Brewster Fire Department
Brewster Fire Department
Upcoming Events

There are currently no events
View All Events

2023 Incidents
Jan 232
Feb 226
Mar 215
Apr 202
May 248
Jun 250
Jul 276
Aug 258
Sept 245
Oct 226
Nov 257
Dec 273
Total 2908

2024 Incidents
Jan 247
Feb 220
Mar 218
Apr 250
Total 935

Web Counters
Website Visitors
January 28, 2015
Visitors Today
May 29, 2024
Fireman Ed Passes Away
Email Print RSS Facebook Twitter RSS

By Life Member James Delawder
August 1, 2022

The Brewster Fire Department (BFD) regrets to announce that life member Ed Hojnacki has passed away. A funeral Mass will be held at St. Lawrence Church in Brewster, NY on August 20,2022 at 10 AM. He was a member of the department for fifty-three years. He joined the Brewster Fire Department on August 5,1969. and died on August 1,2022. He was a former Captain of the Ambulance (1974-1978), Chief of the Department (1987-1988), and President of the Department (1992-1994). His wife Judy, was President of the Brewster Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary.

In 1976 I joined the Brewster Volunteer Fire Department (BFD). One of my role models was Fireman Ed.

He taught thousands of students during as Fireman Ed about Fire Prevention. With "Fireman Ed", Fire Prevention week lasted about a month. He did this for many years.

Tina Clair Healy-Leather commented on Facebook: "You will be missed by all who knew and love you. I will always remember you taking my girls out on your boat at Lake George. "Fireman Ed" was so amazing with the kids. You will never be forgotten."

During one of his Fire Prevention details at a local school, he supervised a Fire Drill. When the teachers and students were evacuated and lined up outside, Ed asked the teachers if all the students were safely out. One teacher became frantic because one student was missing and she could not find the student. Unbeknown to everybody else, Ed had hidden a student. Teachers and students all learned a lesson that day!
As a young child, Tom Leather remembers Fireman Ed saying: "DO NOT PLAY WITH MATCHES OR YOU WILL DIE." Tom Leather later grew up to be a Chief of the BFD. Eventually, "Fireman Ed" groomed a replacement "Fireman Kenny" (Kenny Clair).

Ed was Captain of the BFD Ambulance 11-7-1 and one of Brewster's first Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT). I decided to emulate him and be an EMT also. A few years later I was an EMT. I later became an Ambulance Captain just like Ed. He was a role model to me in many ways. He was unique.

Ed joined in the New York City Police Department in 1964. He was stationed many years in "Fort Apache" in the Bronx and he was tough. He retired from the NYC Police Department in 1984 with the rank of sergeant. During the '60's and the 70's it seemed as if The Bronx was burning. His experience there was a great help on the ambulance.

One ambulance call which i vividly remember involved Ed. He delivered a baby girl at the New York State Police barracks. The baby had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. The mother was in the front seat of the car and unable to exit the car. (For more details, see article entitled "Childbirth and Solace" under the News Archives).
Another call involved a naked young lady hiding under a staircase who was reportedly raped. That day he taught me how to handle a call like that. He found a sheet to cover her and coached her to the ambulance. He quietly reassured her on the way to the emergency room.

After he retired from the New York City Police Department, her became a police officer in the Ridgefield Connecticut Police Department. One day on patrol, he stopped by and rang the door bell of a senior citizen, a prim and proper Ms. M. Ed told her that there were a number of complaints received by 911 about obscene phone calls emanating from her location! She was shocked and appalled at the charges. She vehemently denied the accusations. When he told her the complaint had come from Tommy Hughes she said: "That little Dickens!" He told her that Tommy also asked Ed to check on her safety when he was on patrol. She thanked Ed but said that "Tommy Hughes was still BAD!" According to the Ridgefield Police Department: Ed " received numerous commendation letters, letters of recognition from the public and was a recipient of the PBA Officer of the Year Award.

As a firefighter, Ed always could be relied upon. He had your back. One incident immediately comes to mind. I remember one day fighting a fire on a peaked roof. One of the firefighters (Tommy Kelm?) started sliding down the steeply pitched roof. Ed was on the roof also. He quickly reached out, grabbed him and stopped him from falling off the roof.

During Convention Week up at Lake George he would take a young Madison and Morgan Clair out on his boat to go fishing. At Lake George he once had a race with Bill Boothe, a former Chief of Lake Carmel Fire Department and later County Car 1. The race was to the Island out in Lake George and back. Bill went around the Island. Ed went to the island and back. Bill claimed Ed had cheated because he did not go around the island. Ed said all that was said was to go to the island and back! Ed said that is what he did and he was the legitimate winner.

A few years ago, I remember being on his pontoon boat on Lake Murray in South Carolina with Ed and his good friend Tommy Hughes. Lake Murray was flooded prematurely at the beginning of WW II. Tree stumps were not removed. It was very important to follow certain paths in order not to have the boat hit a stump and sink. Of course you could always take a chance and swim to shore if the boat started sinking. Alligators on the side of lake made that dangerous. That day it was so cold that the alligators were probably hibernating. Tommy Hughes thought he saw ice cubes in the water! The alligators had more sense than the than the humans in the pontoon boat! The alligators might have been wearing sweaters, winter coats and hiding under blankets. What a great place to bring a wife on vacation!

About five years ago, a wild boar was terrorizing a neighbor in South Carolina where Ed and Judy had relocated. After Ed became involved the boar was no longer a problem.

A dear friend and brother firefighter is gone.

Interviews with:
Chief Kenny Clair (also Commissioner & County Coordinator Emergency Services)
Chief Tommy Hughes
Chief Tom Leather

Add a Comment Add a Comment 0 Comment(s)

Website Designed and Hosted By: Content Proudly Maintained By: Contact Info:
Firehouse Solutions
Brewster Fire Department
501 North Main St.
Brewster NY 10509
Emergency Dial 911
Non-Emergency: 845-279-3555
Copyright © 2024 Firehouse Solutions (A Service of Technology Reflections, Inc.)