Warren Township fire chief Schick retires

Tribune Chronicle / Bob Coupland Warren Township fire Chief Kenneth Schick, left, receives a plaque at Tuesday’s trustees meeting by trustee Ed Anthony, honoring Schick for his 44 years with the fire department, including 22 as chief.

WARREN TOWNSHIP — Kenneth Schick retired this week as the longest-serving fire chief in Trumbull County after 44 years of service, including the past 22 years as chief in Warren Township.

Schick, whose last day was Friday, gave his final fire report to township trustees at Tuesday’s meeting, where he also received a plaque and a retirement cake.

“Time has gone by really fast. It is hard to believe it has been 44 years. All these years, the different trustees have always been good to me. I have had great people to work with,” he said.

In 1975, Schick started with the Warren Township Fire Department as a volunteer.

“At that time, I had uncles and cousins who were in the fire service and other relatives, so firefighting was very family oriented,” he said.

In 1977, Schick became a dispatcher and custodian at the department.

When the Trumbull County 911 Center began in 1994, Schick was hired there as a supervisor. He worked there a year when he was asked to be the interim chief in Warren Township when former chief Ralph Jones retired in December 1995. He moved to full-time chief in 1996.

He said he remembers being called as a firefighter to major disasters in the county, including the May 31, 1985, tornado that went through Newton Falls, Lordstown and Niles, and the 1986 Thanksgiving Day explosion in McDonald.

Schick said he was a firefighter when he met his wife, Margaret, so she was used to him being called out all times of the day and night for fires and other emergencies. His children were accustomed to that as well.

“When the fire alarm went off, I was gone,” he said.

Schick said in addition to more and more paperwork being required, there also has been more firefighter training mandated by the state. He said firefighters undergo 56 hours of training every three years.

Schick said they have rescued many animals over the years, including a kitten stuck in a storm drain at the corner of North Leavitt Road and West Market Street.

The most recent incident was a German shepherd puppy stuck in a septic tank involving new chief Randy Daniels, who later ordered nose plugs for the crew.

Schick, who also works as a dispatcher for USA Taxi, said he has always worked more than one job.

He said with his free time, he plans to do more fishing on Lake Erie.

“Being able to serve the community has been rewarding. The fire department has always had many good volunteers and part-time staff. I have been fortunate to have very few issues with personnel,” Schick said.

Warren Township Trustee Ed Anthony said Daniels, who started Friday, will “have big shoes to fill.”

“I hope people realize the sacrifices he (Schick) made, including to his family, and his commitment as a firefighter. He was very well respected in our community and by other communities. He is a likeable guy who will be missed. Ken has really served the community for a long time,” Anthony said.

“He was the mainstay and a stable figure with the volunteer fire department for years. He has been the cornerstone of the township for a long time,” Anthony said.

Champion fire Chief John Hickey said he and Schick worked together for many years.

“I will miss the time I have worked him. With Ken retiring, I am now the senior full-time chief in the county,” Hickey said.