Columbia County Sheriff's Office
David W. Harrison, Jr., SHERIFF                     James R. Sweet, UNDERSHERIFF
Copyright ©2006 Columbia County Sheriff's Office, Hudson, NY 12534
                                  Volunteer Fire Companies Recognized
                                                                             April 6, 2007
Columbia County, NY       At the March meeting of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, Sheriff David
Harrison, Jr. and Sheriff’s Office Law Enforcement Division Captain David Bartlett presented members of the
Ghent and Hillsdale Volunteer Fire Companies, as well as the County Cause and Origin Team, with Certificates
of Appreciation.  

The Ghent Fire Company was recognized by the Sheriff for their response to and involvement in a January 22,
2006, suspicious fire at an unoccupied residence located on Arch Bridge Road.  

The Hillsdale Fire Company for their involvement in a February 11, 2006, suspicious fire on Breezy Hill Road.  

The County Cause and Origin Team were requested to both the Ghent and Hillsdale fires.  After their
investigation with the NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control and Sheriff’s Office, it was determined that both
fires were Arson.  Further investigation by the Sheriff’s Office determined that the Ghent fire was started to
cover-up the Burglary of the residence.  Additionally, one of the individuals involved in the Ghent Burglary and
Arson, had been previously convicted and served time in state prison for an Arson fire in Washington County
where a woman was killed, and the Hillsdale fire was started to cover-up the Murder of George Mancini.  

When presenting the certificates, Sheriff Harrison said that the members of the Ghent and Hillsdale Fire
Companies, as well as the members of the Cause and Origin Team are all volunteers.  He said that even though
they are volunteers, when there are tragic cases like these which include major crimes, the response and
involvement of these firefighters must be correct and professional in order that there be arrests and successful
prosecutions of the perpetrators.  It does not matter if they are paid or not, their response and involvement must
be done in a professional manner.   

This was the case in these incidents.  From the time that the tones went in for the fires and the volunteers
began their response, their response and involvement in putting out the fires ultimately played a major role in
the arrest and successful prosecution of some very dangerous men in our county.   

Sheriff Harrison commended the volunteers of all of the fire companies who dedicate their time and energy to
the training and response to fires in our county.  Adding that these two fires in 2006 ended up being major
crimes.  He also pointed out to the board that in his opinion, the training program that County Fire Coordinator
and his Deputy Coordinators provide to the firefighters in this county is “one of the best in the state.”

Accepting the Sheriff’s Office Certificates of Appreciation for the Ghent Fire Company was Chief Dan Lamar and
Past Chief Wally Engel.  For the Hillsdale Fire Company was Chief Fred Miller with Asst Chief Mark Edelman and
Asst Chief Richard Briggs.

Accepting for the County Cause and Origin Team was Deputy Fire Coordinator Bill Hunt who oversees the team
along with several members of the team.

After the certificate was presented, all of the Supervisors in attendance gave a standing ovation to the

Note: (Contributed Photo) - L-R Fred Miller, Mark Edelman, George Keeler, Sheriff’s Office Captain David
Bartlett, Richard Briggs, Sheriff Harrison, County Fire Coordinator James VanDusen, Wally Engel, Mike Brisco,
Buddy Schemerhorn, Jeff Seymour, Janet Shumsky, Dan Lamarr, Bill Hunt, Henry Schwartz and Pete Harvey.