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Hammondsport’s Fries Named New York’s “Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year”


A local fire chief has been named the Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year by the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs.

William Fries, Senior, has been a member of the Hammondsport Fire Department since 1979. Volunteerism is a family affair, as many members of the Fries family actively serve with the Hammondsport Department. Fries served as assistant chief from 1981-1985 and was elected chief in 1986. He has also served as a Steuben County deputy fire coordinator since 2012, has been a member of the Steuben County Fire Advisory Board for 20 years, and is a longtime member and current treasurer of the Steuben County Fire Chiefs Association. Recently, Fries received the annual Recognition Award for the Hammondsport Fire Department presented by the Steuben County Chamber of Commerce.

Under Fries’ leadership, the department has committed to training its members to the highest extent possible to ensure firefighter and community safety. The Hammondsport Fire Department is one of a few volunteer fire departments in New York State to achieve an ISO rating of 3.

“He (Chief William Fries, Senior) is the perfect chief officer to receive this honor and I’m proud to be a member of his department.”

Fries has served as the Hammondsport Central School transportation superintendent for over 20 years and is a very active member of district committees that focus on student safety, fire/life safety, and fire prevention education. He is also an active participant in career day activities at the school, which has resulted in a significant number of students joining the department as junior firefighters. A very active member of the community, Fries is known as an ambassador for fire safety and volunteerism in the region.

Fire service colleagues who nominated Fries noted his great passion for the fire service and steadfast commitment to the training and professional development of his members, as well as firefighters throughout the region. He is known for dedicating time to seek out new ideas for training and department drills, and opens the doors to other area firefighters. Fries was also commended for his extraordinary commitment to interagency cooperation, working closely with neighboring departments, as well as county and state agencies. The Hammondsport Fire Department and Fries are strong supporters of NYSAFC training, hosting hands-on and classroom-based programs to provide additional training opportunities for local fire service personnel.

“In my many years in the fire service as a county fire coordinator, instructor, and facilitator of training programs, I have worked with a lot of fire chiefs. Chief William Fries of the Hammondsport Fire Department has impressed me with his leadership, knowledge of fire department operations, community involvement, and his commitment to his firefighters and their families. He is the perfect chief officer to receive this honor and I’m proud to be a member of his department,” said Yates County Fire Coordinator (Ret.) Glen Miller.

The award was presented during the General Session of the association’s 117th Annual Conference & FIRE 2023 Expo in Syracuse.

NYSAFC’s Fire Chief of the Year Award honorees are association members who have been selected for demonstrating exemplary leadership, innovation, professional development, integrity, service to the public, and contributions to the fire service.

The New York State Association of Fire Chiefs is a not-for-profit organization based in New York’s Capital District with more than 10,000 members. NYSAFC has served career and volunteer fire chiefs, officers, and emergency services personnel throughout New York state since 1904

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