Cincinnati was bustling on Saturday as several residents came together for a good cause – to support the volunteer fire department.

During the annual fundraising event, the city held tractor pulls, a hair cut-a-thon and a dinner at the fire station with proceeds going toward the purchase of a new fire truck, which has become a top priority for the department.

The town’s primary fire truck is a 1973 model while the department also utilizes a truck built in 1951.

“The biggest problem is the pumper truck,” commented Cincinnati Fire Chief Rick Butler, who is in this fourth year as chief. “It’s getting old and starting to get rusty. It’s been repaired twice. It’s been a good truck but we’ve had to put a new motor in it. It’s just getting tired. We got a grant four years ago for $48,000. We bought all new bunker gear and things we needed. We’re in the process of applying for more grants for a truck and it’s going to depend on how much money we can get and what the matching funds will have to be.”

The day turned out to be a great success with the cut-a-thon alone bringing in $500.

“It exceeded my expectations. We also gained a couple applications for the fire department,” said firefighter Bill Miller.

The department is composed of 11 volunteers. Jason Kauzlarich and Joe Sivetts are captains while John Jones is the veteran of the bunch with 32 years experience.

Millers fighting fires as husband and wife

Becky and Bill Miller have been married for one year and together will be fighting fires with the Cincinnati Fire Department. Becky, who is currently the only female in the department, is the squad’s newest recruit after joining three weeks ago.

“We pretty much do everything together,” commented Becky. “We’ve been married for a year but we dated 24 years ago. We dated for about a year and a half and went our separate ways before getting reconnected.”

Bill is now retired while Becky works as a hairdresser at Reflections in Centerville.

Becky has been a volunteer for a few weeks and hasn’t been on a call yet.

“Every time the pager goes off my stomach is in my throat and I’m really nervous. The guys are really good about showing me how things should be done right,” Becky said.

Bill feels his wife will be an asset to the Cincinnati Fire Department.

“She makes excellent brownies – that ‘s the real reason,” joked Bill.

“She’s going to be liaison between the fire department and the folks whose house is on fire,” stated Bill.

“They’ll also teach me how to run the pumps on the trucks so that if they need more men inside the building or on the perimeter,” said Becky.

Neither Becky or Bill hesitated when asked why they volunteer to perform dangerous duties.

“To help people,” responded Becky. “I’ve never had a fire in my own home and I think it would be catastrophic. If I can be there to help people lessen that burden, that’s what I’m there for.”

“You touch a lot of lives in this business,” replied Bill.

Bill has six years experience as a firefighter and recently joined the Cincinnati department after spending time with the Centerville Fire Department.

“I’ve been a firefighter for six years through other departments. This department needed people so I left the Centerville Fire Department and came down here. I’m retired so when the pager goes off I can be here,” Bill said.

Miller took upon himself to join the squad in Cincinnati and helps with training.

“We have a lot of new members who have never handled a hose. I’m going to help them get acquainted and what the proper and safe way to fight fires,” he said.

Miller can sum up the Cincinnati Fire Department in a few words.

“This department has heart,” commented Bill. “I feel that in another year, this department will be a strong cornerstone in this area.”

Miller is passionate about being a firefighter and it almost got him in trouble on his wedding day.

A few hours after Bill and Becky were married they were eating dinner when the fire pager went off.

“I was out the door and in the truck when everybody told me I couldn’t go,” commented Bill. “When you have a volunteer fire department and people are scattered everywhere, I may make the difference in saving that building. One person can make or break so much. I’m a family man, but if that pager goes off and my family is safe, I’m gone.”

“He’s not happy unless he’s going 100 miles per hour with his hair on fire,” laughed Becky.

“As you can see, I have no hair,” said Bill.

Bill’s son is also in the business of saving lives as a firefighter in North Sioux City, South Dakota.

“He got interested in it after tagging around with me to the fire departments over the years,” stated Bill.

The Cincinnati Fire Department meets the fourth Tuesday of every month and is always looking for volunteers.

“We encourage anyone who is interested to come up and talk to everyone and see the fire truck,” added Bill.

Bill can be reached at 641-777-1879 or applications can be picked up at Cincinnati City Hall between 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.

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