OSSINING, N.Y. -- The Village of Ossining's Fire Department has 200 years under its belt and is only getting stronger.
The village will host its annual parade honoring the all-volunteer Ossining Fire Department at 7 p.m. Friday. The Ossining Fire Department is 201 years old, older than the village itself. The parade begins at Melrose Lumber and goes down Croton Avenue toward the Ossining Post Office and ends at Engel Park on Main Street. Fire departments from Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Albany and the Adirondacks will be on hand, along with fire departments from Connecticut.
“Our department takes care of its apparatus and keeps the trucks clean and operational,” Fire Chief Jason Lorenz said. “When we are called to duty, we are ready. A lot of people take pride in our company and organization.”
The Ossining Fire Department has more than 400 members, one of the largest volunteer departments in the state.
“We are a strong department,” Lorenz said. “It’s nice to see the community come out and support us.”
Lorenz, who has been in the fire department for 19 years and previously served as 2 assistant chief, goes to fire department parades throughout the county and said he enjoys seeing the pride communities take in their fire departments.
A pleased Mayor William Hanauer said Ossining has the best fire department in the state and possibly the country.
“This is an old village with old infrastructure,” Hanauer said. “Providing for the safety and security of the residents and merchants is the prime responsibility of village government. The fire department is highly esteemed across the state and is part of the social fabric of the village.”
Besides responding to fires, the fire department responds to gas leaks and carbon dioxide alarms. Fire trucks are also used during snow emergencies.
“They make me the proudest mayor in the state of New York,” Hanauer said. “It is important for both the fire department and the village to come out and show their appreciation.”
Hanuaer said village residents don’t often realize how well they are protected and fire department parades bring out patriotism.
“It is one of the most exciting events of the year in the village,” Hanauer said. “I look forward to (the parade).”
Town Councilman Peter Tripodi is a volunteer firefighter and said he loves marching in the parade every year.
“The fire department allows the community to see its firemen at their best dressed,” Tripodi said. “It shows the community what they have and what they should appreciate. We have the best fire department in the state.”
Tripodi said many people don’t recognize that the Ossining Fire Department is an all-volunteer department.
“Ossining really has something special compared to other towns and villages,” Tripodi said.
Tripodi joined the fire department after meeting firefighters while campaigning for town board. He was primarily the firehouse cook. He remembers the arduous training process, being in his firefighter gear climbing up a ladder, or going blindfolded through a maze.
“Every day there was something new to be intimidated by,” Tripodi said. “Being in the fire department was something I really appreciated. There are really good people in the department and I am proud to be associated with them.”
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