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Briarcliff Re-Elects King as Fire Chief

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Michael King is once again set to lead the Briarcliff Manor Volunteer Fire Department.

King was elected to his second and final year as chief in the department’s annual election Thursday night. Bob O’Hanlon was elected to his second year as first assistant chief and Dennis Reilly was elected to his second year as second assistant chief, according to representatives of the department. The three were sworn in Thursday night by Village Manager Philip Zegarelli. The department did not release election figures.

King said it was his honor to be elected chief for a second year.

“It’s wonderful and I think being chief has been really rewarding,” King said, turning the attention the all-volunteer department. “I am surrounded by some of the greatest people you can meet. These are the type of people that literally leave the safety of their homes to respond to a fire or EMS call and put themselves at risk to save life and property.”

King, who joined the department first in 1980 at the age of 18 and then again after moving back to Briarcliff Manor in 1998, considers being a part of Briarcliff’s department “one of the greatest possible accomplishments.” And it all started after he injured himself as a kid in Briarcliff Manor.

“My dad, who was a firefighter, called for an ambulance and we both saw first-hand how great the volunteer fire department was in responding,” King said. “So he joined right after that and then I joined in ’80 the first chance I got.”

From the youngest junior member who’s 16-years-old, to a few seniors pushing 80, King said the department has roughly 200 all-volunteer members. Most members have full-time jobs working a variety of trades and professions from lawyers to electricians to plumbers and stockbrokers.

“When you get these guys on the fire scene you’ve got guys with a great understanding of so many things from a variety of fields,” King said. “Guys know building construction and wiring and plumbing and anything you’d need to know from these scenarios that come up.”

King added that the department responds to about 600-700 ambulance calls and 600 fire calls each year.

“It’s a small town and you think it’s a quiet one at night but I can attest there’s a lot of stuff going on,” King said. “In the last 10 years, we’ve had a major tanker fire on Route 9A, King’s College lighting on fire and some tough tragedies in accidents and other incidents over the years. It’s pretty active and it would be pretty tough without the great, dedicated firefighters we have in the department.”

King added another salute to O’Hanlon and Reilly who both come from long lines of firefighters.

“They’re both really smart, strong guys and I couldn’t ask for better,” he said, later adding more praise for the entire department.

The Briarcliff Manor Volunteer Fire Department continues to look for members year-round, King said, and those interested in joining are asked to call the department’s non-emergency line at 914-941-4440 or through email.

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