The firefighters approached local muralist Tiffany Clark, founder of the Mural Machine, who agreed to complete the painting, which spans an estimated 125 yards.
“We brainstormed with (Clark) and sketches on napkins and paper turned into what we see today,” Robinson said.
Clark has completed numerous commissioned mural-style art pieces around the Dayton region, including a heroin overdose memorial on Xenia Avenue, a mural of books on the Fairborn Library, and an installation for AES Ohio’s new Smart Operations Center. She said the Dayton Fire mural is based on a traditional comic art style.
“We had a roundtable meeting with a handful of fire fighters and they were discussing how they loved old comic books,” Clark said. “I told them I see them as the real heroes of the city and, other than making them blush, they agreed to follow through with that (idea).”
Clark said it’s important to recognize the job of fire fighters, who “solely get paid to save lives,” and she feels the mural serves that purpose in a meaningful way.
“I’m so proud of (the mural) because I feel our Dayton history is something we’re all so connected to, and showing the nuances of the specific fire fighters’ history, how they affected our area, and showing it in a way that connects with multiple ages, as far as that old-school comic book feel, is a worthwhile story,” she said.
The mural includes images commemorating historic events within the fire department’s history, including depictions of the original volunteer-based department, bucket brigades, the organization’s first black firefighter, first paramedic/EMT personnel, and significant fire events throughout the years, including the 1987 Sherwin-Williams fire, and the Salar restaurant fire in 2017.
The wall technically belongs to the city of Dayton, Robinson said, but the fire department is responsible for the upkeep. Robinson said the city was happy to allow the mural plans to move forward.
“There was some graffiti on the wall before it was painted, which we covered with a coat of black paint, and it was sort of an eye sore, so the city of Dayton was all about it,” he said. “It looks awesome now.”