Artie Kunz Jr. had an early flight to catch Nov. 1 of last year when his phone rang at 4 a.m., a bit before he had to be up to catch his plane to Mexico with his wife for their anniversary.
Kunz got the 9-1-1 emergency call that there was a house fire with six people trapped in the building and left immediately.
“By the time we got there, people had self-evacuated, got everybody out,” he said. “But the house was a total loss, it was burned from end to end.”
Kunz made sure everyone was okay and still able to catch his 8 a.m. plane.
“It was a pretty memorable quick day,” he said.
Over the past two years, Kunz has served as the chief of the answering many late night emergency calls. His two-year run is over, and on Sunday he’ll ceremoniously move into a deputy chief role with the department, which he’s been a part of for 17 years.
“My father’s been a member going on 45 years and we were always here as kids,” he said. “I grew up with it.”
During his two years in charge, Kunz said the has seen quite a bit from fires to car accidents. But in addition to those, they also had to deal with Hurricane Irene and the snowstorm last October.
He said during the nor'easter they fielded about 300 calls in three days and that everything went very smoothly.
“The guys that are behind you make it that much easier,” he said. “We’ve got a good bunch of line officers. Everybody worked together. We got the trucks out, did what we had to do.”
Kunz said he enjoyed his time as chief and working with his fellow firefighters, which he will continue to do as deputy chief. Taking over for Kunz is Ken Flynn, who will be sworn in at a ceremony Sunday afternoon.
“He’s a good, strong chief. 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,” he said. “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.”