Fire Department History
In April 1952, a meeting was called for any persons interested in forming a fire department for the community. The meeting was held at the Lake Cable Clubhouse with more than 40 individuals showing interest in helping to form a new department. Those individuals started state fire training with the beginning classes having between 40 and 45 in attendance. By the time the class concluded in September of 1952, the numbers had dwindled to just twenty two (22) volunteers. This body organized the Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Department Number 1 to be housed in the Lake Cable area.
On October 11, 1952 the Jackson Township Board of Trustees agreed to accept two plats in the Lake Cable area from Dueber S. Cable for the construction of a fire station. On November 29, 1952 the Jackson Township Board of Trustees authorized advertising for a new fire engine.
Over the winter of 1952-53, the volunteers canvassed the township soliciting donations to build a fire station. In the spring of 1952, construction was started. By far the majority of the labor was performed by the new volunteers using the funds and donated material to build a three bay facility. The building was completed in August 1953. On August 29, 1953 the Jackson Township Board of Trustees agreed to accept the new fire truck plus "extra" equipment order for a total of $13,660.
The new department responded to their first fire call on October 13, 1953, which was a swamp fire on Huckleberry Road. Their first building fire was on December 10, 1953 on Everhard Road "west of Wise". This fire did approximately $1,500 damage.
In 1958, a second station in the township was started. It was constructed by the same means as Station 1, using the volunteers for the labor and donated materials. The Jackson Township Board of Trustees provided some funding to assist the final construction of this facility. The station was completed in 1960 and a 1955 pumper from Station 1 was relocated to this station.
The first Fire Protection Levy for the department was placed on the ballot in November 1960 for .5 mill and was successfully passed. Some of the funds generated from this levy were used to purchase an 85-foot ladder truck. In February 1963, the new ladder was delivered by railroad from the American LaFrance Company in Elmira, New York. This vehicle was removed from service in 1997.
In the beginning, the volunteers performed all their duties, training and special projects to the community for a compensated fee of $1 per year. In January 1964, the Board of Trustees raised the "annual" pay for Firefighters to $15, Captains $25, Assistant Chiefs $65, Station Chiefs $75 and the Township Fire Chief received $250.
1992 - 1994
In 1992, Station 2 was remodeled and full-time firefighters were assigned to this building. The same action followed in 1994 for Station 3, which was also remodeled.
2011 - 2021
In March, 2011, Tracy Hogue took over as the fire chief with the retirement of Ted Heck after 39-years. As a lifelong resident of the township, Chief Hogue was well suited to step in; he had spent several years overseeing the Fire Prevention Bureau, which put him in contact with many of the community businesses and involved in most of the development and growth that has taken place throughout the township.
2021 - Present
In March, 2021, Tim Berczik stepped into the role as fire chief. Just like his predecessor, Chief Berczik grow up and graduated in Jackson Township. After serving 8-years in the U.S. Air Force, he returned home and continued to serve others as a member of our department. He too, spent several years oversee the fire prevention bureau before becoming the fire chief. Working with other leaders through the community, as well as the department, he is leading the organization back to some sort of new ‘norm’.
Through the years the Jackson Township Fire Department has strived to improve its services to the community. This has been reflected not only in the expansion of facilities but in the training its firefighters have obtained which is directly reflected in the Fire Department's ability to obtain a Class 2 insurance rating. This rating has resulted in lower insurance premiums paid for fire insurance coverage.
Consistent with the rest of the county, the 2020-21 COVID-19 pandemic hit Jackson Township pretty hard. The firefighter/paramedics dealt with the continuous changes and issues. Everything from the use of personal protective equipment, station and vehicle decon procedures, to the cancellation of safety programs were challenges for all. Firefighters deal with adversity better than most people and we are glad to hopefully be on the downside of this ordeal.
As of June, 2021, the Jackson Township Fire Department consists of five full-time fire stations, 67 full-time and 31 part-time firefighters, who answer more than 6,500 calls annually. We operate four 1500 GPM pumpers, a 100+ foot 1500 GPM aerial tower, a 50 foot 1500 GPM quint (pumper), six paramedic equipped ambulances, a 3,000 gallon tanker, a heavy rescue vehicle, grass truck, boat and all-terrain vehicle. The department is blessed to be supported finically by both a 7.5 mill levy and EMS transport dollars.