Residents rally around Toledo firefighters

Following the deaths of two firefighters in Toledo Sunday, Tiffin Fire and Rescue is showing its support for Toledo Fire and Rescue Department.

William Ennis, chief of Tiffin Fire and Rescue, said firefighters from Tiffin will be attending funeral services for Stephen A. Machcinski, 42, and James Dickman, 31, who were killed while fighting a structure fire in Toledo.

“I’m sure a number of firefighters will go up,” Ennis said.

A journal also is being sent to Toledo Firefighters Local 92 after the public and firefighters write messages in it. The journal is at city hall and will be available for the public to sign through Wednesday afternoon.

In the county, members of the Seneca County Firemen’s Association are collecting funds from each Seneca County fire department to send to the families of Machcinski and Dickman.

“We felt that doing this as a county organization shows our support to our fallen brothers. We all know that when the alarm sounds, and we respond to a call, we are putting our lives on the line. It takes a certain type of people to do this line of work. Stephen A. Machcinski and James Dickman were two of those people,” reads a letter sent from the Seneca County Firemen’s Association to area fire departments.

Anyone wishing to donate can call Seneca County Firemen’s Association President Jim Nagle at (419) 619-1756.

“They were a team and they were a well-trained team working together,” Ennis said of the Toledo firefighters. “It’s hard to say just how much of a family you become, but you become very close to one another, and in just a few short minutes, two of them are dead.”

Ennis said no fire-related deaths have been reported at Tiffin Fire and Rescue, but firefighting situations have proven risky for firefighters.

“We have had more than one incident in Tiffin where things were just lucky,” he said. “Firefighters caught the right change in the atmosphere or we had the right number of people in place to protect the others before they got into a situation.”

Ennis said being a firefighter, even in a small town or city, is a dangerous job.

“Fires don’t occur in big cities alone. Everybody in this county who responds (to fires) has that same risk,” he said. “I don’t think the residents of the county realize how lucky they are to have people who are willing to do that.”

“A lot of people think this is kind of an easy job,” Ennis said. “But you can see how quickly things can go bad.”