Rest In Peace Chief Tom Palmer
By Life Member James Delawder
February 22, 2024


It is with deep regret that the Brewster fire Department announces the tragic and untimely death of past Chief and past Commissioner Thomas H. Palmer.

In my almost fifty years as a member of the Brewster Fire Department, he had the most difficult calls of any Chief. As an Assistant Chief, he was at the scene of a horrific accident on Route 22 between Railroad Avenue heading towards Croton Falls. Five young people died in a traffic accident. Another was the explosion at The Bum Steer, also known as the Fox Ridge Motel. It is now replaced by The Comfort Inn.(Photos 2&3) Two people died at that explosion. The most difficult of all was the Line Of Duty death of Brewster firefighter Michael Neuner. (photo #4). He carried the burden of Michael's death the rest of his life even though he was over one hundred miles away when the house fire broke out.

A couple of more pleasant memories include him driving a tanker over a flimsy bridge to the scene of a fire at the the Metro North Railroad yard.. The Chief at the time was Thomas Hughes. Afterwards Chief Hughes would quip that he was afraid of a quick unexpected water drop from the bridge while the tanker (11-4-1) was crossing the bridge.

Another call which we spoke about was a fire on an island in the middle of a reservoir.(Photos# 5&7) It was
Tom Palmer's idea to use a portable pump (Photo #6) to move the row boat (photo #8 )instead of paddling. For that decision he was promoted to ADMIRAL for the Day. The portable pump was used to extinguish the brush fire on the island. On the way back, he decided to direct the stream at me on shore where I was guarding the equipment. I calmly pulled some cans of beer out of the water, popped the lids and in full view of the rowboat crew, proceeded to empty the cans. A loud, mournful cry emanated from the row boat . After they stopped directing the stream of water at me, I stopped emptying the cans. Even in the past year or so, we continued to laugh at that call.

The official communique stated: "It is with deep regret that the Brewster Fire Department announces the tragic and untimely death of past Chief and Commissioner Thomas H. Palmer. Badge #540. Tom joined the Brewster Fire Department in March 1982 He quickly rose to the Rank of Lieutenant in 1984 and later as Captain of Company #1, known as the Water Source to its members. He was elected as 2nd Assistant Chief in 1992. He was elected as Chief in1996. He Continued to put others before himself, in 2008 he was elected to Fire commissioner for the Brewster-Southeast Joint Fire District. He served until 2013.

Even in death , he served others by being an organ donator.

He is sadly missed by his wife Laurie, and son. Collin.

Goodbye dear friend.

See articles on this website for more details concerning the above mentioned incidents which were written 2022: