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Depauville Fire Department mourns loss of youngest member

Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 6:26 PM EST
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DEPAUVILLE, New York (WWNY) - Members of the Depauville Fire Department are mourning the loss of its youngest member, 19-year-old Dakota Yandow, who died in an early morning car crash on Saturday.

We spoke with one of the assistant chiefs, who said the Yandow family is an integral part of the fire department. Both of Dakota’s parents are volunteers there and the loss is hitting everyone hard.

“When I got the phone call, I couldn’t believe it,” said 2nd Assistant Chief Kevin Warren, Depauville Volunteer Fire Department.

Warren woke up to the news on Saturday - the news that 19-year-old Dakota Yandow died in a car crash around 2:30 Saturday morning in the town of Clayton.

State police say Yandow was driving and had a friend in the passenger seat, when Yandow failed to stop at a stop sign on the corner of Grant Road and then hit a tree on Deferno Road. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The passenger escaped the vehicle and was treated at River Hospital.

“Great kid. Wanted to learn. Took classes. He had a heart of gold. Just a sweet, sweet kid,” said Warren.

Warren says he’s known Dakota Yandow since he was 4-years-old. Yandow joined the fire department a couple of years ago.

The fire hall has paid several tributes to Yandow over the past few days. They draped one of the trucks with Yandow’s gear during Clayton’s Christmas parade Saturday night. That equipment is now on display inside the fire hall.

On the outside, black and purple bunting hangs in his honor, and a sign on the corner by the fire hall reads, “Rest in peace firefighter Dakota Yandow. Gone too soon.”

The fire department is running a bottle and can drive to help the Yandows cover the funeral costs.

“This was unexpected. Just a tragic accident. They lost their son, we lost one of our firefighters and they need help. They need help to offset the cost is what it is,” said Warren.

Warren says there are several bottle and can retrieval centers throughout the north country that are collecting for the cause. Each bottle or can will raise 6 cents for the Yandow family.

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