Attention Readers
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, C & G Newspapers has temporarily suspended its print publications. We look forward to resuming our print operation in the coming weeks. In the meantime, continue to find local news on our website and look for us on Facebook and Twitter. We hope you stay healthy and safe.
 Macomb Township Fire Station No. 1 was demolished the week of Feb. 17. It was the township’s first fire station when it opened in 1952.

Macomb Township Fire Station No. 1 was demolished the week of Feb. 17. It was the township’s first fire station when it opened in 1952.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Macomb Township fire station decommissioned after 68 years

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published February 26, 2020

 Milt Miller, a charter member of the Macomb Township Fire Department, holds a photo of the original group of firefighters from 1952 at a decommissioning ceremony. Of those in the photo, Miller is the only one living.

Milt Miller, a charter member of the Macomb Township Fire Department, holds a photo of the original group of firefighters from 1952 at a decommissioning ceremony. Of those in the photo, Miller is the only one living.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 Macomb Township Fire Department Capt. David Koss speaks at a fire station decommissioning ceremony. The new public safety building on 23 Mile Road will be named after Koss’ father, Joseph Koss.

Macomb Township Fire Department Capt. David Koss speaks at a fire station decommissioning ceremony. The new public safety building on 23 Mile Road will be named after Koss’ father, Joseph Koss.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Advertisement

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Milt Miller is Macomb Township through and through.

He is a charter member of the Macomb Township Fire Department who was there in 1952 when Fire Station No. 1 opened, and was there again Feb. 19 for a decommissioning ceremony at the station, located on 23 Mile Road, east of Romeo Plank Road.

The ceremony took place inside the old station, which, due to its nearing demolition, had no electricity and no heat. The ceremony featured remarks from Fire Department members and township officials.

Miller, 91, is a Korean War veteran and before speaking, he pulled out a photograph that shows 31 township firefighters from the 1950s. Of those in the picture, he is the only one living.

“These men dedicated their life to the department, without pay, all volunteers,” he said. Miller said many of the firefighters were World War II veterans, who on top of volunteering their services to the department, worked as farmers, tool and die makers, sod growers, and any job one could think of.

With the exception of his time in the military from 1950 to 1952, Miller has lived in Macomb Township all his life. He worked for the department for 20 years.

“This morning, we pause to reflect and pay honor to a building that everyone knows as Fire Station 1,” Macomb Township Fire Chief Robert Phillips said. “It’s a building that hundreds over the past 68 years have called home.”

Station No. 1 was approximately 7,300 square feet. Earlier this month, the department began operating out of a new apparatus bay, directly east of the station.

Construction began on the roughly 9,000-square-foot apparatus bay in August, wrapping up in January.

While preparing for demolition, a stone with “1952” engraved on it was removed. After it was removed, an envelope was discovered behind the stone with a picture of the original Fire Department members, and an employment application.

“We will preserve it and do the same thing they did as we construct the final phase of the building: We’ll leave the picture and application and some memorabilia for them to find whenever the new station has ended its service,” Phillips said.

When asked if there is anything about the old station he will miss, Phillips said its history.

“It has a great legacy and was a landmark in the township,” he said.

Historically, the station served as the meeting location for Macomb County fire chiefs, and firefighter meetings, due to its central location in the county.

“This was our home,” Phillips said. “Home is where family gathers. This is where our family has gathered since 1952. Just like home, there are good days and not-so-good days.”   

The estimated completion date for the 37,000-square-foot Joseph E. Koss Public Safety Building is late October.

Macomb Township Fire Capt. David Koss, Joseph’s son, also spoke at the ceremony. Joseph was a founding member of the Fire Department and served as its chief for some time.

“On behalf of the Koss family, I’d like to thank the residents, members of the board and Chief Phillips for the recognition and support of my father,” David Koss said. “It’ll be a sad day to see this station come down.”

Macomb Township Supervisor Janet Dunn offered a few words about the old station, saying, “Your life is over, Station 1. You’ve served us well, in snow and in sun. You’ve seen us in good times, and you’ve seen us in bad. Your replacement is ready for what comes our way. We’ll remember your service and what happens today.”

Former Fire Chief Ray Ahonen and Chaplain Carl Seitz also provided remarks at the ceremony.

Advertisement