Chief of the Department, Roy Fries, and the 1st Deputy Chief Alan Gassen organized the North Lindenhurst Junior Fire Department in 1974. The purpose for this was to attract children 10 to 16 years old interested in learning the skills of becoming a fire fighter when they turn 17 years old.
After the first year of organization, Captain John Britelli and Lt. Edward Fries were elected officers and Ex-Chief Leon Gumowski and Captain Anthony Minite were appointed advisors by Chief Alan Gassen to oversee the operations and report back to the chief’s office. Captains Ronald Kestenbaum and Ken Eiring replaced Ex-Chief Leon Gumowski and a few years later, Ex-Chief Alan Gassen replaced Chief Anthony Minite in 1980. Ex-Chief Gassen remained senior advisor until the present date, over 25 years and the current advisors consist of Ex-Chief Alan Gassen, Chief Walter W. Singer, Captain Brian Gassen and Ex-Captain John Smalling.
The Junior Fire Department officers were elected year after year from 1974 to the present and are listed below (see Ex-Captains).
The Junior Fire Fighters were taken out on drills with their advisors and officers of all the fire fighting and rescue companies to be taught all aspects of fire training. The Juniors had clean-ups to help maintain the fire stations and the firematic vehicles along with scheduled drills, meetings and parades. The Chiefs and Officers utilized the Juniors to do clean-up work at fire calls. The Juniors were able to respond to all signal 13s to assist the firemen any way possible. The Juniors also attended drills at Yaphank, the county training center, until insurance regulations prohibited them from attending. The Juniors assisted the fire companies in all aspects of fire fighting by helping them burn old houses down and fighting car fires. They learned how to operate the Hurst tool, climb the Hook and Ladder, first aid and CPR courses.
In 1994, the Junior Fire Department took on the task of becoming a Junior Fire Department Racing Team. Under Chief Roy Fries and Ex-Chief Alan Gassen, the Junior Piston Knockers were formed. Piston Knocker members Kevin Connell, George Thomas, Michael Welton, Anthony Raccomandato and Johnnie Maes did all the training and made this group of kids very competitive in Junior Racing. The first year 1994, they placed sixth in the New York State Tournament. In 1995 they placed second in the States and in 1996, they placed third. The Junior Piston Knockers tried to compete in 1997 but many of them became members of the Fire Department and only competed in a few tournaments.
During the past 32 years, many of these fine, dedicated members of the Junior Fire Department have become great, dedicated members of the great department and members of the award winning North Lindenhurst Piston Knockers Drill Team.
Thirty-nine Junior Fire Fighters have become active members of the department, fifteen Juniors attained the rank of Captain and seven were elected Chief. As of the present date, the following Junior Fire Fighters attained the rank of Chief:
Chief Anthony Minite, Jr. 1988-1990
Chief Walter Singer 1996-1998 and 2007
Chief Anthony Raccomandato 1998-2000
Chief Peter Maslinski 2000-2002
Chief William Serviss 2002-2004
Deputy Chief Michael Clement 2005
Deputy Chief Thomas Moran 2007
The Junior Fire Department has definitely been an asset to the North Lindenhurst Fire Department. They have done most of the training that the members who join the department have to do to become fire fighters. Recently in 2006, the Junior Fire Fighters were allowed to take Fire School courses just like all the fire fighters take, given by the Suffolk County Training Center. The basic courses were given at the fire station and nine Juniors completed fire courses and were issued their Fire Training Certificates. They will only now need CPR, HazMat and hands on courses given at the Training Center in Yaphank. When they join the department at the age of 17, they will be qualified fire fighters. The proudest moment of being an advisor or a Junior Fire Fighter is seeing a Junior perform his task as a fire fighter and be praised and recognized by his Officers and Chiefs.
The present advisors of the 50th Anniversary Year of 2007 are:
Ex-Captain Alan Gassen with 26 years of service
Captain Brian Gassen with 5 years of service
Ex-Captain John Smalling with 4 years of service
Chief Walter W. Singer, III
1630 Straight Path
Lindenhurst, NY 11757
Tel. (631) 957-1457
Michael Newman - Captain
Angelo Logullo - 1st Lieutenant
Vincent Winey - 2nd Lieutenant