A bit of Chula's history has been added to the Grand River Historical Society Museum in Chillicothe.
By KIRSTEN MOUTON Contributing Writer
A bit of Chula’s history has been added to the Grand River Historical Society Museum in Chillicothe. Chula Fire Chief Jeff Gillespie, Chula Fire Department Board president Randy Horton, and Lawrence Hinnen of the Chula Fire Department, along with a number of firefighters, presented an old, restored, pull-type pumper cart to the museum. The cart was manufactured in 1888 and came to Chula probably in the 1910s. The cart was on display during the quarterly dinner meeting of the Grand River Historical Society and Museum Tuesday evening at the Elks Lodge. Official delivery of the apparatus was made Wednesday morning. During Tuesday’s meeting, Hinnen, who began fighting fires in Chula in 1959, said that Benny Simpson was one of several individuals who combined parts from three engines to restore the approximately 65-gallon fire cart. Hinnen explained how firefighters used the cart. Glass chemical bottles filled with soda acid were placed into the cart’s sealed tank, then broken by a levered hammer. The mixture would react, forming a foam spray that would shoot out through a rubber hose under a fair amount of pressure. The cart was originally designed to be pulled by two men to the location of a reported fire. Occasionally, two additional fire fighters were needed to push the cart from behind if the unit was needed at an uphill site. In the 1940s or 1950s the fire cart’s steel wheels were changed to rubber so it could be pulled behind a pickup truck to make runs to the countryside. In 1959, according to Hinnen, one of two original Chula Fire Department Board members still living, the fire engine was mounted onto the back of a Chevy pickup. While the Chula community was established in 1885, the fire department did not organize until 1963. Volunteer labor was used to build the fire house and it was ready for use by 1964. There are currently 13 volunteer firefighters in the Chula Rural Fire District, eight of whom are fire department board members, according to board president Randy Horton. The department is operated by volunteers and financially supported by memberships and fundraisers.