One of the important developments of early Norwood was the creation of fire brigades. The West Norwood, "old" Norwood and South Norwood fire companies have been recognized as early fire fighting brigades.
The West Norwood Volunteers was organized on March 10, 1889, (1890 by another source) the day after Peter Schneider's Sherman Avenue home was destroyed. Men left St. Elizabeth's that Sunday to unsuccessfully fight the fire using a bucket brigade. The next day the men formed the West Norwood Volunteer Fire Brigade. Subscriptions were requested in order to purchase equipment. The first firehouse was at 1818 Mills Avenue. The first Fire Chief was Joseph Espel amd the first Captain was Henry G. Overberg.
WEST NORWOOD VOLUNTEER FIRE BRIGADE
Bottom Row: William A. Janning, Clement Weissenfelder, August Wiggers
2nd Row: Joseph Spahn, C. Buddlemeier, Adam Degan, Oscar Ahlers, William Daman, Edward Hall, Joseph Lammers, J. Hall
3rd Row: O. W. Devoe, C. Bielefeld, Fred Fangman, Peter J. Schneider, F. H. Runnebaum, Thomas Damen, Dave Meyer, Henry Jostworth, Frank Grabuth, Leslie Sherberg, B. Trenkamp
4th Row: C. Woertz, G. Kollman, C. Miller, B. Ahlers, J. Sievers, Joseph Buhr, B. Sieve, Henry LaSance, W. Stover
Newspaper clippings related to West Norwood fire fighting.
It appears that the people of West Norwood had a sign that they should prepare for fires almost exactly a year (or two, depending upon the source) before the Schneider home blaze.
"By the accidental dropping of a lamp the Catholic Church of West Norwood had a narrow escape from destruction last evening. By prompt action, however, little or no damage was done."
— The Cincinnati Times-Star, March 21, 1888
"Tony Bokenkotter was the first one to give the alarm when the lamp fell at the Catholic Church. He was alone in the church at the time down stairs, and hearing something fall, he at once ran up and found the oil blazing on the floor. Someone picked up the burning lamp and threw it out the window before much damage was done.
West Norwood has not a fire brigade, but there was enough help to put out the fire at the church."
— The Cincinnati Times-Star, March 23, 1888
"Henry Overberg* had his hand badly burned at the church fire in West Norwood, but is now almost in good condition again. This is the gentleman who had his arm broken some time ago. Henry Buddlemeyer was making his way across the street with two buckets full of water, when the lamp came down with a crash beside him. The church might have been in ashes but for the timely arrival of Messrs. C. Buddlemeyer, G. Kohlman, H. Overberg and G. Eberhard."
— The Cincinnati Times-Star, March 24, 1888
"West Norwood had roast chicken the other evening. A chicken coop was destroyed at the time Canter's carpenter shop was burned out."
— The Cincinnati Times-Star, May 3, 1888
* Young Overberg seemed to have some bad luck!
"Henry Overberg fell last Monday and broke his arm. This is the second time this unfortunate young man has met with a like accident. About eighteen months ago he broke the left arm, and now the right arm is fractured."
— The Cincinnati Times-Star, January 24, 1888