History of Bath Fire Department
The Bath Fire Department was formed in 1945 as a volunteer organization, by a few members of our community, under the leadership of Ross Duncan who was shortly succeeded by Don Cramer as Chief. This small group of people responded to fires out of two stations, one in Ghent and one at Hammonds Corners (Ira Rd.), by leaving their jobs or using their time off work in the interest of protecting the Township. "Neighbors helping neighbors" was the driving force.
As the years passed and the community grew, it became apparent that there was a need to expand the services of the fire department by adding career personnel, better equipment and emergency medical services while still utilizing the talents and manpower of community volunteers.
The two stations were combined and our Bath Road Station was first built on this site in 1951, with our first career fire-fighters being employed in 1952. They worked 24 hours on duty then 24 hours off duty, rotating every other day.
1962 marked the beginning of the Bath Rescue Squad. Then in 1964 the north wing of the station was added and Larry Hershey, a charter member of Bath Fire Department, replaced Tom Paulett as fire chief . The technology of the day for response notification was a system of ringing telephones in the fire-fighters' private homes that alerted the volunteers that were needed for an emergency. As technology advanced, the demands to continually train and educate fire-fighters was paramount and keeping our equipment updated has been a real challenge for those involved.
In July of 1992 - Gordon Hartschuh became the fire chief and shortly there-after, our joint operations out of Station 2 began with Copley Fire Department. The fire department today employees 46 people and we can electronically communicate with them over most of northern Ohio. We are again operating out of two stations, maintain a fleet of 13 emergency response and support vehicles and provide both emergency and non-emergency services to Bath Township, along with our automatic response communities.
Jim Paulett was named Fire Chief effective January 1, 2001, replacing Chief Hartschuh who retired April 15, 2000. Chief Paulett brought exceptional people skills to his position and emphasized communication and cooperation. Chief Paulett retired in spring 2011 and Assistant Fire Chief Tim Gemind was named Interim Fire Chief.
On January 1, 2012 Walter H. Hower was appointed Fire Chief by the Board of Trustees. Walt began his career with Bath in 1987 as a part time firefighter and rose to the rank of part time Captain in 2003. Walt follows the example of his father, James Hower, who had been with the fire department since 1965 and achieved the rank of part-time Assistant Chief.