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History of Madeira & Indian Hill Fire Department

The Madeira & Indian Hill Fire Department has existed for 90 years.  Serving the cities of Madeira and Indian Hill, we are one of the oldest cooperative arrangements to provide fire and emergency services between neighboring jurisdictions in the State of Ohio.

Originally organized as the Madeira Volunteer Fire Company in 1924, there have been several name iterations prior to the establishment of the present Madeira & Indian Hill Joint Fire District in 1985.  As was the case with most fire protection in the United States, the first firefighters were volunteers and held other employment in the communities in which they served.

Funding for early operations of the Madeira & Vicinity Fire Company came from the sale of stock to the residents of the area in 1927. The first Board of Trustees was established to oversee the administration in March, 1927.

The first full-time position was created with the employment of a Fire Chief in 1940. By 1950, 4 full-time positions were staffed.  By 1962, 5 full-time positions were staffed and this number increased incrementally until the current complement of 17 career positions was established in 2005.

Prior to 1985, the “fire company”, was a private, non-profit organization that contracted for services with Madeira and then also with Indian Hill.  In 1985, the organization became a “joint fire district” under Ohio law and reorganized to its present form. The District is overseen by a 12 member Board of Trustees, composed of 6 members from Madeira and 6 members from Indian Hill.

Today, we provide fire, emergency medical, inspection and prevention services to the 14,511 residents of our member communities, using what is termed a “combination” department, meaning we have both career and part-time employees.

Eight persons have served the residents of Madeira and Indian Hill as Fire Chief:

Nelson Maham (1927)

Howard Dodson (1927)

Warren Finch (1928-1933)

Floyd Nelson (1933-1960)

Cliff Behrman (1960-1976)

Edward Lewis (1976-1980)

Robert Coy (1980-1999)

Stephen Ashbrock (1999 – 2019)

Stephen Oughterson, the present Fire Chief

We value our rich history and value even more the kind regard in which we are held by the citizens we proudly serve.  Thank You!

The Joint Fire District

The Madeira & Indian Hill Joint Fire District is the official name and organization providing fire, and emergency medical services to the citizens of Madeira and Indian Hill.  We are active participants with our neighboring departments in the Hamilton County Fire Chief’s Association, through which we have a formal “mutual aid agreement” to receive and provide assistance to each other.  Principal funding for our operations is provided by our member cities, Madeira and Indian Hill, who split the costs of the district on a 50/50 basis from the General Funds of both cities.


The MIHJFD is governed by a Board of Trustees.  There are 12 Trustees, one member from each of our City Councils (Madeira & Indian Hill) and 10 elected Trustees, 5 from each community.  The Trustees receive no compensation and serve three-year terms.  The current Board of Trustees members are:

Beth Wright (Madeira), President

Jeff Evans (Madeira), Vice President

John Hassan (Indian Hill), Secretary

Jim Gulick (Madeira), Treasurer

David Ellis (Indian Hill)

Chris Hilberg (Madeira)

William Higgins (Indian Hill)

Jennifer Lightcap (Indian Hill)

Don McGraw (Indian Hill)

Steve Krehbiel (Indian Hill)

Sam Robinson (Madeira)

Joe Weil (Madeira)

The Fire Company

Originally, the Fire Company received monies from the sale of “stock” with which to purchase and maintain fire equipment.  The firefighters were volunteers then.  As the communities developed, the Fire Company began to solicit an annual dues from residents to provide the needed funds.  When the JFD was formed in 1985, the Fire Company was continued as a 501c3 organization whose mission is to support, benefit and promote the firefighting and emergency medical services mission of the JFD.  The Fire Company still makes an annual solicitation, by mail, to our residents and uses donations received therefrom in direct support of the JFD.

Existing within our Fire Company is our Endowment Fund, established in 1996 with the bequest to the Fire Company by Madeira resident, Cleo Hosbrook.  The Endowment Fund has enabled important improvements and special training for the JFD that might otherwise not have been possible without taxpayer expense.

Donations and Fundraising

Aside from the annual contribution solicitation mailing to residents that accompanies our semi-annual newsletter each March and October, the Madeira & Indian Hill Fire Company and Joint Fire District make NO REGULAR SOLICITATION (phone, mail or otherwise) from our citizens.  We do not participate with nor receive funds from professional fundraisers in any other fashion.  Citizens who wish to make donations to our Fire Company general revenues or to our special Endowment Fund can contact us for more information here