Columbus fire station dedicated to firefighter who died 30 years ago

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — In 1987, Columbus firefighter John Nance died while battling a fire at the Mithoff building in downtown Columbus. Flames were seen for miles and firefighters remember trying everything they could to save his life.

On Wednesday, Fire Station 2 was officially dedicated in his honor for all to see as his name stands out front of the station. Nance is firefighter who will never be forgotten.

Nance committed his career to keeping the community safe, and paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“After 30 years to be remembered so many times basically speaks to my father’s character a wonderful wonderful human,” said his daughter Suzette Nance.

Wednesday was spent remembering John’s sacrifice.

The Captain of Fire Station 2, Captain Larry Francisco is honored to be in charge of the newly redone station.

“(I’m) thankful to the administration and the city that they allowed us to actually name it after one of our own,” he said. “I think the family was moved deeply.”

Nance’s wife Linda remembers the day John was killed.

“It feels like yesterday and all of this brings back the tragedy and everything, but, you know, we cope well,” she said. “The firemen community completely supported us from the minute it happened up til now.”

John Nance is remembered as a quiet giant, humble, and dedicated to his job. He is also known as quite the cook, as his brother Joseph talked all about Nance’s well-known culinary skills during Wednesday’s fire house dedication.

“He excelled as a firehouse cook,” Joseph said. “He made good stuff, guys, it was all good. He took pride in preparing meals for his colleagues as well as his friends at the firehouse.”

Forty-eight firefighters are stationed at Firehouse 2.

Joseph Shanahan, who’s been with the department for 4 years, says it’s a blessing to work in a building dedicated to Nance.

“He’s very much a hero. He worked for the fire department for many years, was ready to retire and to lose his life helping out everyone else that was part of his brotherhood.”

This newly improved station stands as what’s known as one of the busiest stations in the nation and will now bring the best EMS and fire protection to Columbus. Captain Francisco says Nance is talked about daily through training.

“Unfortunately, through that terrible accident that day, we developed some training techniques,” Francisco said. “Through the battle John fought that day we’ve been able to prevent those accidents from happening.”

“He was just so committed and to every other human he was a giver,” Susan said.

“I miss him for sure,” Linda said. “I miss it all. I’m just overwhelmed. I miss it all.”

The firefighters say seeing the fire station dedication on Wednesday is living proof a hero was here. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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