GREENVILLE – On Wednesday, Dec. 14, 1932, people awoke to tragic front-page news.
The Daily Advocate ran a story about the death of Greenville Firefighter Edward E. Grossman. He died from injuries sustained in the line of duty, Dec. 13, 1932, while fighting a fire at the Sherman White & Co. Poultry Plant on Martin Street, Dec. 12. Grossman was the first firefighter killed in the line of duty in the history of the City of Greenville Fire Department (GFD).
In honor of his death, Grossman was recently posted on the Miami Valley Firefighters/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Memorial Association’s Facebook page. The association was started in 1990. from the efforts of Dayton Firefighter Rodrick Longpre’ and Box 21 Rescue Squad member, Lieutenant Darrell Perkins. The idea behind the effort was to ‘Never Forget’ the men and women in the fire/rescue and (EMS) throughout the Miami Valley area. as confined to nine counties.
“We simply had to draw a line somewhere,” Perkins said. “We also chose to remember all fire and EMS people from the area, so the names include, full and part time workers and volunteers.”
For the first several years, the program was a gathering to serve as an opportunity for reflection on the jobs and services provided to the cities and towns served. The annual gatherings turned into a permanent monument, created by artist Jon Barlow Hudson. The monument is located at Stubbs Memorial Park, in Centerville, and was dedicated in October, 2010. The memorial lists 71 names, dating back to 1857, including Grossman.
“Rod and I are often asked why we go to all of this effort, and still, after 26 years, continue to hold this annual event? It is because we feel that it is important to remember all of those lost from this area. During our efforts, we have had family members ranging from spouses to grand children introduce themselves and thank us for what we are doing to keep the memory of their loved ones alive,” Perkins said.
In that line of thinking, it is never a bad time to think fire safety. Captain Daniel Myers, of the GFD explained that fires are a higher risk in the winter. Hypothermia is something to watch for and there is the problem with water freezing.
“We use water to put fires out,” he said. “Hose lines and hydrants freeze. Every year, beginning in September through the winter, we check the hydrants, but there are more than one hundred in the city.”
When a big snowfall occurs, the GFD asks that folks with hydrants on their properties to please dig around them, so they are visible.
Another danger is the improper use of heaters.
“Make sure you are using heaters safely and follow the manufacturer’s directions,” Myers said. “Also, keep your chimneys and stoves clean and if possible, have them inspected by a professional to ensure proper working condition.”
“It is important to remind the public, as well as ourselves, just how important the services that we provide are, and also to remember those who have answered their last alarm,” Perkins said.
To find Grossman’s entry on the Firefighters/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Memorial Association’s Facebook page, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/226886486071/.