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Somers Fire Chief Steps Down

SOMERS, N.Y. -  Fire Chief George Wahlers, who accepted kudos from the Town Board on behalf of the Somers Volunteer Fire Department at the latest meeting, has unexpectedly resigned. 

“I had a difference of opinion with one of the commissioners,” Wahlers explained by telephone. “I’m a very pushy person. The frustration boils over. I’m stubborn. They were shocked. I wasn’t willing to do what they wanted me to do and they didn’t give me any options. And they were the bosses.”

There are five fire commissioners in the town of Somers. It is a publicly elected position. 

Somers has four fire houses and around 130 volunteer members. As Fire Chief, Wahlers was in charge of all of them. He was voted into the post of Fire Chief in May by his fellow firemen. Before that, he was Assistant Chief for three or four years.

As Fire Chief, he said, “you’re the manager a lot of the time, telling people what to do. I missed doing hands-on when I became chief. We do things besides fires. We go to car accidents and medical emergencies. I get a happy feeling helping people who can’t help themselves. Unfortunately, you don’t remember the good things so much. It’s the bad things that stick in your mind.”

Wahlers graduated from Somers HIgh School in 1982 and joined the fire department right afterward. He has five children, ranging in age from 9 to 16. One of his past assignments in the department was teaching children about fire prevention. “As a fireman you get a lot of respect,” he said. “Too often, people don’t realize it’s an emergency until it’s too late.”

Wahlers made a point of saying he is happy working with the fire department and plans to continue. He just feels he cannot act as fire chief unless he can do things his way.

No one on the Fire Commission was available for comment.

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