fire & ems

Yulan VFD celebrates

By TED WADDELL
Posted 4/28/21

YULAN, NY — The Yulan Volunteer Fire Department (YVFD) has a proud history of service to the local community in the Upper Delaware River Valley.

According to “In the Eye of the …

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fire & ems

Yulan VFD celebrates

Posted

YULAN, NY — The Yulan Volunteer Fire Department (YVFD) has a proud history of service to the local community in the Upper Delaware River Valley.

According to “In the Eye of the Fire,” a brief history of the department (1946-2009), in 1946, a young man by the name of Joe Wulforst of West Hempstead, Long Island was vacationing in the small hamlet. There, he started talking with local folks about forming a volunteer fire company.

Until then, “fire protection and rescue coverage had been provided by neighboring towns of Shohola, PA and Narrowsburg, NY, with support coming from as far away as Sparrowbush.”

“In December of 1946, Joe brought a 1927 Seagrave pumper up to Yulan from West Hempstead. Three of Yulan’s founding fathers dug into their own pockets to pay about $300 for the truck, which was housed in Lou Hensel’s Garage....”

As the years progressed, a new firehouse was built in 1950; satellite stations were added in 1952 and 1955; and in 1985, the fire house was enlarged by the addition of three truck bays.

In January, 1947, Lou Hensel was appointed the first chief of the department. A year later, Clinton Guenther Sr. was elected chief of the company and Albert Kaese served as YVFD’s first president (1947-1953).

While battling a fire in 1956, former chief Charles Art broke his artificial leg. However, “Thanks to the legal efforts and assistance of Honorable Judge Lawrence H. Cooke, a precedent was set and compensation laws amended to allow for payment for prosthesis.”

In 1986, Nancy Hofaker became the first female firefighter to join YVFD, serving on the active roster for 34 years. The roster also lists William Hofaker III serving for 53 years, while William Hofaker IV devoted 42 years serving his community.

Linda Anderson, whose father was Guenther Sr., the first-elected chief, joined in 1987 and served in active duty for 34 years and then became secretary of the department.

Former chief Michael Oset served as head of the department from 1984 to 1986 and comes from a long line of Osets to hold that position: Chester Oset (1953-1955, 1973-1975, 1977-1978), and Stanley Oset (1959-1960).

Mike Oset joined in 1978 and recalls that, in those days before radio systems came on the scene, in case of emergencies people would stop at a few local establishments, pick up the phone and call for help: Wolff’s Bar at the Hillside Inn “where everybody hung out,” the Yulan Service Station, or “my parent’s house where I grew up,” referring to his folks Chet and Helen, who is now 91 years old.

Oset remembers his most memorable blaze as the Dellview Fire, which was a “two- or three-story building that burned in the middle of winter... We didn’t have any water so we had to truck everything in and set up lines.”

“There were people in there, but they all got out,” he added.

As the department enters its diamond jubilee year, a look at the roster shows that membership comprises volunteers with decades of dedicated service: 22 firefighters with more than 30 years; 22 with 40+ years and 13 in the 50+ years club.

The longest-tenured member is Donald Paulus, who joined in 1955 and holds the honor of serving for 66 years. Members with more than 25 years of service total 58.

Current officers of YVFD are Phil Deyermond (chief), Keith Blaut (first assistant chief), Adam Norris (second assistant chief), Tim Oset (captain), Derik Knight (first lieutenant), Louis Tambini (second lieutenant), Nancy Hofaker (fire police captain).

“I joined the department in 2004,” said Deyermond, adding he signed up shortly after he and his wife bought a plot of land in the area.

Deyermond’s grandfather, James, was a paid firefighter in Massachusetts, while his father, Edward, served as a volunteer firefighter on Long Island.

“I’m an outsider in the community, and I’ve been given so much by so many wonderful people. This is my way of giving back to the community.”

Like many of his brethren, Deyermond said that it’s getting harder and harder to get volunteers to join local fire departments, “It’s difficult to find volunteers in this day and age, people don’t want to serve anymore, there’s too much stuff going on, that’s what it boils down to.”

If you’d like to help out YVFD, in addition to joining, the chief said, “The biggest thing is to pay their taxes; bottom line, that’s what keeps us going.”

For years, the department has put on a popular corned-beef-and-cabbage dinner, but due to the pandemic, that event is on hold, at least for now.

This year will be 50th Anniversary of the Von Steuben Festival, which Deyermond said was the department’s largest annual fundraiser. “That’s the way we pay off our equipment.”

Yulan recently picked up a new Class A pumper, just before some government regulations on exhaust systems went into effect, a timely acquisition that saved an estimated $100,000.

The department maintains a fleet of three Class A pumpers, a 1,500 gallon tanker, a rescue truck, a mini-pumper and related equipment.

“We rely a lot on our sister departments,” said Deyermond, adding of dealing with the pandemic’s effects of operations and
fundraising, “It’s been an extremely challenging [time].”

James Deyermond, a 12-year-old seventh-grader at Eldred Central School, is the chief’s son and the department’s newest cadet firefighter, following in the footsteps of his elders, from his great grandfather, his grandfather and, now, his dad.

Asked why he wanted to learn the ropes, the younger Deyermond replied, “Well, my dad is one; I hope to one day become a firefighter. I just don’t want to break the tradition.”

The Yulan Fire Department is located at 216 Airport Rd., Yulan, NY. The firehouse phone number is 845/557-8483.

Get involved

There will always be a need for people who care, who help, who heal. As new tragedies shake us and new problems challenge us, we do more than fight fires and staff ambulances.

Volunteer firefighters and emergency service personnel are trained and equipped professionally to serve for and protect their communities with pride. From the birth of a nation to modern days, the volunteer emergency service personnel has been at its best when times are at their worst.

When you join a volunteer firefighting or emergency service family, you honor a great tradition of stepping up whenever and wherever help is needed while also improving yourself.

We teach

When you join a volunteer fire service or ambulance corps, you learn to use the most advanced technology and tools available to protect and serve your community.

We train

Ordinary men and women are trained to do extraordinary things when they join the volunteer fire service and ambulance corps. All at no charge.

We serve together

Teamwork is at the center of all this training and equipment. The brother- and sisterhood of the emergency services share the same basic training, rewarding experience and in addition to the personal rewards of life-changing growth that you can only find in volunteering to provide emergency services.

In addition to the personal rewards of special service to the community, volunteers enjoy several tangible benefits.

  • FREE TRAINING AND EQUIPMENT
  • FREE HEALTH CHECKUPS
  • SCHOLARSHIPS
  • TAX BREAKS
  • INSURANCE COVERAGE

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