Home News Groundbreaking for New Southwest Pickaway Fire and W.A.D.E.S EMS Building Sets the...

Groundbreaking for New Southwest Pickaway Fire and W.A.D.E.S EMS Building Sets the Area into the Future


PICKAWAY COUNTY, OH – The Southwest Pickaway Fire District has officially broken ground on a new service building that will house both the W.A.D.E.S EMS and the Southwest Pickaway Fire Department. Funded by a $1.8 million levy passed by local citizens in 2022, this facility marks a significant milestone for the community.

Chief Roger Peart, who has been with the department since 1982, expressed his excitement about the long-awaited project. “The area has been waiting for a fire department for as long as I have been part of it. The building we started in was already old and didn’t completely fit our needs, but we made do for years,” he said. “We have been working really hard over the last 12 years to get this done. It’s history in the making.”

Peart recalled his early days with the department, emphasizing the community’s persistent efforts to secure a new facility. “My very first fire meeting in 1982, one of the topics was how we could get a new firehouse. We have been working on it ever since, and now, after 42 years, we have finally made it happen.”

The new facility is designed with the future in mind, featuring several office areas for both departments and a public area for community events like voting and blood drives. Notable amenities include a state-of-the-art air system for the trucks, a powerful generator to ensure continuous power, and plans for a helipad to facilitate quicker emergency responses.

The Southwest Pickaway Fire Department was estimated chartered in 1933, but the presence of fire services in the town dates back even earlier. According to historical records, the town budget allocated funds for firefighters and fire equipment as early as 1906, which is believed to be when the hand pumper, known as “Waldo,” was acquired.
A notable incident in 1912 involved a significant fire in downtown Williamsport, where six buildings were lost. Waldo, the hand pumper, played a crucial role in stopping the fire from spreading further south, saving two additional buildings. Remarkably, the Circleville Fire Department was also called in, arriving with their steam pumper, which was horse-drawn, and the firefighters jogged behind it to assist.
Chief Roger Peart, who has a keen interest in the department’s history, proudly displays Waldo in the fire station, having created a special location to showcase this antique firefighting apparatus.

“We have one more free bay that’s not being used, and in a lot of other fire departments, they stack trucks,” Peart explained. “This building design here is one door per truck, plus a spare door. If I stack them, I could fit five more trucks in there. We want this to be the Western Hub if the state goes to a county district. The helipad is really important for our area, creating a helipad to their specs allows us not to pull a crew to assist in landing the helicopter or calling mutual aid, we can just tell them to land at the station’s pad and we meet them there it’s a win-win for us and them because they can also use it for other reasons if they need to.”

The new building will also feature a repeater for stronger radio signals and improved facilities for the crew, including workout equipment and multiple meeting areas. “We have a magnetic whiteboard for fire critiques, and a treadmill with a TV where you can walk any trail in the world,” Peart shared. “I was in Zion National Forest two days ago and the Grand Canyon a week before that. It’s fun.”

WADES EMS Chief Gary Wright highlighted the new facility’s impact on their operations. “I’ve been working out of the old station since 1971, and it was antiquated at best. Moving into this spacious, air-conditioned building makes it so much easier to do our job,” he said. “We have better storage, organized supplies, and a comfortable place to call home.”

The Southwest Pickaway Fire District covers 94 miles of village and township areas, with EMS handling nearly 400 runs a year and the fire department about 125. The fire department consists of 11 volunteer members, most with over 12 years of experience. Both EMS and the fire department are actively seeking new members and offer free training to those interested in serving the community.

Chiefs Gary Wright and Roger Peart, who together represent over 90 years of service, have always enjoyed giving back to the community. “If you are interested in serving the community, we have a spot for you here,” they affirmed, “you don’t have to be 18 years old, we will take you at 40, it’s a great way to give back to your community.”

The new service building stands as a testament to the dedication and hard work of the entire community, ensuring that Williamsport and Deercreek are well-prepared for the future.