The Canal Winchester Times

Madison Township Fire Department

Oct. 7 open house will mark 70 years of service

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The Madison Township Fire Department is celebrating its 70th year of service with an open house and reunion.

From 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7, Fire Station 182 at 6600 Gender Road will host the free event, which will also kick off Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 7-13.

"We'll have attractions for kids and grown-ups as well, including a fire department bounce house, live demonstrations, a MedFlight helicopter, fire station tours and the Safety House," Fire Safety Inspector Scott Hite said. "We'll also have refreshments and other activities."

The Safety House is a fire simulator that allows firefighters to show children and adults how to survive a house fire.

According to Hite, Fire Prevention Week will conclude with a reunion of past and present Madison Township firefighters and their families.

"This was an idea that some of our firefighters came up with and it will be really neat to get as many people as we can together and hear the discussions about how things used to be done," Interim Fire Chief Robert Bates said. "When we started, the fire department was all volunteers, so that'll be really interesting to get together and see people and hear about their different experiences."

Bates hopes for a large turnout.

Unfortunately, for department members, one of their recent comrades won't be at the event.

Firefighter Ron Thomas died of brain cancer in 2010, according to Bates.

Thomas was recently honored by the International Association of Fire Fighters at an event in Colorado Springs.

His son, Zach, a current Madison Township firefighter, joined his brother, Seth, along with Bates and other firefighters to participate in the ceremonies.

"Ron was extremely well-respected and a true professional through and through," Bates said. "The IAFF recognizes the type of cancer he suffered from as a line-of-duty death because of how common it is with firefighters."

During the Colorado ceremony, 154 firefighters were honored for giving their lives in service of others. Bates said about 1,200 people attended the ceremony from across the U.S. and Canada.

He said the Madison Township department has been fortunate, although there have been many injuries, some serious, Thomas is the only member lost to a line-of-duty death in the department's history.

Past firefighters and their families interested in participating in the reunion can call the firehouse for details at 614-836-5373.

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