Merger creates new Shawnee Fire District


WEST ELKTON — The West Elkton Gratis Township Fire Board last week announced a historic move to better service the community. In a press release, the board announced its official merger with the Village of Gratis, “marking the beginning of a new era of unity and collaboration.”

As part of the merger, the district will be re-branded as the “Shawnee Fire District.”

The newly formed Shawnee Fire District will encompass the Village of Gratis, Village of West Elkton, and Gratis Township. Both Gratis and West Elkton stations will remain operational, according to officials.

Chief Jeffrey King, “a seasoned leader with over a decade of experience as theFIRE CHIEF for the Village of Gratis, expressed his thoughts on this historic occasion,” the release noted. “Chief King emphasized that despite the administrative adjustments, the teamwork and dedication of the volunteers, who have worked cohesively for years, will remain steadfast.”

Reflecting on a history “marked by jurisdictional disputes and disagreements,” Chief King noted, “That chapter of our history is now behind us.

“The merger signifies a new beginning characterized by mutual cooperation, unity, and a shared commitment to serving the community.”

King, who has led the Gratis Fire Department for more than a decade and the West Elkton Gratis Township Fire District for the past two years, will continue his role as the fire chief of the newly established Shawnee Fire District, according to the release. “His commitment and forward-thinking leadership are poised to guide the district towards future success,” the Fire Board noted.

In a separate announcement on its Facebook page, the new Shawnee Fire District announced the receipt of “critical equipment” it received last week. “This was part of the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Equipment Grant. The equipment received includes: two Li-Fire electric vehicle blankets, three battery-powered ventilation fans, a Beluga cutting kit and a vehicle crash kit. This equipment will help us better serve you when lifesaving moments matter,” the announcement noted.

For the latest updates on the merger and more information about the Shawnee Fire District’s upcoming initiatives, visit

Reach Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on X @emowenjr.

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