By Danielle Ozbat
The Chesterfield County Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services opened the Chesterfield County Fire Museum last Sunday. The fire museum is located at fire station No. 12 –the Ettrick Volunteer Fire Department – which was formed in 1928 and was the first fire station built in Chesterfield County.Retired Battalion Chief David Creasy, the founder of the fire museum, was honored at the event and was presented with a resolution from the County Board of Supervisors and a Fire Chief’s award. Creasy began his fire service career in 1968 when he became a volunteer firefighter and is currently the Fire Marshal for the City of Richmond.
Creasy, who had the honor of chopping the ribbon at the ceremony, said this project has been in fruition since the early ‘90s, and he began collecting items because a lot of history was being lost or thrown away.
“There was a lot of history in the Chesterfield Fire Department that was being lost from some of the older volunteers passing on and the relatives were either not keeping the pictures and items with no relatives to give those items to, so a lot of times things got thrown away, so I took [it] upon myself to contact people and collect things,” Creasy said.
The items in the fire museum were originally on display at the Chesterfield County Museum, but since they rotate their exhibits, Creasy decided to have something permanent for visitors who want to know more about the history of Fire Station No. 12. The fire museum’s time span is from 1928 to 1970. Creasy said there are plans to expand into the basement.
Fire Chief Edward L. Senter Jr., who helped present Creasy with his awards, echoed Creasy’s sentiments about maintaining the history of the fire department and said he would support Creasy with the growth of the collection.
“[This was David’s] dream and … I will continue to support him as we grow the collection here at the Ettrick fire station,” Senter said. “Hopefully one day when we build a new station to serve the Ettrick community, we will be able to retain the old building and … turn it into a living museum for the community where we can bring school tours through to learn about the fire service, learn how to be safe in their homes, prevent fires, and, when an emergency does happen, how to get out and how to save their family.”
As Creasy stood amidst antique fire trucks, such as the 1935 Ford “B” Model Fire Engine (the first newly purchased fire engine in Chesterfield County), he found the opening of the fire museum especially poignant because he has neuroendocrine cancer.
“I wasn’t sure I was gonna make it and the doctors weren’t sure either, but to see the people in the audience, so many of them contributed to this by their sweat, by their time and efforts,” Creasy said. “This is not just for me, this is for the community [and] I truly mean that … so I’m just tickled to have the opportunity.”