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Published: Saturday, 11/3/2001

Fireman fought '61 Trail inferno

Alojzy “Ollie” Mollen, 77, a Toledo firefighter for more than 30 years who was burned during the fierce 1961 Anthony Wayne Trail tanker fire, died yesterday in his West Toledo home of heart-related problems.

Mr. Mollen drove a ladder truck for most of his fire career, which began in 1949. Early in his career, he was at No. 7 station at Bancroft Street and Franklin Avenue. He was assigned later to No. 25 station on Central Avenue.

He was an inspector for several years in the fire prevention bureau and retired in 1980.

Mr. Mollen was in the second wave of responders June 10, 1961, to a gasoline tanker fire on the Anthony Wayne Trail, daughter Sandy Tober said. Four firefighters were killed; others were burned badly. His hair was singed, and his face and eyes were injured. But once healed, he didn't hesitate to return to duty.

“He loved that job, and he had such a strong work ethic,” his daughter said. “That was his thing. He felt great kinship with the other men and a real dedication and pride.”

His son, a firefighter at No. 24 station, said: “He liked the excitement of going on fires.” Mr. Mollen even spoke recently of how much he missed of going to fires, his son said.

He grew up on Dexter Street near Warsaw Street in North Toledo and attended Woodward High School.

An Army veteran of World War II, he was stationed in Hawaii and was part of forces ready to invade Japan when the war ended. He worked for Willys-Overland Motors after the war. He was a member of Regina Coeli Church and a volunteer at the Our Lady of Toledo Shrine on Coy Road in Oregon, founded in 1997 by Sally Steadman. He loaned his gardening talents to the shrine and grew roses there.

Surviving are his wife, Janet, whom he married April 23, 1949; daughters, Christine Vance and Sandra Tober; son, Joseph; five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

The body will be in the Sujkowski Mortuary Northpointe after 6 tonight, with an honor guard and last alarm service at 7 p.m. tomorrow in the mortuary and a recitation of the Rosary at 7:30 p.m. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Monday in Regina Coeli Church.

The family requests tributes to the Our Lady of Toledo Shrine in Oregon or Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Perrysburg Township.

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