Harlem-front - Copy

In 1973, a group of local residents of Harlem Township met with the Township Trustees to explore the possibility of forming the township’s own fire department.
In March of 1973, the Harlem Township Division of Fire was officially founded.

On April 28, 1973, the inaugural meeting of the Harlem Township Firemen’s Association was held and attended by 16 community members. The purpose of the meeting was to plan strategy to launch the new fire department. The newly organized firemen’s association was instrumental in this endeavor.

The association continued to grow and conducted extensive fund raising to build the department from the ground up. Funds were secured to construct the original fire station building and to purchase and/or acquire the township’s first fire equipment, including fire trucks.

The first two trucks were donated as surplus equipment by the BST&G Fire Department.  The residents of Harlem Township later passed a tax levy for the operation and maintenance of the fire department, paving the way for the purchase of the townships first new fire engine. The original fire station was constructed using mostly volunteer labor and was designed to combine the fire department operations, along with the township trustee’s office and road maintenance department.

In 1990 the township’s residents passed a bond issue to remodel the current 3,700 square foot building to 12,500 at a cost of $650,000.00. Today this building houses the Fire Department, the Board of Trustees offices, Zoning offices and the Township's main meeting room. 

On January 1, 1975, the new fire division responded to 22 calls for service. In 2021, the fire division responded to 597 calls for service.  In the late 1970’s members of the department completed Basic Emergency Medical Technician (EMT-B) training and in 1979 began providing Emergency Medical Service.

The first Fire Chief was Bill Fling, who served from 1973 through February 1984. Upon Fling’s departure, Assistant Chief Dean Hoppe was appointed as his successor, serving as Fire Chief from February 1984 until June 1985.  Bill Fling returned to serve as interim chief until Dale Fling was appointed to the position on January 1, 1986. Chief Dale Fling served as full-time career chief until his retirement on April 30, 2020. 

In 2002 a part-time Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. firefighter program was put together.  Volunteers were called in overnight.  On July 1, 2007, with a voter approved levy, the first three full-time career firefighter/EMT’s were hired.  This resulted in having 2 career, and two part-time, personnel providing fire service around-the-clock, 365 days per year. 

Today, the Harlem Township Division of Fire is a full-service public safety organization, using cross-trained dual-role personnel, that provide Advanced Life Support transport service, in addition to rescue, hazmat, fire suppression and fire prevention/education. There are currently 7 career personnel, including the chief, and 20 part-time personnel on the roster.