The first time Kenny Flynn ran for an officer position with the New City Fire Department he lost.
But now, Flynn who started a two-year term as chief of the department on Jan. 5 looks back at that loss positively, saying it was one of the best things to happen to him.
“I just wasn’t ready,” he said. “I had young kids and I was in my 20s. At that age you think you know everything. It wasn’t my time. Over the years you become aware of what you have to offer.”
So a few years later he ran again, and has since been working his way to the top of the department that he joined in 1986 when he was 16-years-old.
“I had a teacher who was a member of the department who tried to recruit members from the high school,” said Flynn, of New City. “I just thought it would be something fun to do, something to fill the time.”
But after he joined the department, Flynn found he really enjoyed his volunteer work.
“It gives you a tremendous feeling of satisfaction that you really are helping your neighbors,” he said. “It’s really people you know, people you’ve went to school with, kids your kids have played ball with, just people you see around.”
In his time with the department he’s covered everything from fires to car accidents to floods to a girl getting her finger stuck in a locker.
“Then there’s the automatic alarms,” he said. “We get a lot of those that go off.”
But he said that during his time with the department, the situations he most remembers are the ones when the department is thrown a curveball.
“Sometimes we’ll see a car accident that you’re not sure how the person even survived, and then they’re stuck in the car so you have to cut them out,” he said. “So you cut them out of the car, and then you see them later walking around perfectly fine. It’s just amazing.”
He also said that in 2010 there was a fire at a house on Zukor Road around 4 a.m. on a November morning, and the call said there were six people trapped inside. By the time the department got to the house, the people had already self-evacuated, but the house was destroyed.
“In my 20-plus years, that’s one of the only times I can remember seeing people lose everything they owned,” he said. “That fire just destroyed everything.”
Flynn said he’s honored to become the chief, and his responsibilities are pretty much everything not on the business side of the department. So he’s in charge of the day-to-day operations, alarms, responses, training and whatever else might come up.
He said he’s excited and knows he’s got a lot of work ahead of him, including the department’s 125th anniversary in 2013.
“It’s going to be really great to be chief for that,” he said.
He’s taking over for ., who has been chief the last two years and has moved over to a deputy chief position.
“He’s a good, strong chief,” Kunz said of Flynn. “He’s been behind me the whole way up the line. Between the two of us I don’t think there’s anything we haven’t conquered. You never know what’s going to be around the next corner, but we work great together and he’s going to do a great job. His heart’s all for the place.”
Flynn and the other 2012 officers were sworn in during a ceremony Sunday at the New City firehouse on Maple Avenue.
New City Fire Department Officers For 2012:
- First Assistant Chief: James Avaras
- Second Assistant Chief: Dennis Rodriguez
- Captain: Tim Kunz
- First Lieutentant: John Latanzio
- Second Liet: Rich Willows
- Chief Engineer: John Pawelczyk
- Assistant Chief Engineers: Chris Oliva, Alan Handsman, Mike Sansone, Eric Zweigbaum