Gallipolis Fire Department
Dedicated October 10, 2020
The purpose of this memorial wall is threefold.
First as an everlasting memorial to those who have served the citizens of Gallipolis by being a member of the Gallipolis Fire Department, whether it be past, present, or future.
Second to remember the past fire chiefs of the department and;
Thirdly, and most importantly, to memorialize those firefighters, who during their service with the Gallipolis Fire Department, have given their last full measure of devotion to the citizens of Gallipolis.
These inscribed bricks in the walkway, stand to honor the firefighters of the Gallipolis Fire Department, past, present, and future members.
Intermingled in the walkway are bricks, representing our firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty. It is our hope that future generations of Gallipolis firefighters will add their names to this honorable walkway.
Being a walkway, with the names of Gallipolis Firefighters, it leads to a small pavilion, this pavilion contains the names of the department members in 2018, who were instrumental in the building of this memorial.
Surrounding the pavilion are the names of all known Fire Chiefs who served the City of Gallipolis. Many are not aware that Gallipolis has been protected from the horrors of fire by three separate fire departments in her history.
From the first known firefighting unit, known as the Cerces Fire Department, established in 1834 under the leadership of Alexander Vance and operated until 1845, to the unknown Fire Chiefs of the famous Gallipolis Bucket Brigade that operated from 1847 to 1861, to the Fire Chiefs of what we now know as the Gallipolis Fire Department that was established in 1861. We felt the encirclement or surrounding of the pavilion by former and future Chiefs was not only essential but proper.
The wall itself contains two simple but important symbols. First a bell and secondly a simple inscribed stone that says, “Fire Department”.
The bell: A symbol of firefighting past. The sound of a bell holds a special significance for firefighters. Historically, the toll of a bell summoned members to the station, signaled the beginning of a shift, notified departments of a call for help, and indicated when a fire call was completed, and the unit had returned to the station.
In years past, when a firefighter died in the line of duty, Fire Departments would sound a special toll of the bell, 5-5-5-5; a series of five rings for four times to alert their fellow firefighters that one of their own had paid the ultimate sacrifice.
This time-honored tradition continues today during the funerals and memorial services for firefighters and retired firefighters.
The inscribed stone: This simple stone that reads “Fire Department”, once stood proudly over the fire station bay doors at 518 2nd Avenue.
This stone witnessed several fire chiefs walk through her doors and countless new firefighters join our ranks.
This simple stone stood guard as horse drawn pumpers responded to fires throughout Gallipolis.
This stone watched as our brave horses gave way to a mechanized fire department.
With the razing of the old fire station, this stone was rescued and inspired the building of a new memorial wall.