A Shout Out To Schroon Lake Firefighters Pete Cafaro and Ryan Wendell

Schroon Lake Firefighters Pete Cafaro and Ryan Wendell get a very nice mention in an editorial in the Press Republican. They recently came to the aid of Editor Lois Clermont and his wife:

From The Press-Republican: The Press-Republican has expressed gratitude numerous times for the bravery and toughness of local volunteer firefighters.

They do, after all, go out at all hours in all conditions to tackle an incredibly dangerous task: putting out a blazing fire.

But maybe we haven’t said enough about the smaller acts of helpfulness that firefighters perform. Editor Lois Clermont had a firsthand reminder of that recently.

She and her husband were driving up the Northway from Albany when, in the Town of Chester, a deer suddenly bounded from the right shoulder of the road.

Within seconds, the animal had crashed into the front passenger side of the car and was thrown to the side of the road.

Luckily, as it was a traumatic enough experience, the animal died instantly and no one in the car was injured. But a large plastic engine guard was left hanging out from beneath the car, impairing driving.

State Police were notified and said they would send someone to write up an accident report.

In the meantime, Clermont’s husband tried to detach the dangling car part, but it was firmly attached in one section and there was no pulling it off.

That’s when a couple of area firefighters proved their value beyond their regular duties.

Pete Cafaro and Ryan Wendell of the Schroon Lake Fire Department had just delivered someone to the hospital and were driving the ambulance south, back to their Fire Station.

They looked over at the northbound lane of Interstate 87 and saw a man struggling with something on a car and, a little ways behind that, a deer lying by the side of the road. They figured the car had likely hit the deer and thought they would drive to the next turnaround and make sure no one was injured.

Cafaro and Wendell pulled up with lights flashing — which was helpful in itself because cars were buzzing by in the right-hand lane, regardless of seeing a disabled car inches away. Once the ambulance arrived, drivers seemed to have the good sense to move into the left lane — or maybe it was only because New York state law requires that vehicles shift lanes for a parked emergency vehicle with lights on.

The Schroon Lake crew could have headed back to their station once they saw no humans had been harmed, but they saw the problem with the car damage and jumped right in to help.

They tried a hacksaw, to no avail, and then, after a good 20 minutes of effort, had better luck with industrial-style shears. Before heading out, they also taped up a dangling hose from the leaking wiper-fluid container.

It’s the kind of extra effort that volunteer firefighters all over the North Country make on a regular basis.

Many of us have seen them at work during crises — fighting fires, tending to accident victims, piling sandbags during flooding.

But their many smaller helpful actions often go unnoticed.