OR&W Fire District is honored at meeting

SHADYSIDE – The Shadyside Fire Department, now known as the Ohio River and Western Fire District or OR&W for short after its formation was approved by the residents of Shadyside and Mead Township in the November election, was honored at Monday’s meeting of Shadyside Village Council for its 80 years of service.

The department has just celebrated that anniversary.

Fire Chief David Lenz was given a proclamation by Shadyside Mayor Bob Newhart along with a thank-you for the eight decades that the department has served the village.

“The Shadyside Fire Department will no longer exist as it is,” said Mayor Newhart. “Councilman (Bob) Bell has worked very hard on the OR&W Fire District, which voters so graciously passed, so I have a proclamation issued for The Shadyside Fire Department.”

Chief Lenz asked council to approve three new members for the fire station on a probationary period. Lenz hopes to get these three into the Powhatan Fire School this month.

The fire chief announced to council about an idea that the soon-to-be fire district has discussed about Knox Boxes. He said the department was unable to reach a business owner during a 3 a.m. fire so it was necessary for the fire department to break down the door, causing more damage.

“If there is a fire, we need to get in as quickly as we can,” said Chief Lenz. “There is less damage that way (with the use of a Knox Box), and it would only be used in case of an emergency if we have to get into building. This is going to come later.”

A Knox Box, as Chief Lenz described it, is a locked box that a business puts on their building containing a key to the business. The fire department will have the key to the box. This will allow entrance to a business without damaging the property any more than is necessary.

This is a product that is used by several fire departments and cities in the area such as Wheeling. The only way into the box is with the key that the fire department will have.

One council member brought up getting keys from business owners, but as the fire department has experienced in the past, it’s really hard to keep track of those keys, according to Lenz, and multiple duplicates would have to be made for each truck.

Bellaire has implemented an ordinance where businesses must install the Knox Boxes.

Also discussed at the meeting was the village member for the fire district. Councilman Bell recommended Bill Shepard. Bell was also voted, as the council recommended, for the council seat on the fire board, and he accepted.

Action was taken to remove a 2 mill levy which was in effect for the Shadyside Fire Department as another levy has been approved for the new fire district.

Van Dyne can be reached at kvandyne@timesleaderonline.com.