Former Alburtis Chief Paul Siegfried has Firefighting in His Blood

Though retired, he still helps at the fire company where ever he is needed.

Name:  Paul Siegfried

Age:  79

Hometown:  “I live in Alburtis — all my life.  I was born here.”

Family:  Paul and his wife, Barbara, have been married for 53 years.         

Occupation:  For the past 24 years, he has worked at Lutron Electronics “doing whatever needs to be done.”   He retired in 1997 as a full-time employee, but continues to work part-time.

Fire Department:  Paul retired in 2007 after 55 years from the Alburtis Fire Department.

Training:  “When I joined the department, there was no training.  I was handed a pair of boots, a coat and helmet and told to just follow directions.  We even rode on the back of the trucks at that time.  Later, I went to Williamsport Fire College every year for training.  It’s different today than years ago.  A firefighter must be trained to handle chemicals, plastics and other materials that weren’t around when I joined.”

Describe your job with the fire company.  “I did anything and everything during my 55 years with the department.  From 1977 to 1985, I was the chief.  I also was a firefighter, captain, lieutenant and assistant chief over the years.  I did the whole nine yards.

“Now, I just hang around here with the guys and help where I can. I set up for things, make the coffee, clean up — whatever needs to be done.  I like being here, but can’t fight the fires anymore.”

Why did you choose to become a firefighter/fire police?  “My dad was a firefighter for 27 years at Alburtis. I just followed him.”

Tell us a story you'll never forget about your firefighting experience.  “We had two big fires that I remember. The first happened at the Asacuney Shoe Company in Alburtis. I don’t remember when it happened anymore, but it was a big fire. At least half of the factory burned down. 

“The other happened in 1966 during a very big snowstorm. The Post Office, General Store and Fred Kunkel’s home burned. Because of the storm, we had trouble getting to the fire house and getting the equipment to the fire.  Everything was fully engulfed by the time we got there.”

What would you tell people interested in joining your fire company?  “If people want to join the fire department, they must realize they have to take a lot of courses.  It takes a lot of your time, but it’s worth it to help the community when there is a need.”

Do you know a volunteer firefighter who Patch should profile? Contact mariella.savidge@patch.com


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