In Memory of Bill Keylon
Dayton Fire Department's Chief
Thursday, May 15, 1975, was the last day of work for Dayton Fire Chief Bill Keylon. The City of Dayton and many others at the time stated they would miss the familiar face of Bill Keylon who was retiring after having been with the fire department at intervals since 1958.
When he first came to the department, he was a driver-mechanic, and then after working for a time with the Lookout Mountain force, he returned to Dayton in 1969 as Fire Chief.
Bill couldn't recall how many fires he has covered. They varied from grass fires to major business fires, but he did recall the First Baptist Church fire in which he claimed was the biggest he'd ever seen.
Other fires over the years included the cattle barn in south Dayton, Welch's Tourist Court, the Freeway Shell, and many houses. “I guess I've been lucky”, Bill stated, “I've never been hurt fighting fires or even had any close calls”.
While being Chief, the only injuries anyone has sustained were smoke inhalation cases. Several years ago, Bill was among firefighters who had to evacuate Thomison's Hospital when the building which housed the Dayton Department Store caught on fire.Everyone was carried to safety.
Bill was born March 12,1910, in Rockwood Tennessee, and came to Dayton when he was a year old. He went through the 8th grade at Dayton City School and said he liked school ok, but he guessed not enough to go to high school.
He and his wife Lona had four children. Chief Keylon said most of his time will be spent with his family.
He's also been a times newspaper carrier off and on for the past 27 years and will continue.
Even though Bill left the fire department, the town's people still had a chance to see him around town.
With the deepest respect, we thank Bill Keylon for his service to the community
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