SOUTH HAVEN — The Fire Department started in 1962 in William E. Spicer’s home. Now, its firehouse is named for the community’s first fire chief.
William Spicer Station was dedicated Saturday, along with three statues honoring rescue personnel of the past, present and future.
“Today is special,” South Haven Fire Chief William Lundy said, “because we’re honoring so many people who’ve come through this station and the old station. Those people have given their time, energy and dedication helping the community, and this is dedicated to them.”
Spicer, 86, served as fire chief from 1962 to 1972, after which he was assistant chief until 1980. The fire department, Spicer recalled, started with a staff of seven, eventually growing to 35.
His wife Nancy, standing by the ex-chief, noted, “This is wonderful that somebody would do something for him. He’s a good man.”
Reading his father’s acceptance speech, Rich Spicer, a veteran Valparaiso police officer, said, “The South Haven Fire Department started with absolutely nothing but an idea in 1962. Now it’s considered one of the best departments not only in the region but in the state.”
Citing the department’s modern facility, equipment and staff training, Rich Spicer added, “This was not possible without dedicated men and women who gave their blood, sweat and tears to make it happen. I am confident that the future firefighters will take this department even further.”
The firehouse grounds now feature a walkway leading to three statues and three flagpoles. The statues depict a paramedic, a firefighter and an engraving of the firefighter’s prayer.
“The people of the community have come together to support the community,” Lundy said. “We’re still a part of the community, and we have deep roots here.”
Today, the Fire Department has six full-time paramedics, five chiefs and 39 volunteers. Vehicles include two engines, three ambulances, one tanker, and one brush truck. Another ambulance is expected to arrive in August.
Serving 10 square miles, South Haven’s fire crews respond annually to 1,400 calls.
Portage Township Trustee Brendan Clancy, whose office was responsible for the additions, said the Fire Department could not operate without local support.
“This is a perfect example of people helping people, and the community helping the community,” Clancy said.