The Grafton Township Fire Department has an operational strength of 25 members that work out of the fire station located at 17109 State Route 83. The Administrative section consists of Fire Chief Bob Richards, Assistant Chief Tim Adams, Assistant Chief Dan Hlas, Captain Chris Emling, Lieutenant Chris Sukel, Lieutenant Mike Palmer, Lieutenant Andy Weigel, EMS Penny Palmer. We currently run with 2 rescue squads, 3 fire engines, 1 tanker, 1 pumper/tanker, and 1 grass fire truck. Besides serving the community with rescue calls, fire calls and motor vehicle accidents, we provide training in CPR, First Aid, fire extinguishers for our residents and businesses. We assist the county with Hazardous Materials, Dive Team Rescue and Arson Investigation within the county.
Several years ago we started billing for our rescue calls when transported to a hospital. Most insurances include in their premiums the cost for an ambulance transport, so it is our policy that when a resident is billed for an ambulance transport that we accept only what your insurance pays and the resident does not get billed for any co-pays or remaining balances. We have started billing in hopes to generate money, without raising taxes, to continue our training and to serve the community. With this money raised we have been able to send EMT’s to paramedic school so we can provide advance care on our rescue calls. We also were able to purchase a new ambulance as well.
On behalf of Chief Richards and the Grafton Township Fire Department members we would like to extend our sincere thank you for supporting us today and throughout the year, especially at our 2 pancakes breakfasts that are held on the 3rd Sunday in February and October.
The Grafton Township Volunteer Fire Department was first organized in May 1951. The Trustees appointed Ray Taylor as Fire Chief; Howard Wise and Maurice Hills as assistants. The first thing the trustees purchased was a 1936 Ford-Hanley pumper. Boots, coats and helmets were also purchased for 15 men. Other equipment was added later, including a tractor and tanker, ladders, hose, resuscitator and auxiliary pump. These were acquired by the firemen through door to door solicitations, fish fry’s, auction sales, ice cream socials, etc. Meetings were held in the town hall and equipment was housed in the adjacent garage.
In 1959 a new pumper was purchased by the trustees from Sutphen Company for $15,000, and the 1936 Ford Pumper was retired. In May 1961 the combined town hall and fire station was torn down to make way for road improvements. A new community hall and fire station was built at the present site, costing $55,000. This was made possible by the $28,000 in damages received from the State for the old building, and a 2.3 mil levy obtained when a “fire district” was created.
The kitchen in the new community hall was donated by the Belden Grange, who lost their hall through the road improvement. They also donated the drapes for the hall and chairs and tables to seat 100 people. The drapes have since been replaced by new ones purchased by the trustees. Those drapes have since been replaced by blinds in 2012. The new fire station and community hall was officially dedicated at an open house which was held December 10, 1961.
In July 1964 the fire department received, as a gift from the Belden Grange, approximately $7,500, with which to buy a new tractor to replace the old tractor on the tanker. New raincoats and hats were also part of the gift. A new Dodge powerwagon was purchased March, 1967 for the purpose of fighting grass fires. A new pumper was received in June of 1969. The Dodge grass fire truck was in service until March 2014, when the department purchased a new Ford grass fire truck.