Who was Charles Srull?
And why do we care?
In 1998 while working on a project for the department I came across some old annual reports. Today’s reports are 30 – 40 pages long with charts and graphs, in the 20s, 30s, and 40s, they were one page partially hand written. One item from the 1928 report caught my eye, the last line was that C. Srull was hurt at a fire and taken to the hospital. At the end of the 1929 report was an accounting of those that had left the department; it noted that C. Srull had died. I was curious but time constraints prevented me from finding if the two notations were related, that would have to wait for another day. For the past year Don Linske, Joe Provost and I have been researching the history of the department and again ran into C. Srull.
Charles Srull was born in that section of Springwells twp. that is now Detroit in 1891. Not much is known of his early life except that he was a semi-professional ball player and continued playing ball throughout his life. Charles and his wife Ida were married in September of 1919 and moved to Springwells (Fordson) with their 3 small children in 1925, 2 other children were born there. On July 1, 1926 Charles Srull began with the Fordson Fire Department earning $2500 per year, his badge number was #19 indicating he was one of our first members.
At 11:45 on August 3, 1928, Charles Srull after returning from painting hydrants responded on Engine 1 to a house fire at 10460 Morrow Circle. The fire was caused by an iron left on a window sill and extended to the second floor and attic. While advancing a hose line to the attic FF Srull fell on the stairs dislocating his left knee and suffered other unlisted injuries. After a brief stay in the hospital FF Srull was able to return to work “light duty”. According to the log books FF Srull was assigned light duty until his death and each workday he would report to the doctor’s office and had other stints in the hospital for unknown reasons. Family accounts show that after is initial injury he was in declining health, that he had respiratory problems is indicated by his brother’s desire to get him on the ball field to “get his wind back”. In December of 1929, FF Srull was admitted to Henry Ford Hospital where he died on December 22, 1929. After a wake in his home at 5111 Maple he was buried with full honors of the Dearborn Fire Department. In January of 1930, the Dearborn City Council voted to give Ida Srull and her children a pension based on his death, “from injuries received while in pursuit of duty.” FF Charles Srull is survived by 3 of his children and several grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Now you know who Charles Srull is but why do we care? We care because as a Dearborn Firefighter who gave his life in the “Line of Duty” he will forever be part of who we are and what we do.