With nearly 500 people attending, the first celebration of the Westerville Division of Fire's 150th anniversary has been declared a success.

With nearly 500 people attending, the first celebration of the Westerville Division of Fire's 150th anniversary has been declared a success.

"I think everybody had a really good time," firefighter Tom Ullom said. "There was a lot of joking and things about the fire department."

Prior to the event, dubbed A Night of Heroes Gala, 490 people had registered to attend, and a mix of current and retired firefighters, city officials, residents and businesses all boosted the event's numbers Feb. 20 at Villa Milano.

"It was just nice seeing the huge turnout we had. City folks were there; local businesses were there," Ullom said. "There were just a lot of folks there."

The gala was the first of three events organized over the past two years to celebrate the department's sesquicentennial.

In addition to showcasing the fire department's history, the event helped to raise money for the Westerville Firefighters' Memorial, set to be included in First Responders' Park, currently under construction next to the Main Street fire station.

Ullom said a silent auction of more than 70 items helped generate at least $5,000 for the memorial, a bronze sculpture titled "The Crossing" that was designed in honor of fallen Westerville firefighter David Theisen.

Thus far, the Westerville Firefighters' Memorial Fund has helped raise more than $50,000 for the memorial, which will cost about $153,000, Ullom said.

Other money brought in by the Night of Heroes Gala will be used to fund two additional events planned to celebrate the fire division's 150th anniversary.

Up next is the Sound the Siren Fire Expo and Muster. The event, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 14 at Hoff Woods Park, 556 McCorkle Blvd., will showcase antique fire trucks and equipment.

The final celebration will occur during the department's annual fire-prevention open house, from 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 3. The event, called Grillin' and Chillin', is a burger cook-off pitting local chefs against a fire department chef.

More information about the fire department's sesquicentennial events is available at www.celebratewestervillefire150.org.

For more information about the Westerville Firefighters' Memorial, visit www.wffmemorial.org.