Two local fire departments are mourning the passing of their former fire chief, William E. Fling, who died recently at the age of 78.
The BST&G Fire District and the Harlem Township Division of Fire currently have black bands on their logos to reflect the loss.
“We received word this afternoon that retired BST&G Fire Chief Bill Fling passed away,” the fire district posted Sunday on Facebook. “Chief Fling was fundamental in the development of BST&G and laid the foundation for our future. He moved us from Rainbow Street into our current building (on Cherry Street) and introduced the first aerial ladder to the department. Chief Fling also held the position of Chief at the Harlem Township Division. Rest In Peace Chief, we’ll take it from here.”
Founded in 1953, the fire district serves Berkshire Township, the city of Sunbury, Trenton Township and the village of Galena, all in the eastern half of Delaware County. Fling served as BST&G fire chief from 1984-2003. “He quietly helped so many in the community and was a mentor to a generation of grateful firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics,” his obituary said.
Before he served at BST&G, Fling served in southeastern Delaware County as the founding fire chief of the Harlem Township Division of Fire from 1973-1984.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Fire Chief William Fling Jr. Ret.,” the division of fire posted on Facebook. “Please keep Bill and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Harlem Township’s website said, “Fling returned to serve as interim chief until (his son) Dale Fling was appointed to the position on January 1, 1986. Chief Dale Fling served as full-time career chief until his retirement on April 30, 2020.”
The elder Fling was born in Columbus and graduated from Big Walnut High School in 1961. His obituary said, “A community steward, it is difficult to find an area of Delaware County not influenced or touched in some way by his hands. He was the owner of Fling Electric, Fling Hardware, and Sunbury Plumbing and Heating. … Some of his memberships include Delaware County Firefighters Association, Delaware County Fire Chief’s Association, Inaugural Delaware County 911 Technical Board and 911 PSAP Board, Ohio Fire Chiefs Association, and International Association of Fire Chiefs.”
Calling hours are 3-7 p.m. Thursday at Harlem Road United Methodist Church, 5520 Harlem Rd, Galena. Services will be held at the church 11 a.m. on Friday, with burial to follow at Sunbury Memorial Park.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.