Several area fire departments opened their doors for the annual statewide RecruitNY program Saturday.
Castorland Fire Company members were at the station early having been called out to a motor vehicle crash on Route 126 at 6 a.m. Operations Chief Gary Ashline said about 14 Castorland firefighters responded along with those from Beaver Falls. The driver had to be extricated from the vehicle and was taken by helicopter to a hospital.
During the RecruitNY event, the firefighters demonstrated their newly acquired aerial truck purchased from the Adams Fire Department in October.
Department members also talked about why they joined the fire service.
Austin T. Kottcamp, a five-year member, was inspired to join having been rescued himself.
“They saved me when I was 16,” he said of the rollover accident.
Veteran firefighter Nicholas J. Astafan said he is a member to help the community. He has been with the Castorland department for only a couple of years but has been involved in fire service for more than 40 years. He has served in the New Bremen Fire Department and in EMS.
The West Carthage Fire Department had a presence at both of its stations on Saturday.
Nicholas R. Koepsell, Carthage Area Rescue Squad, was on hand at Station 2 in Champion.
“We are looking for community members who want to help,” he said, noting that it would be ideal to get people from Champion to work out of the station there.
CARS recently renewed its contract with the village of West Carthage to staff the station for another year.
Firefighter Susan R. Cornell, a one-year member of the West Carthage Fire Department, was at the High Street station with her 2-year-old son, Carson S. Covillon.
Wearing a junior firefighter’s plastic helmet, Carson said he wants to be a fireman.
Ms. Cornell said she grew up around firefighting. Her father and grandfather, as well as other family members, were firefighters in the Chaumont and Three Mile Bay departments.
“I wanted to show up, show support and bring my little one to continue the tradition,” she said.
Although there was a slow start to the recruitment weekend, West Carthage Fire Chief Peter Crump Jr. said one person took an application Saturday morning.
Jeremy T. Yawger, owner of Street Eats, was at the event to provide hot dogs from his business and took an application.
“I was a junior firefighter before I joined the military,” Mr. Yawger said. “I’m a member of the (American) Legion and feel being part of the community is important. I want to help out but will probably join the auxiliary — I don’t have time for all the training. I’ll be here to roll hoses, clean equipment, make chow — whatever is needed. They deserve a decent meal after fighting fires and saving lives.”
The Northpole Fire Company, 22334 Route 11 in Watertown, opened its doors at 8 a.m. Saturday.
Throughout the day, visitors toured the station, checked out the equipment and tried on gear. Crews demonstrated firefighting activities and provided information about becoming a member.
“This is an excellent opportunity for people to meet their local volunteer firefighters and learn a bit more about the fire service,” said Joseph Wargo, Northpole fire chief. “We are always looking for new members and it is our hope that after meeting us, more people will be interested in becoming a part of our family.”