The brotherhood and sisterhood of firefighting

Posted 9/29/22

NARROWSBURG, NY — In a few short words, David Casey, chief of the Narrowsburg Fire Department, summed up the sense of dedicated camaraderie felt among the men and women who make up the legions …

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The brotherhood and sisterhood of firefighting


NARROWSBURG, NY — In a few short words, David Casey, chief of the Narrowsburg Fire Department, summed up the sense of dedicated camaraderie felt among the men and women who make up the legions of all-volunteer fire departments in our region and far beyond.

“It’s a brotherhood, a sisterhood,” he said. “Without that service that the town has, it wouldn’t be near as good. It’s not possible to have paid departments in small areas [like] Narrowsburg.”

The Narrowsburg Volunteer Fire Department was founded in 1902, and in 2002 it celebrated its centennial anniversary, with a special publication titled “One Hundred Years of Dedicated Service to the Hamlet of Narrowsburg, the Town of Tusten and Surrounding Areas.”

The publication featured an extensive history of the department, compiled by Arthur Hawker, a former New York state trooper, who at the time was serving as secretary to the department.

Twenty-seven years after the Narrowsburg department was established, the Lava Volunteer Fire Department was created just a few miles away, and to this day the departments work hand-in-hand to safeguard their citizens and provide fire safety demonstrations.

Although these safety demonstrations have been traditionally offered during Fire Prevention Week (Saturday, October 9 through Sunday, October 15) and in October in general, events have been curtailed due to the pandemic.

Chief Casey said they will be presenting something, hopefully during the month. “We always try to do something interesting for the kids.”

In reality, “we are one department when it comes to calls and training,” said Casey. “We work well together. There’s nobody above anyone else. It’s a great relationship.”

While the chief noted that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are “the biggest thing” in fire prevention, he also addressed this year’s theme of Fire Prevention Week, “Fire Won’t Wait. Plan Your Escape.”

“Most times, people are out of the house when we get there, but they need to have a good plan to leave the residence… get everyone out, call 911, and never go back in!”

Leading the 24-or-so active members are a cadre of line officers: David Casey (chief), Don McConnell (assistant chief), Art Hawker (captain), Shawn Gill (lieutenant) and Keith Buddenhagen (fire police captain).

Chief Casey, now in his 14th year as chief of the department, joined in October 1997, shortly after graduating from Narrowsburg High School. A friend and schoolmate encouraged him to sign the dotted line.

Volunteer firefighters are dedicated. “The time these guys have to put in is absolutely incredible,” the chief said. “Mat Carpenter, a new member, just graduated interior [fire] training… it was more than 120 hours, he didn’t get paid.”

The Narrowsburg Volunteer Fire Department is located at 203 Bridge St. The station is open most drill nights, which are usually scheduled on Thursdays at 7 p.m.

The department can be called at the fire station at 845/252-3328, or contacted through social media on Facebook at Narrowsburg Fire Department.

“Stop down at the fire station and talk to us if you’re interested in joining us,” said Chief Casey. He added that the county has recently implemented a Join Sullivan Fire initiative to get folks motivated to join the ranks of dedicated volunteer firefighters.

[This article was updated on September 30 to correct the name of Matt Carpenter and to remove the designation of the Frog's Pad, which is the nickname that is given to the Rock Hill Volunteer Fire Department.]

Narrowsburg Fire Department


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