|From left: Ted Renninger, Todd Wilcox and Don Richards, all from Finger Lakes Construction Co., Dave Kirstein, Al Mosure, Dick Bezio, Dan Spencer, Bill Jost, Roger Smith, Dick Martin, Todd Claremont, Charlene Claremont, Paul Smith, Chuck Dobson, Shelly Smith, Cindy Williams, Sue Jackman (donor, Camp Topridge), Jean Robert, Lee Robert, Deb Meyer (Town Supervisor).|
|Paul Smith's-Gabriels Volunteer Fire Department|
Attached is a list of all the chiefs and the years they served.
After over twenty years of operation there are still three original active members, Dave Kirstein, Dave Duquette, and Bill Jost (way to go guys)! Dave Kirstein has been treasurer for most of the department's history. Dave Duquette has held many line office positions including chief in 1984-85 and again in 1996. Bill has worked his way through all the line office positions, including training officer, and was the department chief in 1995.
The department currently consists of a combination of firefighters, fire police, and active social members. The social members play an important part in the operations of the department. They help out in many fund-raisers, food preparation during calls, photography, social events, etc.
1. Richard Bezio Firefighter
As the area grew so did the fire service needs. Soon the building we were in was not adequate for the fire department to conduct our business and protect our community. So with much help from friends, neighbors and the volunteers the construction of a new fire house began. In November of 1998 a parade of the Paul Smiths-Gabriels fire trucks from the old fire house at Paul Smith's College to the new one opened up the ceremonies for the fire station's grand opening. Many townspeople, neighboring fire departments, town officials, and news media were present to help celebrate this fabulous occasion.
The fire station houses our five fire trucks: two pumpers, two tankers, and our miscellaneous brush truck, which was newly acquired in 2000, and also a fire boat which is on a trailer and stored at the fire station. We also have a fully-equipped fire barge which is at dock two on Upper St. Regis Lake.
PSGVFD contracts for fire protection with the Town of Brighton and a
portion of Santa Clara for a cost of approximately $60,000 annually. Along
with fire calls, the department also runs mutual aid on all rescue calls
in the Town of Brighton.
If you have gone through the town during Memorial Day weekend over the past few years you have seen your volunteers standing on the intersection of the Rainbow Lake Road and Route 86 for the coin drop. This is a very lucrative fund raiser, the proceeds of which we use to purchase communication devices.
Approximately 60 fire calls were responded to in 2000. The largest loss of property due to fire in the Town of Brighton in 2000 was a garage fire at the Jay Swartz residence on Keeses Mills Road. Unfortunately the beautiful garage Jay constructed was a total loss. But tremendous efforts paid off in keeping his home from fire damage. Paul Smiths-Gabriels Fire Department responded to the call and received help from the Saranac Lake, Bloomingdale, and Tupper Lake fire departments.
As times change so do requirements of the fire service. In 2000 it was time to replace our outdated and non-compliant turnout gear. After much research 30 sets of gear were ordered at a cost of $1200 per set. In the spring of 2001 the new gear will arrive.
Training is a very important part of the fire service. We take pride in the amount of training our department offers and takes advantage of. The winter of 2000 we decided that if we had a training tower close to "home" it would enable us to do more real life like training and also invite neighboring departments to train with us, as we work together quite closely during emergency situations. So with plans, ideas, and a model built, (thanks Paul), we agreed to construct a training tower on our property in the spring of 2001. The Tower will enable us to train in and on a house-structure teaching hose advancements, search and rescue, ladders, ventilation, confined space training, and much more.
Sometimes it is nice to take a time-out of the seriousness and play. Every May we hold a banquet for the members to get together, relax, and have a party. Invited are the members and their significant others, neighboring department chiefs, town officials, and people who have helped us out through the year. An excellent dinner is catered by the Bloomingdale K of C, cocktails served, music provided, serious awards are given out, a slide show and of course the Gag-gifts. The members all appreciate and deserve this night.
I have been a member since January 1990. I was elected 2nd Lt. in 1992 and 2001 will mark my 5th consecutive year as chief. The department by-laws state that I have to take a year off as chief before I am eligible to run again. What will I do with my time? (Shelley has some ideas). I love being a firefighter and I love being chief. I cannot imagine myself not being involved with the fire department.
A little advice from me to you: If you ever want to help out your community, join your local fire department, you will never regret it. If you can't be a member for whatever reason I know for a fact that the fire department will accept a donation of any size at any time. It helps the department, so the department can help you.