THE MAYOR’S REPORT: Fire service and fire prevention

Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas Jr.

Wow! What a beautiful fall weekend that included last Friday. I represented Greencastle on Friday for the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Franklin County Public Safety Training Center located at the Career and Technology Center. Hard to believe that it was over two decades ago when a lot of teamwork was instrumental in constructing a training (burn) building, classroom building, and garage/storage facilities. A special thanks to Dave Burkholder of Dave’s Truck Repair for all his volunteerism in support of this important training center. One of the buildings was dedicated to honor Dave.

See the pictures:Rescue Hose Co. hosts Fire Prevention Week open house

Annual walk and commemoration:‘Say their names’ is the message as Greencastle remembers 9/11

So, have you settled into autumn and prepared for the winter? I’ll ultimately get there, however, still enjoying being out and yes, even doing some porch sittin’ when possible. Take a break with me as I revisit Fire Prevention Week, now being commemorated. Did Mrs. O’Leary’s cow really knock over an open flame lamp that started the Chicago fire in 1871? Sorry. It’s just a theory that’s never been proven. On this day (Oct. 9) 1871 the Chicago fire conflagration was raging — 250 citizens perished with 100,000 left homeless. Fifty years later the National Fire Marshal’s Association decided this time of year should be for fire prevention education. A wonderful idea in 2022. In 1920 President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day. Two years later, Fire Prevention Week was observed in 1922.

Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas Jr.

Fire prevention takes simple actions. Test your smoke/CO2 detectors and change batteries when needed. Have your heating system serviced. Keep grills away from structures. If you use tobacco products, discard them safely. The same is true if you burn wood as a heat source. Keep those chimneys clean.

It was an exciting weekend at Rescue Hose Company. Open house was observed on Saturday. The 1930 Seagrave is still out of service for repairs. The carburetor was replaced and a new radiator is coming from Europe. A special thanks to member Kerry Jackson for the use of his antique Mack fire engine that provided rides for children and adults.

FDNY Firefighter Robert Sheerin works at Engine 313 and Ladder 164. He and his family from New York, Florida, Maryland and Ireland visited the Rescue Hose Co. after he read an Echo Pilot article about a retired engine from his firehouse being part of the 9/11 remembrance ceremonies in Greencastle.

Do I have a story for you! The Echo Pilot recently covered our 9/11 remembrance walk that we held on Sept. 10. Retired FDNY Engine 313 has participated in our two walks last year and this year. Somehow the article was read by FDNY Firefighter Robert Sheerin who works at Engine 313 and Truck 164. A “truck” is a ladder truck. Firefighter Sheerin reached out to reporter Shawn Hardy, who got us in touch with him. Turns out he was in the Hagerstown area over the weekend visiting relatives. Firefighter Sheerin and his family from New York, Florida, Maryland and Ireland visited us this past Sunday and toured the Rescue Hose Company station. We had a great time as they toured our station and our museum.  Everyone gathered on the stage at the former South Antrim Elementary School, now Rescue Hose Company, for a photo. We made sure they all received a Rescue Hose Company shirt. I believe we will have a lifetime friendship with our brothers and sisters in service to our citizens and our communities. It was a healing moment for me to talk and listen. Firefighter Sheerin stated that FDNY firefighters are still succumbing to the hazards of 9/11/2001 and post 9/11. Please pray for the men and women that serve, protect and sacrifice. 

Writing about those who serve, when you see Greencastle Police Officer Robert “Bob” Petrunak, please say “thank you for your service.” Officer Petrunak is hanging up his badge at the end of this month after over 23 years of service. He will continue serving as a volunteer at Rescue Hose Company, where he has been active for about 35 years. Bob, my brother, thank you for your past, present and continued service to the citizens of G-A.

The sun is setting on this beautiful Sunday. Here in G-A, we are certainly blessed.