EST.1946

The Chelsea Fire Company is a group of dedicated men and women that protect an 8 square mile district including portions of the Town of Fishkill, Town of Wappinger, and the Hudson River.

Our district is primarily residential, but includes multiple large apartment or condominium complexes, a nursing home, two assisted living facilities, an 1,000+ acre farm and educational center owned and operated by New York State, a portion of Interstate 84, and Dutchess Stadium. 

The all-volunteer company responds to an average of 450 calls for service annually, including fires, motor vehicle collisions, hazardous materials incidents, and life threatening medical emergencies.

However, today's chapter in the story of Chelsea Fire Company's evolution would not have been possible without its humble introduction in April 1, 1946. The area was barren in terms of emergency services. A void that was recognized by concerned citizens and, with humble beginnings, addressed through the proactive actions of 19 individuals. With hard earned funds pooled together, a surplus 1943 Ford Pumper was purchased, thus sowing the seeds of our gradual growth in response area,response frequency and response capability.

Members of
"The Little Company That Could":


                  Ryan McCluskey

                 Ryan McCluskey

What is your name? 
Ryan McCluskey

How long have you been in the Fire service? 
9 years

Why did you join the Fire service?
I grew up in the fire house. I spent birthdays, holidays and a lot of time there with family and friends.

What are your goals within Chelsea FD?
to better the Department and my community

How has being a member of Chelsea FD affected your home/family life?
I have missed many family functions, birthdays,holidays and graduations. I have ran out on lunches and special dinners. It has caused fights and arguments, but when its all said and done you appreciate the time home a little more and your family is always happy to see you walk through the door.

What is your primary occupation?
I am a Fire Sprinkler Technician

Why do you Volunteer?
I just got hooked from being around as a kid and responding to calls with my grandfather.

What is one thing that you would like to tell a potential new member?
Consult your family before applying and understand the commitment you are making. This is not a business for the faint of heart and the easily offended, But if you stick around you will find out that becoming a Firefighter was one of your best decisions.

 


            Jonathan Paul Castelli

            Jonathan Paul Castelli

What is your name? 
Well, apparently I have many names. "Charlie Sheen, J.wow, Uncle Jessie from Fullhouse, among many many others. However, my full name is Jonathan Paul de'jesus Castelli.

Current position in Chelsea FD? 
Firefighter/EMT

How long have you been in the fire service? 
about 8 years, give or take a little.

Why did you join the Fire service?  
that is a long story, the abbreviated version is that I never wanted to be a Firefighter. The mere thought never crossed my mind, but 9/11 changed that. At first I tried my hardest to enlist into the military and was rejected do to health issues. After a long time of rejection I was introduced to the Volunteer Fire service and was immediately hooked. Now, I cant imagine myself away from the fire service.

Did you have certain expectations of what it might be like to belong to a Fire department prior to joining? 
I didn't have a clue what I was about to get myself into. Now that I do know, I will never leave it as its a part of me and a way to be a part of something bigger than myself.

Were your expectations met? what was different than you expected? 
Well, I didn't really have an expectation except to be a part of a team that went out to help others in their time of need and that was certainly accomplished.

What are your goals within Chelsea FD? 
I want to be able to say that I was able to make a difference. If I had to leave this department for whatever reason, I would want to be able to say I left it in a better state then when I joined. I would also like to be able to get a paid career out of this. If you love what you do AND you can get paid doing it, then it isn't "work"  any more, it's more like a dream come true.

How has being a member of Chelsea FD affected your home/family life? 
 I'm not going to lie to you, it's torture to have to leave the family in order to fulfill my obligations to the FD and the community it protects. There have been many times that plans were postponed or flat out canceled because there was an emergency call I responded to. Quite a few times , those "emergencies" turned out to be caused by extreme carelessness by the occupant, followed by profuse apologies by the occupant or followed by angst and annoyance. So when you come home from something like that , it becomes very hard to justify cancellations of any plans , whether family or not.

Why do you volunteer? 
Honestly, I have no clue. I am not paid, I have to abandon my family at times, I have to rush out of bed at 3 AM to try my best to navigate with bleary eyes and foggy brains just to get to the emergency and then get suited up in order to help. But, its a shared hardship with my friends at the FD and for no truly better reason, it's the right thing to do.

What is one thing that you would like to tell a potential new member? 
Do not waste my time and do not waste your time if you do not have the self discipline, the self sacrifice and the drive to become someone that makes a difference. This field of work is ,for the majority of the time, thankless. It requires an ever increasing amount of time for training and the call volume is increasing, which means possibly more plans cancelled or delayed. However, if you feel you can do this and develop a real sense of belonging to this field, then by all means, welcome to the party!
 


            Angel Luis Gonzalez III

            Angel Luis Gonzalez III

What is your name? 
Angel Luis Gonzalez III

Current position in Chelsea FD? 
Firefighter/EMT/ Lieutenant

How long have you been in the fire service?
3 years

Why did you join the Fire service?
I joined the Fire service to protect and serve my community.The Fire service helped fill a void of Brotherhood and camaraderie I had when I served in the U.S Army.

Did you have certain expectations of what it might be like to belong to a Fire department prior to joining?
I was nervous when I volunteered.I came in with a blank slate as far as expectations and I was not disappointed in my choice.

Were your expectations met? What was different than you expected? 
With no expectations to begin with, I soon realized that "expectations" had developed with each passing year. I "expected" to accomplish evolving goals with my fellow brothers and sisters in the Firehouse in order to become a better Firefighter and a better teacher to younger members. 

What are your goals within Chelsea FD? 
My personal goals are simple. I wanted to training to be top-notch or to be developed into something that was envied and sought after, in order to become a better First responder and a better person. All in all, to be the best that I can be.

How has being a member of Chelsea FD affected your home/family life?  
Why do you volunteer?
Being a member has put stress on my home and family life, but I am fortunate that everyone in my life has adapted well by knowing that I'm doing this for a good reason.

What is your Primary occupation?
I work as an EMT in Philipstown.

Why do you volunteer?
I volunteer for a few reasons, very simply I want to be "that person" that can help a person that cannot help themselves and hopefully be the one who makes a bad day just a little better.

What is one thing that you would like to tell a potential new member?
Before you commit to our family and business trade, you must ask yourself " can I see myself putting my life in danger at a moments notice, at any time, in any weather for a complete stranger". If not, then this is not for you.

 


           James Rawley

           James Rawley

What is your name? 
James " Jay " Rawley

Current position in Chelsea FD? 
Interior Firefighter, Driver, Past Chief

How long have you been in the fire service?
30 years

Why did you join the Fire service?
To help the citizens of the Chelsea Fire District during times of emergency.

Did you have certain expectations of what it might be like to belong to a Fire department prior to joining?
Yes. Firefighting & Rescue, I was also aware of the time Commitment. 

Were your expectations met? What was different than you expected? 
Some. It always gives me great pleasure to help people in their time of need.

What are your goals within Chelsea FD?The retirement is a definite bonus. I enjoy passing along my knowledge to younger members.

How has being a member of Chelsea FD affected your home/family life?  
Why do you volunteer?
It does take away from family time, however the benefit of helping people exceeds any inconvenience.

What is your Primary occupation?
Physician assistant

Why do you volunteer?
Doing something different than my primary job. Looking forward to the unexpected.

What is one thing that you would like to tell a potential new member?
There is a tremendous amount of pride in volunteering especially if you have skills that can help your community.


                 Amber McDougall

                 Amber McDougall

What is your name? 
Amber McDougall

Current position in Chelsea FD? 
Firefighter

How long have you been in the fire service?  
11 yrs

Why did you join the Fire service?  
I grew up in the fire house. I saw what my family did and how they help so many people and wanted to be apart of that.

Did you have certain expectations of what it might be like to belong to a Fire department prior to joining? 
Not really I grew up in this house so I was always around and knew mostly what to expect.

Were your expectations met? what was different than you expected? 
Yes. You have to put in more time then I expected at first. There are drills and training and meetings and calls all along with your regular home and work life and other extra curricular activities. It does put a toll on your home life sometimes.

What are your goals within Chelsea FD? 
I'm more then comfortable with my position as a regular Firefighter. Being an officer is a lot more extra work. It's not that that's what deters me from being an officer tho. I'm fully confident that I could do it, but sometimes officers can be bias to some things or people or actions and I'm not comfortable doing that. My dad was the chief and I was held up to be the same as everyone else, no special privileges  or exceptions. If anything I had to work harder to prove that it was just as normal as everyone else getting no special treatment. I enjoy most of the training, but its the same as anything, in school did you like sitting through your least favorite class lectures?

How has being a member of Chelsea FD affected your home/family life? 
Not really that much, my boyfriend is also a volunteer so it works out for the most part. It does get stressful sometimes tho. We could both get a call at the same time and I'm cooking dinner so I get stuck finishing it instead of going, but I know that we're both still doing what we can. I do wish I could be around more often, but I do have 2 jobs ,sometimes 3, but I still make it to training most of the time. So it might mean skipping out on spending time at home when I haven't seen him. You just have to prioritize your time with how it works for you, everyone is different. Different work schedules, plans, it all depends on the person.

What is your Primary occupation?
I work for a medical billing company full time. I also work as a part time bartender. I also sometimes pick up odd jobs from now and then, it all depends on what pops up. I dog sit, house sit, and run the bar when my boss is away along with my daytime job.

Why do you volunteer? 
I like to help people when I can. If that involves opening up a car after an accident to get someone to safety, then so be it. I enjoy it.

What is one thing that you would like to tell a potential new member? 
Be ready to put in the work. A lot of people join and end up leaving because its hard or they don't have the time. Its a big step, you have to get the training, which is minimal sometimes, but its a lot of time to get over the hump. Everyone thinks "its so cool your a firefighter, that must be fun". Its a job and people get hurt and you have to realize its not "cool ,that's fun" you're there to help people and sometimes that's hard. But if your interested it can be fun, but there is hard parts about it.


    Angelica Guerrero Pulido

   Angelica Guerrero Pulido

What is your name? 
Angelica Guerrero Pulido

Current position in Chelsea FD? 
Probationary Firefighter/ EMT

How long have you been in the fire service?
 
1 year

Why did you join the Fire service?  
I just moved away from home and wanted to find a new place of belonging. I wanted to have a family and support system.

Did you have certain expectations of what it might be like to belong to a Fire department prior to joining? 
I had no clue what to expect. Being from California, EMS and Fire service are run very differently than New York. While almost all things back home are paid service, here in New York everything is volunteer based. All I really wanted was to fit in and make lifelong friends while learning to be the best I could at being a Firefighter.

Were your expectations met? what was different than you expected? 
While I’ve only been here a year, I can say that my expectations of those in the department are being met. Something I didn’t see coming was how painful it would be to lose someone you only see on Mondays, and during calls. How quickly strangers become the people who shape and mold you into being the best version of yourself, without realizing there could be a better version. This year, we lost an amazing man (Julio Carreras), and in this difficult chapter I never doubted the strong love our family has for one another.  

What are your goals within Chelsea FD? 
I want to make the biggest difference I can in the company. That difference to me can be as small as making people excited to come around the fire house, or as big as getting people to join our family. Mostly, my goal is to grow as a member of the community and help where I can.

How has being a member of Chelsea FD affected your home/family life? 
At times it’s placed a small strain on my home life and at other times its put an even larger strain. I’m either running from a long day at work to the fire station, or from school to the fire station regardless of the weather (extreme heat, rain or snow). Nothing in this world is smooth sailing and easy going, but my friends and husband are supportive and understanding. I can definitely say that the ‘inconvenience’ is nothing compared to the rush of helping those in the community.

What is your Primary occupation?
I work for Mobile Life Support Services Inc. as an EMT-B. I’m also a Full-Time student at SUNY New Paltz.

Why do you volunteer? 
I want to be the calm someone may desperately need, while doing the best I can as an EMT and learning Firefighter. I like knowing that I make a difference, and I never have to question what impact I’m making; I can see it every time I’m at a scene.

What is one thing that you would like to tell a potential new member? 
You can do this, and you can succeed in this field if you put in the effort. I heard this saying once, “Where there is a firehouse, there’s a seat for the man who bears the Maltese Cross and hot plate ready to eat amongst brothers.” If you are thinking about joining, do it. We have your seat and hot plate ready on a Monday.


             Kenneth "Kenny" Schirmer

            Kenneth "Kenny" Schirmer

What is your name? 
Kenneth "Kenny" Schirmer

Current position in Chelsea FD? 
Assistant Chief

How long have you been in the fire service?
 
25 years at least

Why did you join the Fire service?  
to help and serve the community

Did you have certain expectations of what it might be like to belong to a Fire department prior to joining? 
Honestly, not really. I didn't know what to expect

What are your goals within Chelsea FD? 
To become chief

How has being a member of Chelsea FD affected your home/family life? 
My daughter and I joined together & through the FD family, It brought her and I closer

What is your Primary occupation?
Custodian

Why do you volunteer? 
To help protect and serve my community

What is one thing that you would like to tell a potential new member? 
Its a good opportunity to serve the community and meet great people. Never give up, don't quit and don't worry until the bell rings- that's what I always tell my daughter.

 


                       Jim Tompkins

                      Jim Tompkins

What is your name? 
Jim Tompkins

Current position in Chelsea FD? 
Past Chief, Safety Officer, Firefighter, EMT, Driver

How long have you been in the fire service? 
Joined July 1986, 31 years ago 

Why did you join the Fire service?  
My parents were both in involved, Dad held Chief and Commissioner, Mom was Captain. The firehouse was one of the few things to do in the area.

Did you have certain expectations of what it might be like to belong to a Fire department prior to joining? 
I was around the firehouse all my life so I knew what was involved.

Were your expectations met? what was different than you expected? 
Over time expectations were met, exceeded, changed and new ones made.

What are your goals within Chelsea FD? 
My goals are to serve as long as I can and pass on knowledge to others as they join, but to also keep learning. I have rose through the ranks of Lieutenant to Captain to Assistant Chief and was Acting-Chief for 6 months. I have seen many come and many go, some for good reasons and unfortunately some for bad. I have stuck around and have been one of the most active members year after year since I joined; even during years where I had surgeries and had to take several months off, I still finished on top.

The fire district started the LOSAP "Length of Service Awards program" in the early 90’s so all my time in the fire service has been accumulating an extra retirement check that I will someday enjoy. This was an added bonus, I am happy to look forward too. This is not why I joined or remained active, just a perk to look forward too.

How has being a member of Chelsea FD affected your home/family life? 
Being a member that has been extremely active has taken me away from the house a lot. It’s affected the way I am involved in relationships and definitely affected the life I lead today. I have gained knowledge and I have succeeded because of my dedication; and will to get the job done. I have adapted my life around the fire service and made the fire service my life.

What is your Primary occupation?
My regular job is working for Dutchess County in a clerical position. Part of my job is helping protect the citizens of Dutchess County by working on supporting data and systems that run the 911 system. I work with assigning new addresses for existing and new structures. I am also involved in reviewing all new road names in the county to make sure that there are no duplicates in the area. I work closely with phone companies and post offices to help assure they have accurate data.

Why do you volunteer? 
I volunteer because I like it, it’s challenging. You get to use your skills and experience to help make a difference in people’s lives. Knowing that you tried or made a positive outcome to someone’s bad day is worth more than any paycheck. 
It does take you away from your family, home chores, work or just your free time but although it is volunteer, there is a job that needs to be done that cannot be done alone, so you depend on your fellow volunteers to show up, it takes teamwork to be successful.

What is one thing that you would like to tell a potential new member? 
If you want to join the fire service, be prepared to learn not just how to be a good firefighter but to be part of a team. The work can be hard physically and emotionally, you have to want to learn and be part of the team. You will have fun and will make new friends. You will learn a lot about your community. You will learn to look at situations in different ways, because the regular way may not be possible. You will get to do things that others wish they could do. You will experience rough situations and learn how to deal with them, but know others will be there to help you get through it. Most importantly, you will learn teamwork and perhaps leadership.

So do you have what it takes? Please give it a try you may like it, you won’t know if you never try.


                                    Leonard Splain

                                   Leonard Splain

What is your name? 
Leonard Splain

Current position in Chelsea FD? 
Firefighter/Commisioner

How long have you been in the fire service? 
Since 1984

Why did you join the Fire service?  
To help out the Community

Did you have certain expectations of what it might be like to belong to a Fire department prior to joining? 
Assist injured and sick persons. respond to fight fires and all other types of emergencies.

Were your expectations met? what was different than you expected? 
Yes. There were more calls than anticipated.

What are your goals within Chelsea FD? 
The training received at Chelsea FD is excellent and can be applied to all aspects of life.

How has being a member of Chelsea FD affected your home/family life? 
It can be disruptive to family life at times when the call comes in for response to an emergency

What is your primary occupation?
Town of Poughkeepsie Fire Inspector with the Building Department.


What is one thing that you would like to tell a potential new member? 
This is an excellent experience for citizens from all walks of life. You will receive excellent training with excellent camaraderie among your brother and sister Firefighters. There is excellent incentives for your years of service, such as LOSAP. However, with the benefits comes the dangerous risks. This profession requires a lot of time overall.  


                       Karter Kearns

                      Karter Kearns

What is your name? 
Karter Kearns

Current position in Chelsea FD? 
Exterior Junior Firefighter

How long have you been in the fire service? 
5 months

Why did you join the Fire service?  
To give back to my community

Did you have certain expectations of what it might be like to belong to a Fire department prior to joining? 
I expected to assist the community with any hazard that would affect life, property, or the environment

Were your expectations met? what was different than you expected? 
My expectations were greatly exceeded, but there were also added benefits that I didn't know about which I'm very grateful for.

What are your goals within Chelsea FD? 
I would hope that one day I can become Chief and carry on the legacy that my Grandpa started.

How has being a member of Chelsea FD affected your home/family life? 
It had effected it greatly and being a full time student doesn't really help it. Trying to balance Homework, Company meetings, House committee and responding to calls causes me to juggle, but I'm so glad that I can work everything out in the end. I've missed some family dinners and birthdays, but its so worth the sacrifice.

What is your primary occupation?
Full time High School Student

Why do you volunteer? 
I volunteer because I am excited for a new adrenaline rush and I've always wanted to give back to the community.

What is one thing that you would like to tell a potential new member? 
It's a big commitment and some people may think you're crazy, but if I can handle it , you can too. It may be hard a lot of the times, but it's so worth it in the end


                     Leo Kearns

                    Leo Kearns

What is your name? 
Leo Kearns

Current position in Chelsea FD? 
President

How long have you been in the fire service?
44 Years

Why did you join the Fire service?
To help my community and neighbors

Did you have certain expectations of what it might be like to belong to a Fire department prior to joining?
Yes, I expected to help by participating in community service and  upholding the responsibilities that come with Firefighting

Were your expectations met? What was different than you expected? 
A resounding "Yes", I went from Firefighter to a Fire Officer to the position of Fire Chief of ChelseaFD.

What are your goals within Chelsea FD? 
Over the 44 years that I have been an active member of ChelseaFD, I am proud to say that the goals I had set were accomplished with an eventful and fulfilling length of service to the community

How has being a member of Chelsea FD affected your home/family life?  
Why do you volunteer?
I am fortunate to have a family and home that has adapted well.

What is your Primary occupation?
Electrician

Why do you volunteer?
It has been a part of my life for a very long time.

What is one thing that you would like to tell a potential new member?
We volunteers are a special breed of people. It takes heart, its takes hard training and strong devotion to put on the uniform and do everything possible to help the community.


                 Andrew Shulman

                 Andrew Shulman

What is your name? 
Andrew Shulman

Current position in Chelsea FD? 
Firefighter/Fire fighter of the Year/EMT

How long have you been in the fire service?
3 years

Why did you join the Fire service?
I have always wanted to help people. Since I was younger it's always been important to me to stand for those who can't stand for themselves. I have found the Fire service a great way to assist others in their time of need.

Did you have certain expectations of what it might be like to belong to a Fire department prior to joining?
I was nervous joining. It was a lot to learn, But Chelsea has treated me like family since day one.

Were your expectations met? What was different than you expected? 
Absolutely met my expectations and more. I've gained new skills, served my community and made new friends and family.

What are your goals within Chelsea FD? 
I've wanted to become a career Firefighter since the very first time I joined Chelsea. They have provided me all the knowledge, training and experience to do so.

How has being a member of Chelsea FD affected your home/family life?  
Why do you volunteer?
My girlfriend, myself and my puppy spend much of our free time hanging at the Firehouse and love every moment of it

What is your Primary occupation?
Firefighter Motha Lucka!!!!

Why do you volunteer?
I love the adrenaline. I love helping people in need. I have never felt so fulfilled with my choices and cannot see myself doing anything else.

What is one thing that you would like to tell a potential new member? Come in, Check out what we do. You might fall in love with the Fire service, the way I have. See you on a Monday night!!!