COLUMBUS (WCMH) — For the past two years, we have been following the many cancer diagnosis within the fire service through our fighting 126 series. This week, the story of a husband, father and lieutenant who’s made and impact on everyone he’s worked with.
If you ask the guys at the fire station, they will tell you that Jim Ciroli doesn’t know a stranger. He works hard, is kind to everyone he meets and really knows his stuff.
Up until recently, he was still coming into the firehouse. Right now, he’s fighting cancer at home. His friends say if anyone can beat cancer, it’s Jim.
“He tells us that every morning. Know your job and let’s be nice to people.”
Lieutenant Jim Ciroli became a quick fixture at Station 4; known for being a great fireman and an even better person.
“He doesn’t know a stranger. He’s got a big personality, said Erin Slatzer. The two worked at Station 1 together for several years.
“Lt. Ciroli wasn’t Lt. Ciroli when he came out of the academy. Although, he still looks about the same.”
Ciroli was a rookie who already knew the job and impressed even some of the most experience firefighters.
“We always joked that he joined the fire service when he was 9 years old and he was promoted to captain at 13. But honestly, he grew up in the fire service.”
Slatzer said he has a candy obsession and went to special lengths to have a nickname.
“He gave himself his own nickname. He tried to name himself several times; he still refers to himself as Old School.” Apparently, none of the nicknames stuck.
If Slatzer were to think of one word to describe Ciroli, it’s dedicated.
“I mean that’s dedicated cause he is dedicated in everything. His faith, his family and friends; the fire department.”
Now that Ciroli is off fighting cancer his absence is felt greatly at Station 1.
“When you have a fixture at the firehouse who is no longer there, kind of somber is the way to put it,” said firefighter Jimmy Dennett.
Jim Ciroli had cancer before. “I thought, they will get that taken care of. Not a big deal. And if you know Jim, he didn’t make a big deal out of it,”Slatzer said.
This time the diagnosis is different as he fights metastatic renal cell carcinoma. “I’m still in disbelief to be honest with you.”
As Ciroli faces mounting hospital bills out of pocket, the guys at the firehouse are stepping in to help.
“There is a reason why we have had such a strong response from people wanting to donate. From friends and family up north from where he is from all of the fire departments from guys who don’t know him it’s because of who he is.”
Just as Jim always believed in his fellow firefighters, they continue to believe in him.
“My mindset it that he is going to beat it. I just can’t think any other way for Jim. It’s not his nature.”
To help Lieutenant Jim Ciroli, donate to the Jim Ciroli Fund at CME Federal Credit Union. You can also attend a chili cook off at the Firefighters Union Hall in Franklinton on April 14 between 3pm-8pm.