Garrettsville – Freedom – Nelson Fire Department

Department Contact Information

Fire Chief

David J. Friess

Station Address

8035 Elm Street
Garrettsville, Ohio 44231

Phone: 330-527-4050
Fax: 330-527-3214

Emergency Phone


Phone: 330-527-4144

Seasonal Safety Tips

Remember to change your smoke detector batteries, and practice fire safety over the holidays by limiting the use of extension cords. Those in use should be in good condition. Power strips should have a built in fuse. Outside cords should be plugged in to a Ground Fault Interrupter (GFI).

History of the Garrettsville – Freedom – Nelson Fire Department

On the morning of April 9th, 1884, a disastrous fire consumed a livery barn, two dwellings, and the furnishings among the block bounded by Water, Center, and Maple Street.

On May 10th, 120 citizens petitioned the village council to purchase the necessary equipment to form a fire department. In June of 1884, the council approved a contract with The Remington Fire Engine Company to furnish an engine, a gook and ladder wagon, and the necessary equipment for the sum of $2,000.00.

Organization meetings were held until July 25th, 1884 when The Remington Fire Engine Co. No 1 of Garrettsville was formed. On July 31st, The Rescue Hook and Ladder Co. No 1 of Garrettsville was formed. On September 4th, 1884 the 24×42 engine house located just north of the south street bridge was completed.

On September 18th, the engine was tested by laying hose 650 up main street. The 16 inch nozzle produced a stream that would reach 125 feet horizontally and 60 feet high.

Council agreed to pay $3.00 to teamsters for the first team of horses, $2.00 for the second team, and $1.00 for every hour after the first. On July 8th, 1885, council approved the construction of five cisterns to be installed around town, to be used for fire protection. Each cistern had capacity of 500 barrels.

In 1888, the fire chief’s salary was granted at $15.00 a year, and $75.00 paid to the department every year. In 1889, the chief’s salary was raised to $25.00 a year. Later, firemen were paid $.50 per call and $.25 for every hour past the first.

From 1890 to 1906, the improvements to the fire station were very gradual. When Warren motorized their department, Garrettsville purchased two sets of fire harnesses from them which proved to be a time saver. They were suspended from the ceiling by ropes, pulleys and snaps with the traces hooked to the wagons. With the team in place, one pull of the rope and the team was harnessed, except locking the collars and girths. Other changes took place included rebuilding the hook and ladder wagon to accommodate longer and larger ladders. A 30 gallon chemical wagon replaced fire extinguishers. A wagon in which hose cold be laid in folds and layers with greater capacity instead of being pulled from the old style reel. In 1928, the American LaFrance was purchased. With a 500 GPM pump, 100 foot hose capacity,and 275 gallon tank, it was the pride of the department at the time. 1930 saw the purchase of a Chevrolet chassis with a special body for 800 feet of hose. In 1947, a combination of 500 GPM front mounted pump with a 500 gallon tank and 1400 feet of hose was purchased. Later a 1951 Ford truck was purchased with 1000 feet of hose. The outfit covers rural fires principally where water supplies were scarce. Rescuators and gas masks are among the equipment. In 1946,, Nelson and Freedom townships joined the department as co-owners, sharing equally in the expenses and upkeep of equipment.

In 1949, fifteen firemen took the vocation training courses at Kent State, covering the fundamentals of fire department training.

For many years the firemen have donated their fire pay to the department fund and many new pieces of equipment have been acquired that way.

In 1963, a Ford 3/4 ton truck was added to handle grass fires along with a Ford F700 tanker truck with a 1600 gallon capacity.

In 1965, a Ford 950 became the number one pumper. The truck was well equipped with 1000 GPM pump and a 1000 gallon water tank.

1974 saw the addition of a one ton International panel truck for equipment and 1976 brought a 2600 gallon stainless steel tank mounted on an International series 1800 chassis.

On April 10, 1968, a ladies auxiliary was formed and the ten ladies called themselves “the blazers”.

March 4th, 1971, at a senior fire department meeting, it was voted to form a junior fire department.

In July of 1983, Chief Bob Russel felt it was necessary to form a joint fire district between Garrettsville, Freedom and Nelson. A five year, 3.2 million levy was passed by the voters of the three communities on November 2nd, 1983. This enabled the formation of the Garrettsville Freedom Nelson Joint Fire District and the purchase of the best equipment money can buy.

Critical Notices

April Village Meetings

The Village of Garrettsville’s April meeting schedule is as follows: Planning Commission: Thursday, April 6th, 7:00 pm; Safety Committee: Wednesday, April 12th, 1:00 pm, if necessary; Council: Wednesday, April 12th, 7:00 pm; Board of Public Affairs: Monday, April...

Garrettsville Annual Water Quality Report

The Village of Garrettsville Water Department is pleased to provide you with its twenty third annual water quality report. This publication is required of all water utilities to provide each customer with an overview of the quality of water served. This report...


Rick Patrick, Mayor
Telephone: 330-527-2682

Past & Present Fire Chiefs

O. Collins 1884
Cash G. Knapp 1885
Charlie V. Francis 1886
L. C. Bradley 1887
A. D. Hoskins 1888
Jeff C. Lampson 1889-1906
Everett B. Case 1907
Everette J. Lampson 1908-1915
Delbert O. Noron 1916-1925
Cash W. Payne 1926-1943
Harold Lawless 1944-1962
George Barnett 1963-1981
Robert A. Russell 1982-1997
Donald R. Harris Jr. 1998-2005
David Friess 2006-Present