Firefighter W. Eddie Wolfe

Motorized Danger

In 1930, the use of motorized firetrucks was a dangerous endeavor for both citizens and firefighters. The firetrucks speeding through the busy streets of Akron alongside inattentive drivers created a dangerous situation. Those dangers all to often resulted in collisions, injuries, and in at least one instance, death.

Eddie Wolfe - Akron Firefighter

5/31/1905 – 11/25/1930

Fireman Hurt Fatally in 1930 Collision

At 7:15 on November 25, 1930, William Edward “Eddie” Wolfe, a 25-year-old fireman at Akron’s Station No. 5, lost his life. Wolfe, along with firefighters Francis O. Flood, Clearance A. Tarr, William H. Hamilton, William P. Myers, Captain Oliver F. Philips, and driver Harold V. Brannan were responding to a fire at 307 North Howard Street. The fire had occurred after a still exploded at the address.

As Wolfe’s truck, Akron No. 2., entered the intersection of East Market Street and Summit Street, a heavy dump truck driven by Hollis Snyder slammed into the back of the vehicle. Wolfe, who was riding on the rear running board when the accident occurred, was violently thrown from the truck. He was taken to City Hospital by a Deputy Sheriff Rex Hess. Several hours later he died from his injuries.

Although initially arrested, Snyder was cleared of any wrongdoing in the accident. Witness testimony agreed that Snyder had no way of fully avoiding the accident. He had applied the breaks, attempted to avoid the collision and was nearly successful. Unfortunately, as Hollis maneuvered to avoid the collision, the rear of the firetruck slid into his path knocking Wolfe from his position on the running board.

William Eddie Wolfe’s Family

Eddie, who lived in a modest home at 1048 Johnston Street, left behind a young wife, Violet Kathryn Manton-Wolfe,  and their 6-year-old son, James “Jimmie” Wolfe.


Name Birth Death Notes
William Edward Wolfe 05/31/1905 11/25/1930
Violet Kathryn Manton  1904 12/12/1968 Wife
James Manton Wolfe 09/16/1924 11/17/1994 Son
Benjamin Wolfe 04/17/1907 06/20/1967 Brother
Paul Herford Wolfe 05/18/1909 12/22/1961 Brother, Akron Firefighter Engine Co. 4

Remembering the Hero

Edward is remembered for his sacrifice on Akron’s Firefighters Memorial, but his name is misspelled “Wolf” rather than “Wolfe”. Additionally, the date of his death is incorrectly recorded as 1936 rather than 1930.

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