OWOSSO CHARTER TOWNSHIP FIRE Department is celebrating its 50th anniversary with an open house on Saturday, June 24. The public is welcome to attend, and enjoy some history, food, and even a free, fire truck ride.
Captain Brian Springsdorf took some time to share details about this department. He is shown beside the new 3,000-gallon Owosso Charter Township Super Tanker, emblazoned with a patriotic flag and eagle.
An immense amount of planning goes into ordering a new truck based on the specific needs of the fire department. It takes almost a year to receive the truck, once the order has been placed. With careful maintenance, the vehicles can last for upwards of twenty years or more.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor
A celebratory open house honoring the 50th anniversary of the Owosso Charter Township Fire Department is planned for Saturday, June 24 from noon to 3 p.m. at the new station at 410 S. Delaney Road. The public is welcome. There will be a number of events including fire truck rides, a fire hose, and plenty of hot dogs, hamburgers, and cold beverages.
A great deal happened fifty years ago in 1967. The Beatles released “All You Need is Love,” the “Newlywed Game” premiered on TV, and the 25th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted. Locally, on July 1, 1967, “about eight guys” formed what is now the Owosso Township Fire Department, located at 2998 W. M-21. Prior to this, the township purchased rural fire protection from the city of Owosso. During the process of establishing their own fire department, the men bought a used 500-gallon truck from the city of Owosso. It wasn’t until 1968 that the department was able to purchase a proper pumper engine. Under the early guidance of Dale Constine, the first chief, the fledgling station began to grow.
Obviously, a lot has happened in these fifty years. In May 2016, the new Owosso Township hall and fire station was completed on S. Delaney Road (Station 1). The Delaney Road facility works in conjunction with the station on N. M-52 (Station 2) to comprise the current Owosso Charter Township Fire Department. The duo of stations incorporates nine emergency vehicles, 26 firefighters, and covers 130 square miles including Owosso, New Haven, Rush, and the northern portion of Bennington townships. Both stations respond to all calls.
Brian Springsdorf has been a member of the department for 31 years. In a recent discussion, he emphasized the tremendous response time exhibited by the staff. He also shared that there are currently eight members, who have served 30 years or more each, who remain on active duty to this day. He stated that, collectively, all 26 members have accumulated over 475 years of service to Owosso Township Fire Department. He also talked about Chief Gerald Greger, who had served as fire chief for 30 years, and Dave Johnson, who became fire chief after Greger. Johnson has been with the department since 1971.
“It really is a brotherhood because people watch out for each other. We trust each other,” Springsdorf explained. “We’ve never lost a fireman.” This fact is likely due to the training. All firefighters are required by the state of Michigan to go through six months of Fire Academy training. Owosso Township offers training at its M-52 station house. On top of that, monthly training is further mandated by the state. “Wednesday nights, and Saturdays, we do a training,” Springsdorf shared. “It’s that refresher. Working the trucks. Working the jaws. It becomes an automatic response. We bring the young guys in, we train them, and train them, because someday, those will be the guys that take over.” The youngest firefighter is only 23.
Owosso Charter Township Fire Department is a paid-on-call fire department, simply meaning that the firefighters receive a minimal payment only when they are on duty. “No one is in it for the money,” said Springsdorf, though he emphasized how appreciative he is to have such tremendous support from the townships for providing them with state-of-the-art equipment, gear, technology, and training.
In describing modern fire calls, he shared, “Fires burn differently today then they use to. They’re faster. Use to be wood and cotton. Now, it’s all synthetics and plastics. Things burn faster and hotter.” He also said that one of the greatest issues the department now faces actually happens while on the road. Drivers are often ignorant of the right-of-way of emergency responders, and fail to move over when it is necessary.