|Election of Officers|
|By Fire Chief Derek Grisanti|
|May 20, 2020|
Following the COVID-19 Pandemic, the annual elections of the Yorktown Heights Engine. Co. No. 1 and the Yorktown Heights Fire District Board of Fire Commissioners Meetings that are usually held in the month of April were delayed until May. A special Video Conference was held for the Engine Company Meeting, followed by a public teleconference meeting for the Fire District were held in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order 202.1. After a vote by the Engine Company, and approval by the Fire District, the new slate of Chiefs and firematic officers officially took office effective May 12, 2020.
But first a little history and background: The Yorktown Heights Engine Co. No. 1 has been led by 48 individuals since the fire company was formed in 1909. From 1909 to 1933 these leaders were referred to as “Foreman” until it was changed to the official title of “Chief” in 1934. Since our creation over 100 years ago, our Chief officers, Captains and Lieutenants have lead the men and women of the Yorktown Heights Engine Co. No. 1 and the Yorktown Heights Fire District with integrity, respect and honor.
To move up through the ranks, or to earn any position as an officer in the YHFD is quite the undertaking in its own right. Our officers must demonstrate their ability and willingness to learn and lead as firefighters for years before being considered for an officer’s position. It’s a competitive process that is years in the making, which includes numerous classes, certifications in addition to possessing the various innate qualities that are required of a Yorktown Heights Fire Officer. It is a position of distinction as the YHFD has earned the reputation as one of Westchester County’s most well respected and most aggressive all volunteer fire companies. Obtaining the Title of Chief of Department, is approximately an 18 year process while holding rank (give or take 2 years per position).
Our outgoing Chief, Jason Swart, has served as the Chief of the Department from 2014-2015 and then again from 2017 to May of 2020. During Chief Swart’s tenure, he was the Incident Commander at numerous incidents both large scale and small, ranging from major conflagrations, mass casualty incidents, multiple natural disasters such as “Superstorm Sandy,” to minor incidents throughout the Fire District over the years. He was instrumental, along with a number of other members in our agency, with securing multiple grants for vital and specialized equipment for the Yorktown Heights Fire District. In addition, he was a leading force in the evolution of our Water Rescue Unit/ Dive Team from its humble beginnings’ decades ago, to the major resource that it is today. With the leadership of Chief Swart and the dedication of our members, the YHFD Water Rescue Unit/Dive Team has the distinction of being known as Westchester County’s only certified Water Rescue Unit and Dive Team which has also received state level recognition. These are only a few of the accomplishments of Chief Swart’s time in office.
We’d like to take the time to say a huge “Thank You!” to outgoing Chief Jason Swart, as well as outgoing Lieutenant Tim Collins for their time in office, service to the men and women of the Yorktown Heights Engine. Co. No 1. and their commitment to the community and citizens of Yorktown. Their efforts have helped lead us to the department we are today.
So without further ado, The 2020 Officers Line up for the Yorktown Heights Engine Co. No. 1/ Yorktown Heights Fire District, along with their administrative roles and responsibilities they are responsible for during our day to day operation is as follows:
Chief of Department (Car 2531) - Derek Grisanti
1st Assistant Chief (Car 2532) – Tim Mentrasti
2nd Assistant Chief (Car 2533) – Paul Liberatore
Senior Captain (Car 2534) – Alex Vergo
Captain (Car 2535) – Matt Lauria
Senior Lieutenant (Car 2536) – Rich Weber
Lieutenant (Car 2537) – Chris Murray
Lieutenant (Car 2538) – Chris Pelosi
Lieutenant (Car 2539) – Vincent Alfano
Appointed Chiefs Aide- Jackie Sullivan
Appointed Department Engineer- Ryan Walsh
The Officer staff looks forward to continuing our primary role of emergency response, as well as providing continued community support that our community have come to expect.