Funeral Details Released For Former Northern Westchester Fire Chief: 'Selfless Person'

Funeral arrangments have been announced for a former Northern Westchester fire chief who spent nearly his entire life serving the public in both his career and as a volunteer. 

Golden's Bridge Fire Department Deputy Chief Raymond Baker helps a child use a water hose at Increase Miller Elementary School. 

Golden's Bridge Fire Department Deputy Chief Raymond Baker helps a child use a water hose at Increase Miller Elementary School. 

Photo Credit: Golden's Bridge Fire Department

A wake for Raymond Baker, the former chief of the Somers Volunteer Fire Department who died unexpectedly in his sleep on Saturday, March 9 at the age of 64, will be held on Friday, March 22 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Beecher Flooks Funeral Home in Pleasantville at 418 Bedford Rd. 

A Mass of Christian Burial will also be held on Saturday, March 23 at 11:30 a.m. at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Somers at 94 Plumb Brook Rd. 

A lifelong firefighter, Baker spent over four and a half decades as both a career and volunteer member of several departments in Westchester. After becoming interested by watching his father respond to fires while growing up, Baker joined the Hartsdale Fire Department as a volunteer before eventually becoming a career firefighter in 1980. 

During his 33-year career in Hartsdale, Baker responded to thousands of fire alarms and became a certified bailout training officer. Additionally, because he was trained and licensed as an electrician, he served as the department's lead electrician and could often be found maintaining, repairing, and replacing alarm boxes throughout the hamlet. 

One notable emergency Baker responded to during his career was the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when he joined hundreds of other firefighters at the World Trade Center site. 

During his career in Hartsdale, Baker would also find the time to volunteer with the Somers Volunteer Fire Department. Between 2007 and 2017, Baker held several leadership and officer ranks, including Lieutenant, Captain, Second and First Assistant Chief, and Fire Chief. 

Baker did not stop at dedicating time to two departments, as he also joined the Golden's Bridge Fire Department in 2016 as a mutual aid member, joining his son, Raymond Baker, Jr. 

According to the Golden's Bridge Fire Department, one of Baker's proudest moments during his long career was serving alongside his son for eight years and rising through the department's ranks together, eventually becoming a Deputy Chief after becoming a full member in 2017. 

"Ray Baker was the quintessential public servant. All he wanted to do was help people on the worst day of their life," said Golden's Bridge Fire Chief Albert Melillo, who added, "He could’ve spent his free time doing anything else, but because of his self-sacrifice and commitment to safeguarding others, he would come off shift from his career firefighting job and still find time to volunteer with the Somers Fire Department.” 

"Ray was always a selfless person, always doing for others. We were fortunate to have his friendship, example, and service," Melillo continued. 

In addition to protecting the public, Baker also passed down his knowledge to the next generation. Something he looked forward to each year was Fire Prevention Day at Increase Miller Elementary School in Golden's Bridge, where he would help children use a water hose to knock down pretend flames. He would always use the time to encourage them to volunteer when they became old enough, according to the Golden's Bridge Fire Department.

Baker is survived by his wife, Ann, and their children, Raymond Jr. and Ryan. 

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