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Heart and Heat: A History of Fighting Fire in the Mahoning Valley (2001)

On February 2, 2001, the Mahoning Valley Historical Society kicked off the opening of a wonderful six month exhibit focusing on the history of firefighting in the Mahoning Valley. The exhibit, appropriately named Heart & Heat: A History of Fighting Fire in the Mahoning Valley featured photos, fire memorabilia, firefighting books, as well as pieces of modern firefighting equipment. Opening night of the exhibit was enjoyed by many. The Youngstown Fire Department sent several pieces of modern day apparatus for viewing in the Arms Museum’s parking lot. This page is a virtual tour of the exhibit which closed on July 31st, 2001. Many of the photographs of the exhibit used here were taken by Greg Ricker, webmaster. Addition photos courtesy of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society/Arms Museum Web Site.


Heart & Heat: A History of Fighting Fire in the Mahoning Valley

     This exhibit outlines the history of firefighting from the formation of the earliest companies to the present. Specific areas include changing technology in fire fighting and prevention, dramatic moments in Valley firefighting, the educational role of fire department personnel in the community, and the changing faces of firefighters over the last thirty years. The exhibit includes several child-friendly activities such as artifacts that can be handled and uniforms that may be tried on.

     Besides MVHS holdings, the exhibit features artifacts, photographs, and paintings loaned by area fire departments. Many local departments donated much time and information to make this exhibit a success.

Heart & Heat will remain open through August 2001.

Entrance Hallway/Arson Exhibit


1. Heart and Heat: A History of Fighting Fire in the Mahoning Valley exhibit sign with axe. The axe was on loan from the Youngstown Fire Department.

2. Arson Exhibit. The arson exhibit included materials donated by Alvin Ware, head of the Youngstown Fire Department’s Arson Investigation Bureau. In this section were a windbreaker with the arson bureau name on it, an “arson is a crime” t-shirt and matching hat, an arson sign, assorted photos of arson bureau workers and a burnt boombox.

Entrance Hallway/Room 1


1. Thank You Plaque. The plaque reads as follows:


The Mahoning Valley Historical Society would like to than the following people for loaning the many photographs and artifacts featured in Heart and Heat. All the following individuals have also donated time out of their days to making this exhibition so special.

Chief Bob Catchpole and the Liberty Fire Department
Chief James Dorman and the Boardman Fire Department
Eva Doyle
Inspector Leslie Fishel
Lieutenant Inspector Sharyl Frasier
Lieutenant Marcia Harris
Battalion Chief Timothy McGarry
Kenneth W. Mauch, Jr.
Chief Daniel Merwin and the Girard Fire Department
Candace and Brian Morgan
Chief William O’Hara and the Austintown Fire Department
Chief John O’Neill and the Youngstown Fire Department
Chief Robert Tieche and the Canfield Fire Department
Alvin Ware and the Arson Bureau
Youngstown Fire Department Inspection Bureau


Special thanks to Greg Ricker for his dedication to the Mahoning Valley Historical Society and to preserving the history of firefighting in the Mahoning Valley.r of the display was the name plate from a turn of the century fire steamer.

2. Women in the Fire Service. Items in this area include photos of female firefighters. A dress uniform and helmet were also on display.

3. Close Up of Women in the Fire Service part of the exhibit.

4. Close Up of Firefighting Gear and SCBA Air Pack. Here we have a close up of one of a firefighter’s turnout gear. Hanging behind is a SCBA or Self Contained Breathing Apparatus. Many fire department’s refer to these as air packs.

5. Assorted Firefighting Clothing and SCBA Air Packs.

6. Firefighting Families Photo Wall. The photos on the wall in the exhibit are families of firefighters. Many families have has several generations on the fire department. A sampling from Boardman, Austintown, Canfield, Poland, Boardman and Youngstown were shown here.

7. Close Up of a Section of the Firefighting Families Wall. The cover of Ohio Firefighter Magazine shows the late Ret Fire Chief Roy E. Ricker.

8. Fire Department and Apparatus Photos Wall. This wall had photos of horse drawn and other early fire fighting equipment. Old apparatus photos from all over the Mahoning Valley were also included in the mix.  In the center of the display was the name plate from a turn of the century fire steamer.

Main Room/Room 2


1. Dress uniform and other assorted fire equipment and memorabilia. In this corner of the exhibit hall were an assortment of fire alarm boxes, a ticker tape machine, nozzles, fire grenades, a pressure gage from a steam fire engine, a fire alarm box indicator and gong, helmets, and a WWII air raid/volunteer fire siren indicator box.

2. Youngstown Fire Department Logbook and Line of Duty Death Section. Items in this area include a Youngstown Fire Department Log book, keys to an old firehouse along with images of who worked there, helmets and a list of names and photos of selected Youngstown Fire Line of Duty deaths.

3. Close up of Youngstown Fire Department Log Book.

4. Firefighter Funeral, Grave Site Marker and Firefighter Memorial. This shot shows a photo of the Youngstown Firefighter’s Memorial, a cast iron firefighter’s gravesite marker and photos of a deceased firefighter’s funeral.

5. Dress Uniform and Toy Assortment. Here we have a Youngstown Firefighter’s dress uniform along with photos. See also image 6. In the cabinet on the right are an assortment of fire toys. See also image 7. An old Fire Chief Petal Car is hanging above the display case.

6. Close up of a Youngstown Firefighter’s Dress Uniform and Photos.

7. Close up of Toy Display. In the toy display are some turn of the century metal fire toys on loan from the Historical Society’s collection. There are a few small children’s books, pogs, candy tins, Matchbox cars, even a firefighter Barbie.

8. Youngstown Photos and Articles and Austintown Fire Department’s Fire Book Display and Assorted Books.

9. Close Up of Austintown’s Book Display.

Close up of the nozzle and alarm indicators in the main room.

The late Sharyl Frasier stands next to the women in firefighting part of the display.

Sorry for the poor quality of the photos. In 2001, I was using a cheap digital camera which didn't take very good quality images. The photos from the MVHS were also small and low quality. 

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