From the Firehouse: February 2021

From the Firehouse by Jack Halchak, Past Chief HFD

The Hurleyville Fire Department is always looking for help, to fight fire or support those that do. We even supply all of the gear and provide all of the training needed, for free. Stop by any Monday night and find out how you can help.

As we move into February, things do not look much better. Our firehouse is still closed to the general public and more public offices, bank lobbies, etc. are also closed.

Once again, I am sad to report that we lost two more members. Phil Featherbay is a Past President of the Fire Department and Past Commissioner of the Fire District passed away. In recent years Phil lived in Florida. The second is Mark Carlson. Mark and I grew up together attending Fallsburg High School and joining the fire department as two of six classmates from the Class of 69 to join. If it were not for the virus, we would have received our 50 year pins at the family picnic last year that was cancelled because of the virus. Mark was a 51 year life member and was a line officer for many years. He served the Fire Department with pride and dignity. My last fond memory of Mark will be my wife Mary Ann and I having breakfast with Mark and Lorayne at the end of our 50th Class of 1969 class reunion. Rest in peace brothers.

Even with the virus, life goes on. During the weekend snow storm of January 16 & 17, the Liberty fire department had two working structure fires about one hour apart. The first call came in at about 3 a.m. Sunday with the second call about an hour later. The snow was wet and heavy and coming down very hard. Roads were not yet plowed and it was treacherous traveling. I was dispatched to the first call and the Hurleyville Fire Department was dispatched as mutual aid to the second one. An outstanding job was done by all departments involved under adverse conditions.

Another victim of the virus is the 33rd Annual Hurleyville Fire Department Ice Fishing Contest scheduled for Saturday, February 13, 2021. Because the Hurleyville firehouse is still closed and the Town of Fallsburg office’s (Morningside is owned by the Town of Fallsburg) are still locked down, this year’s contest will be cancelled.

On a brighter side, some vaccines were offered to the 1b group that includes emergency services personal. I did receive my first shot and will get my second in 28 days. Watch the Sullivan County Public Health web-site on the Sullivan County web-site ( for more dates. The 1b group also includes those 65 and older. I am writing this in late January, so things can change. If you do not have access to the internet, PLESAE find a friend to keep you informed and help you sign up. By the time you read it in the paper there may not be any vaccines left.

We are in the middle of winter. Sometimes I do wonder with one day in the forties and then the next down in the teens. We have not had much snow to date but you never know what is next. Here is some information and safety on snow removal..


National Safety Council recommends the following tips to shovel safely:

  • Do not shovel after eating or while smoking
  • Take it slow and stretch out before you begin
  • Shovel only fresh, powdery snow; it’s lighter
  • Push the snow rather than lifting it
  • If you do lift it, use a small shovel or only partially fill the shovel
  • Lift with your legs, not your back
  • Do not work to the point of exhaustion
  • Know the signs of a heart attack, and stop immediately and call 911 if you’re experiencing any of them; every minute counts

Don’t pick up that shovel without a doctor’s permission if you have a history of heart disease. A clear driveway is not worth your life.

Snow Blower Safety

  • If the blower jams, turn it off
  • Keep your hands away from the moving parts
  • Be aware of the carbon monoxide risk of running a snow blower in an enclosed space
  • Add fuel outdoors, before starting, and never add fuel when it is running
  • Never leave it unattended when it is running


Be Safe out there.