OFD credits library workers for aiding in history project

·2 min read

Jan. 14—When members of the Owensboro Fire Department began digging into the agency's history for a research project, they were assisted by Daviess County Public Library officials Savannah Warren and Christina Clary.

Some of the information uncovered during the research was a bit surprising.

"There were some stories I thought were really interesting (such as) the time the dog got caught between two houses" and firefighters were called to get it free, Clary said. There was also a story of a pet parrot up in a tree the department was called to, somehow, get down.

Another story from nearly a century ago was about how fire engines wouldn't be allowed to drive over 30 miles per hour to fire calls. Stories like that show "just how much things have changed," Clary said.

Thursday afternoon, firefighters presented a plaque to Warren and Clary, in thanks for their extensive work on the project. Lt. Andrew Behl, who is one of the firefighters volunteering time to work on the history project, said Clary and Warren compiled a large amount of information.

"It was exactly what we needed and exactly what we wanted," Behl said. "If we had to be here doing (the research), we would still be working."

Warren said the library's Kentucky Room has newspaper articles on file going to the department's founding. Most of the information came from newspaper articles, while some came from insurance underwriter reports, Warren said.

The research was time-consuming.

"It has been at least two months" of work, Warren said.

The project included scouring newspaper articles to find tidbits of history.

"For the first 40 years, there's scant material," Warren said.

Behl said the goal is to have a written history the department can donate to the Kentucky Room and also have at the fire station. A multimedia exhibit of interviews is planned, although that work has been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Behl said.

OFD officials would like to hear from anyone with stories to tell about family connections to the department, Behl said. Warren said the project was right in line with the library's area of expertise.

"They came to us and asked if we could help, because we deal with this stuff every day," Warren said. "We were happy to help."

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

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