Youngstown Fire Department adds new firefighters

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Mayor Charles Sammarone, left, promoted Youngstown City firefighters Mark Kellerman, center, and Tim Hrina, to the rank of lieutenant Wednesday.

Youngstown Fire Department adds new firefighters

By John W. Goodwin Jr.


The Youngstown Fire Department has welcomed seven new firefighters to its ranks, and service is in the blood and family for most of them.

Chief John O’Neill said the seven were hired to replace firefighters who have retired or been promoted in the last year. He said the new hires puts the department at an optimal 138 firefighters.

“We have found 138 to be a real good number for us. It cuts down on overtime and works well in the summer months with injury and vacations. We can keep the trucks running with that number,” he said.

Mayor Charles Sammarone said it is nice to be able to meet the expectations of residents by increasing or maintaining the ranks in safety forces. Being able to bring in the new firefighters, he said, is a good thing for the city.

“It’s always nice that we can hire, especially in the safety forces, because as I talk to neighborhood groups this is one of the primary concerns. It’s nice to strengthen up those forces for the protection of the city,” he said.

O’Neill said several of the new firefighters already have started, and the rest will be falling into the rotation almost immediately.

“They look eager, bright-eyed and ready to go, so we will see if can test them out,” he said.

Several of those joining the department come from families associated with the life of a firefighter and know already what to expect.

Ryan Cook, 20, of Youngstown, comes from a long line of firefighters in the Youngstown Fire Department. His grandfather, Mike Drummond, is a retired firefighter, while his uncles, Jimmy Drummond and Gene Cook, and his father, David Cook, are still with the department.

“I grew up around this my whole life. My grandpa, uncles and dad all worked or work for Youngstown,” said Ryan Cook. “It’s been a dream my whole life to work for the city of Youngs-town Fire Department.”

Aaron Smith, 24, of Cortland, said he, too, has big family shoes to fill. His father has been a firefighter in Warren for the last 23 years and he is eager to follow in his footsteps.

“I am proud to step into the shoes that my father has laid out for the last 23 years,” he said.

Jeff Davis, 26, of Austintown, does not come from a long line of firefighters, but he does come from the rigors of the military, having served in Afghanistan. He said becoming a firefighter seemed like the next logical step after coming home from military service.

“This is just something I just feel like I would enjoy. It follows the same line as the military with the ranking and everything. The bonus is I just like serving the public,” he said.

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