IFD Reserve Fire Station 12, located at 339 N. Sherman Drive, was built in 1915 for the Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD). It originally housed a horse drawn steam engine and horse drawn hose wagon. Previously, Station 12 had been located at 352 N. Beville Avenue. (from 1895 to 1901), 440 Virginia Avenue. (1901 to 1912) and at 332 S. New Jersey Street. (1912 to 1915).
In December of 1920, a motorized 1921 Stutz 600 GPM pumper replaced the steamer and hose wagon, along with the horses that propelled them. This Stutz served until 1942, when it was replaced by another 600 GPM 1921 Stutz. In 1952, the second Stutz was replaced by a 750 GPM pumper which, had been built in 1941, in the Indianapolis Fire Department's Shop. This "shop built" or "IFD Special" as they were officially known, was replaced in 1955 by another pumper built in the shops, this one a 1000 GPM pumper built in 1938. In 1961 yet another "IFD Special", another 750 GPM pumper, built in 1945, was placed in service at station 12. In 1967 a brand new Maxim 1000 GPM pumper went into service, the first new pumper at the station in almost fifty years! The Maxim was replaced in 1979 by a new Ford/E-One 1250 GPM pumper. In 1991 Station 12 received a new Grumman "Panther" 1250 GPM and this would turn out to be the final pumper that responded from this station.
The station, at 339 N. Sherman Drive, housed some other companies as well. In 1942, IFD closed Station #20 and moved its Stutz pumper and crew to Station #12. Both companies ran from this station until 1952, when Pumper #20 moved into a new station of it's own. In addition to these pumpers, Station #12 housed a number of support apparatus such as hose tenders and rescue squads.
Early in 1994, IFD decided to disband Engine Company 12. It would be replaced with a rescue squad, with two crew members, instead of the four crew members that the engine had carried. The engine was officially marked out of service at 0800 hours on February 1st, 1994. The "C" shift was in service that morning. The two firefighters were sent to other companies and Engineer Glenn Scott and Lieutenant Mark Oster drove the engine out of the house, for the final time. They headed to the shops, to pick up the new Rescue 12. Just minutes after they left, the dispatch office reported a residence fire at New York Street and Wallace Avenue. Prior to that day, Engine 12 would have been first due at that address. As they travelled to the shops, Lt. Oster could only look out the window, at the column of smoke, while Engine 20 reported a working fire. The weather was cold and windy that morning and the fire spread next door, involving two 2 1/2 story duplexes. Division Chief John Gregory hit the second alarm as Engine 12, only recently the busiest engine company in the city, made their way to the shops. After picking up the new squad, they drove by the scene of the second alarm. By then, the fire was under control and in the overhaul phase. Rescue 12 returned to their station. After protecting the neighborhood for 79 years, Engine 12 was no more. The crew of Rescue 12 was disappointed that they had to miss responding to a second alarm fire right in their own district. For a little over two years, Station 12 housed only the rescue truck. Then, on March 12th 1996, IFD took Rescue 12 out of service and closed the station.
Four firefighters have made the ultimate sacrifice while stationed at 339 N. Sherman Drive:
On July 8, 1936 Pumper #12 made a run to a grass fire in the area of 10th St. and Ritter Ave. While assisting in the firefighting efforts, Lt. George W. Ream suffered from an apparent heat stroke. He died, early the next morning, in the hospital.
Two firefighters died as a result of an apparatus accident, which happened on December 16, 1944. Pumper #20, which responded from Station #12 at that time, skidded on ice and struck a vehicle which was backing out of an alley in the 4100 block of E. Michigan St. The pumper had been suffering problems with it's motor and a mechanic from the IFD Shops, accompanied by some of the crew, took it out for a test drive. The Stutz's regular Chauffeur, Hubert S. Toombs, died at the scene. Firefighter Harold B. Adkinson died from his injuries five days later. The mechanic, who was driving at the time of the accident, suffered serious injuries, but survived.
On May 31, 1945 a riot occurred at Fort Benjamin Harrison, a large U.S. Army base, just northeast of Indianapolis. Part of the base was being used as a prison for men being held for committing violent crimes while in the army. These prisoners, in an attempt at a mass escape, started rioting. During the riot a number of buildings were set on fire and, while fighting one of these fires, Firefighter Everett L. Jackson of Pumper #12 suffered a fatal heart attack.
Normally, IFB's would also house their antique fire apparatus there, a 1967 Maxim, Model S, open cab (ex-IFD Station #16, last open cab Maxim ordered by IFD), but due to lack space, it is now housed at IFD Station #61.
Reserve Station 12 is in use daily by IEMS Medic 27, and sometimes IEMS Medic 15. The personel from the Paramedic Ambulances utilize Reserve Station 12 as a place to relax between runs. A large screen television and WiFi have been provided for their use.
The Indianapolis Firefighter's Emerald Society also makes use of Reserve Station 12 to hold their monthly meetings.
On election days, voters from two different precincts use the station as a polling place. The sleeping area of the station is occasionally used by out of town firefighters attending training sessions in the Indianapolis area.
There is now another Station 12 on the IFD roster. On January 1, 2007, the Washington Township Fire Department merged with the Indianapolis Fire Department. The Township's five stations were given station numbers that had previously been used by IFD. Under the merger, Washington Township Station 222, located at 2151 Kessler Boulevard, West Drive, became Indianapolis Fire Department Station 12.
Submitted by IFB member, Jack Finney, with the help of Mark Oster (IFD Retired). Edited By Dennis Chambers