Ohio Township Starting Volunteer Fire Company

GREENVILLE TOWNSHIP, Ohio --

It was a unanimous vote Wednesday evening by the Greenville Township Trustees to reject the City of Greenville's latest contract proposal for continued fire protection in the township.

Instead, the townshp trustees voted to form their own volunteer fire department to provided the rural township area with fire protection beginning Jan. 1, 2008.

Trustee chairman Mike Stegall said, "It's like a bad marriage," indicating it's time for a divorce from Greenville.

Motions to establish the fire department, set aside funding, and naming an acting chief and acting assistant chief were quickly approved.

The acting fire chief is Larry Durkee, the retired fire chief of St. Marys Township in Auglaize County. Acting assistant chief is Darke County insurance man Chris Norris.

"I would do nothing to jeopardize the safety of my family and friends," assured Stegall.

The trustees said they already have 19 fully trained volunteers to staff the department.

Two fire trucks that Greenville uses on all their fire runs belong to the Greenville Township trustees. The trucks go back to the township once the contract expires Dec. 31, 2007.

Greenville firefighter Bob Wheeler, President of the the firefighters local, left the township meeting upset. "I just hope it doesn't hurt any citizens," said Wheeler, who is a township resident himself. "Don't look at the training, look just at the response time," noted Wheeler, "From coming from your house to the station, verses having individuals on station 24 hours a day."

Greenville City Fire Department has been providing fire protection in the rural township since 1946.

Steve.Baker@WHIOTV.com

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