Nine sworn in as Mifflin Township firefighters during 'unprecedented time'

Marla K. Kuhlman
ThisWeek group
Nine Mifflin Township firefighters were sworn in May 5 at Station 131, 475 Rocky Fork Blvd. in Gahanna. The firefighters include (from left) Thomas Coyne, Devon Lee, Nicholas Leidheiser, Nicholas Marcum, Scott Meyer, Jacob Naro, Henry Oberling, Gregory Parks and Marcus Rieneke. Playing the bagpipes is Mifflin Township firefighter Jordan Irwin.

Nine firefighters have joined the Mifflin Township Division of Fire, stepping into the boots of retiring first responders. 

"We are proud of this new class and extremely confident that they will continue to uphold the rich tradition of service excellence and personal care established by Mifflin Township,” fire Chief Frederick Kauser said. “This class is beginning their career at an unprecedented time, both in terms of the global pandemic and an intensifying need for public-service employees to establish trust and set the highest possible standard with the residents we serve.”  

The graduates were sworn in May 5 by township trustees Lynn Stewart, Dick Angelou and Kevin Cavener and fiscal officer Rick Duff at Station 131, 475 Rocky Fork Blvd. in Gahanna.  

They include Thomas Coyne of Lansing; Devon Lee and Nicholas Marcum of Gahanna; Nicholas Leidheiser, Scott Meyer, Jacob Naro, Gregory Parks and Marcus Rieneke of Columbus; and Henry Oberling of Westerville.  

The new firefighters will be divided equally among three, 24-hour shifts, according to Kauser. 

Roughly 25 firefighters are assigned to every 24-hour shift, serving approximately 40,000 residents in both Gahanna and the unincorporated portion of the township, he said. 

The hiring process included examining attributes expected of a firefighter such as physical capabilities, overall mental health, ability to work under pressure, technical knowledge and relational skills, Kauser said. 

The training also included more than 10 weeks of hands-on skills practice needed to respond safely and effectively to emergencies in the township. 

Kauser said drills covered emergency scenarios such as fire attack, search and rescue, hose evolutions, rapid intervention teams and emergency paramedical procedures.  

“Publicly funded agencies have felt the economic pinch over the last year, yet we are focused on serving our citizens with the highest level of service possible while still balancing the fiscal constraints placed on our fire division due to the pandemic,” said Stewart, chairperson of the board of trustees. “As our citizens welcome these new members to our fire division, we also want to recognize that they are filling the shoes of retired or soon-to-be retired firefighters in our service.  

“We thank all our firefighters, whether they are at the start of their career or transitioning to retirement.”    

The division has four fire stations and employs more than 80 full-time firefighter/paramedics, fire-prevention officers and dispatchers, according to Melissa Rapp, Mifflin public-information officer. 

In 2020, Mifflin Township firefighters responded to more than 11,095 calls for emergency service, making it one of the busiest suburban fire divisions in central Ohio, Rapp said. 

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekMarla