Built in 1997 on the Little Miami Bike Trail at the corner of Harrison Street and Railroad Avenue in downtown Loveland, the Loveland-Symmes Firefighter’s Memorial stands as a testament to the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department’s commitment to NEVER FORGET. Originally created to draw the community’s attention to the sacrifices made by all public safety officials who serve, thousands of visitors pass by the memorial each year to remember those who dedicate their all to their communities each and every day.
The Firefighter’s Memorial is home to many significant artifacts that represent Loveland’s and Symmes’ public safety services, as well as the nation’s first responders. Designed by David Camelle and built by local contractor Crapsey and Gilles, the Firefighter’s Memorial consists of four pillars that surround a large concrete vault. Inside the vault is a time capsule that contains current renditions of the LSFD’s badges and uniforms, as well as copies of local newspapers and department documents that describe the state of the department in 1997. A great method of preserving and passing on our department history, this time capsule is scheduled to be opened by department members many years down the road. On the top of the concrete vault is a bell from the riverboat Reuben Springer. This bell was acquired from a local resident who had served as a riverboat captain. The bell served as the alarm for Loveland’s firefighters to respond to an emergency until 1934.
Recent additions to the memorial include a plaques to remember those first responders who made the supreme sacrifice on September 11, 2001 and the nine firefighters who lost their lives in a furniture store fire in 2007 in Charleston, South Carolina. Both plaques are permanently affixed to one of the four pillars. The Loveland-Symmes Firefighter’s Memorial is also home to a section of an I-beam retrieved from the North Tower of the World Trade Center (see below).
September 11, 2001 Memorial
Everyone who serves the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department is consistently reminded of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice on September 11, 2001. Secured prominently within the firehouse bay, American flags from our September 11, 2002 memorial proudly bear the name of each and every public safety service worker who perished while serving their community. In addition, every piece of apparatus is adorned with a September 11th Memorial decal.
After adding a 9/11 memorial plaque to the Firefighter’s Memorial on September 11, 2002, the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department was given the opportunity to take the Firefighter’s Memorial one step further. A section of an I-beam from the North Tower of the World Trade Center (see picture below) was added to the Firefighter’s Memorial during our third anniversary memorial service on September 11, 2004. This donation, arranged by Firefighter Lee Ielpi (ret.) from Rescue 2 of the FDNY is a high honor. Portions of the World Trade Center were rarely given out. After seeing the beam when it was first delivered, LSFD Deputy Chief Andrew Knapp said, “To realize that this – this 3-foothigh, 1-foot-wide beam – was once a portion of the North Tower, is incredible.” Weighing about 200 pounds, this beam has and will continue to serve as a physical connection for all to remember the horrible events of that fateful September day.
The LSFD was given the privilege and honor to receive this piece of the World Trade Center because of the department’s never-ending dedication to remember all who serve their communities in times of need. The department made an eternal commitment after the tragedy of September 11, 2001, to never forget those who perished. Every year since 2001, Loveland has held one of the largest 9/11 memorial ceremonies in the country and has committed to honoring those individuals who paid the ultimate price in every year that follows. “It’s not just about a yearly ceremony,” Chief Knapp said. “We are forever connected (to that event) every day in everything we do. We want our community to know that connection and be a part of it.” And so, the Loveland-Symmes Firefighter’s Memorial lives on.
LET US NEVER FORGET 9/11/01
“The Charleston 9″ Memorial — 9/11/07
On June 18, 2007 nine firefighters perished in the Sofa Super Store fire in Charleston, South Carolina. Once the memorial plans were finalized, Chief Huber gathered a team of Loveland-Symmes firefighters and the crew made the trip to Charleston for the memorial service (pictures below).
(L to R): FF/Medic Clay Morton, FF/Medic Jon Frye, Chief Huber, Lieutenant Matt Rose stand with Charleston’s
Ladder 5. Ladder 5 lost three brothers in the fire.
Inside the North Charleston Coliseum during the memorial service held on June 22, 2007.
The beginning of the memorial procession on June 22, 2007.
Upon their return, the department decided to memorialize the Charleston firefighters at the Loveland-Symmes Firefighter’s Memorial located in downtown Loveland.
On September 11, 2007 a plaque dedicated to the memory of the nine firefighters who died in the line of duty in Charleston, South Carolina on June 18, 2007 was dedicated during the annual September 11th memorial service. The Firefighters who are memorialized include: Captain Theodore Michael Benke, Captain William Hutchinson, Captain Louis Mulkey, Assistant Engineer Michael French, Firefighter Brandon Thompson, Firefighter James Allen Drayton, Engineer Rodney B. Baity, Firefighter Melvin Champaign, and Engineer Mark Kelsey. See below for an image of the memorial that is etched on granite at the Loveland Firefighters Memorial.
In 2011, the department decided to add names of local firefighters that had been killed in the line of duty. After speaking with the families, three names were added to our Memorial. While some of us may not have known these firefighters, we all lost a Brother and Sister when they died. That is a pain that is felt throughout the fire service when a firefighter is killed.
On September 11, 2011 the following names were unveiled to the public in special ceremony:
- Capt. Robin Broxterman-Zang; Colerain Twp. FD
- Lt. Paul Montavon-Whitewater Twp. FD
- FF Oscar Armstrong-Cincinnati Fire Division
We encourage you to stop by our park anytime to take in the emotions of this solemn place. We are very proud of the Memorial and everything is stands for.