XENIA — After 28 years as a firefighter, Jeffrey Mallow knew it was time to retire. Actually, his body knew it was time.
“It was just exhausting me,” the 58-year-old said. “I never got up in the morning and thought I hate going in that place. It just got physically exhausting. This is a young man’s job. Had a good run. It’s just time”
The veteran firefighter/paramedic with the Xenia Fire Division officially called it quits on March 31, ending a career that spanned parts of four decades and five presidents. During that time, he put out fires, saved lives and made a lot of friends.
“I can’t imagine having another job where I had a great bunch of guys to work with,” Mallow said. “Every one of them I got along with well.”
Mallow got a late start as a firefighter. He was 10 years removed from high school when his wife, Dianna, saw an ad in the newspaper that Xenia was looking for firemen.
“To support a family, I was working six days a week,” Mallow said. “After 10 years that wasn’t for me. I wanted something more. I took the test, passed and got on.”
It didn’t take long for Mallow to begin building his legacy. He was named the Xenia Fire Division Firefighter of the Year in 1986, his first full year with the XFD, after saving a little girl’s life.
“(The girl) and her mother were struck by a car on Main Street,” Mallow said. A bystander saw the accident and went to the fire station to report it.
“We were on the scene before the dispatcher even toned it out,” Mallow said. “We only had three of us on the medic … I was doing all the airway and all the safety stuff on her. We were able to keep her oxygenated until we got to the hospital.”
Mallow also recalled the 1991 peanut packaging fire.
“It had originally come in as a van on fire,” Mallow said. “We pulled down Allison Avenue … you just saw this horrendous black cloud rolling. None of us realized …. that it was bin inside this factory burning. Now we got this metal structure that was completely involved, burning through the roof. It was an all day thing.”
In addition to his skills as a firefighter, the department will miss Mallow’s ability to liven up the fire station.
“Jeff added life in the department through his stories and actions,” Chief Kenneth Riggsby said in a release. “Not only is he a good paramedic and firefighter, but you could always count on him backing you up. It has been a pleasure to work with Jeff over the past 28 years.”
Mallow completed his paramedic training in 1987, and in 2001 he competed in the bicycling event at the World Police and Fire Games, a biennial athletic event open to active and retired law enforcement and fire service personnel throughout the world. Mallow also helped with the 1986 train derailment in Miamisburg, which brought national attention to the area, in addition to thousands more 911 calls in his career.
With plenty of free time now, Mallow will resume his hobbies of biking and hiking as well as his new-found passion for painting. And he and Dianna will be able to spend more time with grandchildren Hannah and Joshua, who live in Florida.
Mallow graduated from Xenia High School in 1975, spending the last two years at the Greene County Career Center and has lived in Xenia all his life.