GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Deputy Fire Chief Steve Hall has retired after 38 years of service to the town of Great Barrington. For the past 20 years, he was deputy chief of the Housatonic Fire Station.
Deputy Hall's beginnings in the fire service were a bit non-traditional.
"I joined the fire brigade at Mead Paper when I was employed there," he said. "That is what inspired me to join Housatonic in 1983."
Over the years, Hall has served under five chiefs, going back to Fire Chief Mort Cavanaugh.
"Steve was my deputy when I started in Housatonic on the Great Barrington Fire Department," Fire Chief Charles Burger said. "One of his strengths was always welcoming the new guy, and being eager to share his training and experience, which he certainly did with me."
The department evolved from a typical town fire department to a large organization that tackles diverse hazards.
Hall was a leader in that progress. He became one of the first emergency medical technicians for the Fire Department and was one of the first to earn Firefighter I/II certification. He was also among the first to pursue substantial training in rope rescue.
"On the blackboard at the old Castle Street Fire was something that stayed with me throughout my career — 'Training is the backbone of the department,'" he said.
Hall responded to most of the major incidents in town over the past few decades starting with the fires at Farshaw's and, in 1987, at Taconic Lumber.
"One of the most memorable was the Barbieri Lumber fire [in 2001]," Hall said. "Not only was it the largest fire in modern town history but it was in my back yard and threatened my own house! I also
remember being there for the Memorial Day tornado in 1995, something none of us are likely to forget."
Great Barrington Town Manager Mark Pruhenski said Hall has always been a great resource to he and many others over the years.
"He was approachable, welcomed new members, and was always there to lend a hand or provide advice," he said. "On behalf of the Town of Great Barrington and the Village of Housatonic, I thank him for his years of dedicated service to our community and wish him all the best in retirement."
In speaking on his retirement, Hall said, "I joined the Fire Department because I wanted to be challenged and help the community. I am grateful to have been able to do both for the past 38 years."
"It's tough to replace a firefighter with Steve's training and experience," Burger said. "But his decades of contributions will continue to influence the department in the future. I want to thank him for his dedication to the Great Barrington Fire Department and wish him the best in his new endeavors."
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