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Emergency service providers have long ties to Erie Avenue

June 12, 2012

Photo courtesy of the St. Marys Historical Society collection - Pictured is a group photo of the Crystal Fire Department from the early 1960s at the Fire Hall along Erie Avenue. The group of four men in front are, from left: Fr. Donald Hagerty, OSB, the fire department chaplain; Assistant Chief Peter P. Cancilla; Fire Chief Ben Gerg; and Assistant Chief Gilbert Siecker.

Erie Avenue has long been associated with the community's emergency service providers. Today, both the St. Marys City Police Department and Crystal Fire Department are located along the roadway, and anyone in need of emergency assistance can simply call 9-1-1, or even contact either department directly. Early in the community's history, that was not the case, however.
"There was a time in St. Marys where [if] you needed a policeman, you picked up the phone and you called Rocky Fleming, the night clerk at the Mullendean," said local historian Ray Beimel.
Beimel explained that, once Fleming was contacted, he would alert the police by "throwing a switch that lit a red light on a telephone pole at the corner of Erie and Lafayette."
Once the police noticed the light was on, an officer would walk to the Mullendean to talk to Rocky to see what the problem was.
"It was a very gentler, kinder time back then," Beimel said.

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