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Unified Bank

PR: A Firefighting Tradition in the Purple City - July 15, 2021

Press Releases / News

A Firefighting Tradition in the Purple City

Thursday, July 15, 2021
Image of Justin Smith, Dave Maguire, Kyle Fogle, Stacy Carpino, Tom Kelly, Jr., Ron Hilton, and Taylor Fogle
In a city of traditions, the Martins Ferry Volunteer Fire Department does not disappoint. Each year, the Martins Ferry VFD hosts the annual Betty Zane Days Festival, and part of that festival is the annual fireman’s water battle. The fireman’s water battle is sponsored by Unified Bank and is held on South Fourth Street between the fire department and Unified’s main office. “The water battle tradition dates back to the early 1980s,” said Unified President and CEO, Scott Everson. “Unified has long been proud to sponsor this team-driven event,” Everson added.
According to Stacy Carpino, Unified Regional Banking Executive, “the guys at the Martins Ferry VFD and I are sort of in the same business. My job is to help get people into their own homes through affordable mortgages, and the firefighters spend their time keeping neighborhoods safe. In a way, we’re both about helping people with their homes.”
According to an article in Smithsonian Magazine, early fire fighters in England were organized and often paid by insurance companies to fight fires at insured properties only. In the Americas, this was not the case. Early American communities had what was known as bucket brigades, made up of members of the community. Eventually, volunteer fire brigades formed and in some cases vied with other brigades for the right to fight fires.
There is a fireman fight scene in the movie Gangs of New York where two rival fire departments come together at a fire and spend more time fighting one another than they do the fire. It is believed this was somewhat common. As the business of firefighting grew, this infighting dwindled, but rivalries continued. To fill this competitive void, fire departments began holding competitions. Contest were organized where fire departments would race to see who could muster the fastest, unroll, charge and roll a hose in the shortest amount of time and, in some extreme cases, fight what was sort of a reverse tug of war, wherein two teams would battle each other by blasting one another with the water from an open hose to see which team could push back the other.
In the case of the Martins Ferry VFD’s water battle, “all is done in fun,” says Liberty Engine Company Fire Captain, Justin Smith. “We have two teams at a time who battle using 1¾-inch hoses with about 90 pounds of pressure to push a beer keg suspended on a cable,” added Smith. The team who pushes the keg to the other’s end of the cable wins.
This year’s Betty Zane Days is set for Wednesday, Aug. 4, through Saturday, Aug. 7. The water battle will be held on Saturday in front of Unified Bank. “The Times Leader is going to be the title sponsor of the event this year, with Unified sponsoring the water battle,” Smith said, adding that the event is highly anticipated.
Long considered among the elite volunteer fire departments in Ohio, the Martins Ferry Volunteer Fire Department has been protecting the lives and property of our citizens for 130 years. Four separate stations located strategically throughout the city enable quick responses when the need arises. These stations are The Liberty (located on Center Street), The Alerts (located on North Zane Highway), The Hook and Ladder (located on South 4th Street), and The Vigilant (located on Pearl Street).

Unified Bank is a full-service FDIC-insured, state-chartered commercial bank headquartered in Martins Ferry, OH and has nineteen locations that serve the Ohio counties of Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Fairfield, Harrison, Hocking, Jefferson and Tuscarawas and Marshall County in West Virginia. Unified Bank is the sole operating subsidiary of United Bancorp, Inc. (UBCP), a publicly-traded bank holding company, and has been serving the financial needs of the Ohio Valley since 1902 from its headquarters in Martins Ferry, Ohio.