Stillwater Fire District

Stillwater Fire District - Arvin Hart Fire Company

Photos compliments of Bob Eastman owner of Ground Aerial photo services 2013


Fire Extinguishers to Know Them is To Understand Them

Lately I have watched a number of You Tube videos related to car fires.  Inevitably a fire extinguisher appears from somewhere and an attempt is made to put out a vehicle fire, usually with miserable results.  Why doesnít it ever work?  Letís examine whatís wrong.

There are a number of different types of extinguishing agents, water, dry chemical, and carbon dioxide are the ones that most people will put their hands one.  The first issue is most have never used an extinguisher before and therefore donít know how to make it work.  The basics are pull the pin and squeeze the handle and aim.  That sounds pretty simple; it is but you need to understand the limitations and thatís where we go wrong.  Water extinguishers work most efficiently on wood, paper or cloth materials, they will not work well on flammable or combustible materials.  Dry chemical extinguishers with an A, B & C rating will work on all materials but they have limitations which I will explain in a moment.  Then there are carbon dioxide extinguishers which work on flammable and combustible liquids, they work best inside a structure because they discharge as a gas and are easily blown around outside.

All of these extinguishers have the following limitations; the range is limited therefore you have to get close enough to apply the extinguishing agent directly to the base of the fire.  Most first time users donít want to get that close, and therefore shoot the extinguisher off too far away with little effect.  This is especially true of the gaseous carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguisher.  The second important limitation is the duration of use.  It doesnít take long to use up all of the agent and there you are left holding an empty extinguisher as the fire grows in front of you.  Remember the agent has to reach the base of the fire.  If you are going to try to use an extinguisher, which means there is something burning, its best to call 911 right away; call first or have someone call for you.

So the car is burning and you are running around to find an extinguisher to put it out, no one has called 911.  You rush up to the car and discharge the extinguisher on the flames until it runs out.  Very often the fire gets larger, why, you werenít able to place the extinguishing agent on the source of the fire which is usually under the hood.  If you try to open the hood, the latch doesnít work, because the minute cord used to release the hood has already burnt off.  Now you canít get to whatís burning.  Hope you called 911 because that fire is going to get bigger and spread to the dash and the interior of the car.  If it does just hope you have insurance because nothing you or the fire department can do will save it.  We also hope that there are no exposures; buildings or other vehicles.

Next comes the fear of the large explosions, not really, save that for the TV folks who add pyrotechnics to the mix.  It will just sit there and furiously burns due to the plastics, rubber and fuel in the vehicle.  Once a vehicle is burnt out, there is very little left.  Very often the tires will blow off as will other objects which are under stored pressure.  The best advice is to get away from it, donít suck in the smoke from the burning plastics and hope the fire department arrives quickly.  If you are in your car and discover it may be on fire, the first thing to do is pull the hood release, you may only have one chance.  Otherwise get away from the car and donít get injured, youíre not likely to save it.  When you report the fire on 911 tell the call taker if there are exposures, other vehicles or buildings which may be touched by the flames.

While itís a good practice to know how to use an extinguisher, itís very important to understand the limitations, distance and duration. That little 2 1/2lb unit you carry around with you, you might better throw it at the fire and run.  It might be fine for a fire on the top of the stove but thatís it Ė also know that a dry chemical extinguisher discharged inside makes a hell of mess to clean up.

When the fire department does show up, we will be wearing full PPE protection including self contained breathing apparatus and we will use several hundreds of gallons of water to extinguish the fire.  If the hood is not opened, we will have to pry it open with much difficulty to douse the flames.



Upcoming Events

Sept 11 Bid Opening old chiefís car
Sept 30 Live Burn Operations Training Center
Sept 27 Scott Hickey Ė Initial Fire Attack
Oct 11- 14 Fall Leadership Summit Ė AFDSNY Saratoga Hilton



Training Minutes


Introduction to Fire Suppression Systems

Fire Department Connections (FDC) and Pressure Reducing Valves (PRV)

Floor Control Valves and Sprinkler Heads


Regularly Scheduled Events:

Training -- Wednesday Nights beginning at 6:30 P.M. and Saturdays beginning at 8:00 A.M. with breakfast beginning at 7:30AM

Company Meetings -- 2nd Wednesday of each month at 7:30 P.M.

Board of Fire Commissioner's Meeting -- 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 P.M.



Firefighting isnít for everyone, volunteering is Ė there is more to do than what is shown here:

YouTube Volunteering Video


Download sign-up sheets and become a member!  (Click both links below and fill out)


Membership Application



DMV Disclosure


Attention District Residents: To make sure your county 911 information is correct, call Saratoga County Emergency Services at 884-4769 daily between  9 A.M. and 5 P.M.


Related Links:

Intellicast Weather Page

NY Fire Fighterís Cancer Support Network

OFPC - Firefighting, Rescue, EMS - Training for Firefighters, Firefighter Jobs, EMS, Rescue - Extrication, HazMat, Paramedic, Tactics & More

U.S. Fire Administration

NYS Assoc. of Fire chiefs

NYS Assoc. of Fire Districts

Association of Fire Districts of the Capital Area

NOAA's National Weather Service

FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency


NY Alert

American Airboats

Empire Chemical Sales 


Shakerley Truck Sales

Stillwater Fire District e-mail login



Additional Training Resource Links:


New Developments in Fire Service Training


Get on Board with Fire Service Updates Training




Commissioners and Officers

Board of Fire Commissioner's for 2017

Anthony Ponzillo, Chairman; Mike Handerhan, Facilities Committee; Tom Rinaldi Apparatus Committee; Nick Maciariello,  Treasurer; Bill Ritter, Apparatus Committee;  Bob Carson Facilities Committee; Barb Comitale, Secretary/Deputy Treasurer


Line Officers for 2017

Chief            -- Zach Zendran

Deputy        -- Bob Wood

Assistant     -- Dave Dunn

Captains      -- Rick Hopeck

                     -- R J Laurenzo

                     -- CJ Brownell

Lieut.           -- Jason Urdang

                      -- Jamie Herrick

                      -- Tim Collins


Fire Police Capt.

                      -- Paul Macey


Fire Police Lt.

                      -- Bill Valosin


Administrative Officers for 2017

President -- Lisa Laurenzo

V.P.            -- Nick Maciariello

Treasurer -- Jaclyn Thomas



                   -- Chris Wright

Correspondence Secretary

                   -- Tiffani Scrom

Sergeant at Arms

                   -- Bill Ritter

Trustees   -- Dave Duquette, Jason Urdang, Jeff Nyland, Ed Sabourin, and Tim Collins




Words to Reflect On

Train till you canít get it wrong!


Drew Smith






We welcome new member Gary Viall who comes to us from Rensselaer County, thanks for training him for us.  Gary will be responding to Station 4 in Riverside where we need additional help.

The Arvin Hart Fire Co is in need of volunteers and especially those who would like to serve as fire police.  There are requirements for membership as well as training requirements for fire police since they are sworn peace officers while on duty.  If you would like to volunteer please email us at or stop by on Wednesday evenings which is our training day.


No activity at this time.

Facility News

The big news is the water is now hooked up at Station 2, no more well water.  Along with the water now coming from the County water system, we have a new heating system installed.  A new propane high efficiency heating system has been installed.  The only remaining part of the system will be the installation of an in ground 1,000 gallon propane tank with will supply the heating system and run the emergency stand by generator.


Apparatus News


Our old ETA 11-1 has been placed in service by the Sir William Johnson Volunteer Fire Department in the Town of Johnstown as Tanker 1621.  Our truck replaced a unit that was not road worthy, we hope it serves them well.

Our new Chiefís car is in service and the old 2011 Ford Expedition is up for bid, specifications can be seen here: Bid opening will be at the Board meeting at 7pm on September 11th.




Training will resume for every Saturday after Labor Day.  The fall training schedule is listed on the Calendar.  As always the fall is a very busy time for training.

Members have the ability to access free on-line training on the web.  To access, go online at:, click on E-Learning.  The access code is on the Watch Desk Book in the radio room.  Many of these courses have been revised and some new subjects have been added. 

Training Resource Links:

Local Training


FireRescue 1


Firehouse Magazine


Fire Engineering


ICS Training Resources


Emergency Response Guidebook Training




Mission Statement:


  • Recruiting, cultivating, and retaining the highest quality diverse membership that remains committed to our mission and values.
  • Consistently delivering the best possible services to mitigate emergencies within our financial means and training in the safest manner possible.
  • Focusing on the safety of our members and the community before, during and after emergencies.
  • Partnering with local community, city, county, state, and federal officials and organizations in support of our vision.
  • Developing future leaders in the fire protection and emergency management community worldwide.
  • Encouraging innovative, forward-thinking strategies to reach our vision.