Richard W. Harris is hoping the city will take a hard look at some of what he sees as barriers that could be hampering efforts to finally diversify the 126-member fire department.
"You don't want unnecessary requirements in place that discourage people from becoming firefighters and you want to create an environment where we want minorities in the fire department," said the retired New York City fire lieutenant Friday during a discussion at City Hall about a program aimed at boosting the paltry number of minorities currently among Schenectady's ranks.
In Schenectady, a person needs to have at least 60 college credits, be certified as a paramedic, and pass the civil service exam to become a firefighter paramedic. Ron Gardner, Schenectady's affirmative action officer, said that it could take upwards of two years to complete all those prerequisites, which he said can be challenging.
The FDNY’s longest serving firefighter, Battalion Chief Don Hayde, came to work on his final shift Sunday wearing heavy-duty black work boots as if it was just another day in his 41 years on the job.
“Always 110 percent prepared,’’ said Hayde, who Sunday turned 65 — the FDNY's mandatory retirement age.
Hayde, a Baldwin resident whose firefighting career started at 18 as a volunteer in Uniondale, described his final day wearing the FDNY uniform as bittersweet. He said he'll miss "the guys" he worked with over the years but is ready to become a civilian again. Hayde credited his late father, a volunteer firefighter in Uniondale, with motivating him to take the same path.
“I am grateful," Hayde said. "My father gave me a great career — a great living that supported my family. I’d do it again."
Hayde made a brief visit Sunday morning to the twin reflecting pools at the Sept. 11 Memorial and thought of his fellow firefighters who lost their lives just over 17 years ago.
AM New York
One person is confirmed dead after a townhouse fire in Camillus on Monday morning.
The flames broke out just after 4 a.m. at the Aaron Manor Townhouses along Gordon Parkway, near Milton Avenue.
Deputies from the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office tell us one other person was transported to an area hospital for smoke inhalation.
They are said to be in stable condition.
Dozens of firefighters from multiple departments and a number of ambulances responded to the scene.
Early reports indicated that two people may have been trapped inside.
Smoke could be seen along Interstate 690, near Warners Road.
Neighbors tell NewsChannel 9 that they were woken up by the sirens.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The West End Firehouse on Upper Broadway in the City of Newburgh has been determined to contain asbestos, according to laboratory test results.
A report from Quest Environmental Solutions and Technologies, requested by the city, studied the first floor kitchen, first floor kitchen bathroom, first floor stairwell to second floor and the second floor perimeter column across from the bathroom.
Test results, conducted for Quest by Eastern Analytical Services of Elmsford, New York found asbestos in the first floor kitchen wall plaster finish coat, first floor stairwell to second floor wall sheetrock joint compound, and the second floor column across from the bathroom plastic finish coat.
“Debris associated with the above identified asbestos-containing materials was observed within the general vicinity of the damaged building materials,” said Quest inspector and project designer Rudy Lipinski, director of field operations, in a report to City Manager Michael Ciaravino.
A Long Beach volunteer firefighter pulled an unconscious man out of the ocean Friday afternoon and helped revive him with cardiopulmonary resuscitation, officials said, adding that the victim was fighting for his life in a hospital.
Long Beach Fire Commissioner Scott Kemins said firefighter Justin Fitzmartin, who also is an emergency medical technician, jumped into the water near Tennessee Avenue and brought the man to shore shortly after fire officials received the emergency call at 2:38 p.m. Fitzmartin and a Long Beach police officer performed CPR, Kemins said.
"The patient regained a pulse and was transported to South Nassau Communities Hospital emergency room in critical condition," Kemins said.
Ryan McTiernan, executive assistant to the Long Beach city manager, said police Officer Michael Corbett helped revive the victim after Fitzmartin carried him to the shore.
While Royal Preston may no longer be able to go out on fire calls, he still has an impact on the Franklinville Volunteer Fire Department.
The 94-year-old Franklinville native has been an exempt member for the last 36 years, but anytime there’s a fire hall function, he’s there. Members describe him as the unofficial grandfather of the department.
“He’s someone you look up to,” said Franklinville Assistant Fire Chief Bill Lambert. At the department’s annual family picnic Saturday at Shamrock Pines Campground, Preston was honored for reaching 75 years of service. Firefighters surprised him with certificates of recognition from state fire organizations, as well as the presence of his family members, whom they secretly invited.
Olean Times Herald