchased 1995 Pierce fire engine with a 1250-gallon pump and tank from Pierce MFG and Finely Fire Apparatus from McConnelsville, Ohio.

For many years the department furnished fire protection to Benton, Saltcreek, Perry townships and the Village of Laurelville with one station and about twenty-five members. This meant giving fire protection to 4500 people scattered over 120 square mile area.

In December 1994 another 32 square miles was added to our fire protection area when we contracted to protect Eagle Twp. in Vinton County. This area borders the southern boundary of Saltcreek Twp.

In 1988 the department was under a financial crunch and went to voters for help. They passed and additional half mil levy for fire protection for each township that we cover. Fire Chief Butch Valentine decided that we should give something back to the people that have helped the department over the years and one way to do that was to give them better
response when they call for help.

In 1991 the department was able to lower the ISO rating in the village from an 8 to a 6, but the townships stayed at the current 10 rating. In order to lower the rating in the townships a water supply system need to be established. In order to make this happen, we started looking for established water sources, the first being ponds in all the townships. With help from the hocking water and soil conservation office, dean Weber in charge and the help from holiday industries we put in our first dry-hydrant the spring of 1992 in the lake at Holiday Haven which holds over 1 million gallons of water. To date we have a total of eight dry-hydrants in our fire protection area.
In March of 1996, after 16 months of hard work recruiting and training volunteers, the department opened its first sub-station in Benton Twp., just outside of South Bloomingville on state Rt. 664. Eleven volunteers from that township currently man station #2. The station has three fire apparatus. In November of 1996 with the help of CDGB grant from Vinton County the department opened its second sub-station in Eagle Township. Four volunteers from that township operating one fire apparatus currently man station #3.

With this project behind us we went back to ISO for an update for the townships in December of 1996. What needed to take place is a rural water movement where the fire department must be able to deliver a 250-gpm flow of water without interruption for a two-hour period. That means a total of 30,000 gallons of water has to be moved from a water supply and delivered to a fire scene non-stop for two hours.


In May of 1997 with the help of a tanker shuttle from neighboring departments we did just that. This information was submitted along with current records of the Fire Department to ISO in Syracuse, N.Y. The rating is now a 6/9 which means all residents with in 3 mile of station #1 or station #2 are in the class 6 rating. Residents outside the 3-mile are a class 9 rating. We are hoping the new rating will save the people of our fire district money on their property insurance.

In October of 1996 we took delivery of a 4-man cab 1997 Pierce Responder fire engine with a 1250-gpm pump and 1000 gal tank for $ 130,000. This unit can carry up to five fire fighters, allowing them to put on their SCBAs while going to the scene.

In 2000 we purchased a 2000-gallon tanker from Goodhope Fire Apparatus from Cullman, Alabama for $54,000 and retired the 1968 Ford engine/tanker. This unit is at station #2 in Benton Township.

In 2003 we purchased a 2003 Pierce Mini Rescue for $137,315.00. This vehicle has a 500 gpm pump with a 25-gallon foam tank and a Hurst Rescue unit. The 4-man cab allows more personnel to respond to automobile accidents or rescue situations. This vehicle allowed us to retire the 1977 Pierce Mini.

In December of 2003 we purchase a 1997 Ford diesel 350 pickup, which is used as a grass and rescue vehicle. This unit is equipped with a Kinman Rescue Tool and 250-gallon water tank. It also has a generator and scene lights. This unit replaced a 1978 grass unit and is located at station #2.

In November 2006 we took delivery of a 2007 Pierce Contender Engine purchased thru Finley Fire Equipment for a purchase price of $198,123. This unit has a 1250 GMP pump with 1250 gallons of water and also has a 10x10 Newton Dump valve. Station 1 in the village currently has 32 volunteers, bringing the total volunteer firemen to 47. Two 1250-gpm Pierce pumpers, a 2003 Pierce Mini Rescue, and a 4x4 grass truck are located at station one.

As does any other volunteer job it takes a lot of dedication on the part of the people to make a good department and I feel we have one of the very best in area.

Butch Valentine
Fire Chief