Simpsons make firefighting a family affair

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 7:14 AM EST
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ADAMS, New York (WWNY) - In the fire service, first responders often refer to each other as brothers and sisters.

At the Adams Fire Department, it truly is a family matter.

“Back in the early 1950s, my dad joined the fire department,” former Fire Chief Bob Simpson said. “He was the first member of our family to join the department when we moved to Adams.”

And he certainly wasn’t the last. The Simpson family is composed of at least nine active firefighters: Bob Simpson, his son, Assistant Chief, Rob Simpson, and his two sons, Robby and Ben – to name a few.

“You grow up seeing the fire trucks, trying some of the turnout gear, the helmets and coats and boots that were always too big,” Rob Simpson said, “hoping one day to be able to fill those boots.

Robby and Ben say they basically grew up in the fire hall watching their dad and grandpa.

Now they’re in on the action, as part of the Explorers program.

Kids ages 10-14 can start training. Ages 14-16 can help from the sidelines.

“They’re invaluable,” Bob Simpson said. “They know where everything is. If a firefighter needs a tool they just gotta find an Explorer and say give me this tool and they’ll find it.”

They can also help with lower-risk calls, like rescuing kitties.

“I think it’s nice to start being the person that as a little kid, you looked up to being,” Ben Simpson said.

When an Explorer is 16-18, like Robby, they can start to leave school for calls.

“I was going to be going to BOCES in like 20 minutes and one of my friends looked at my phone and said you got a call,” he said. “I told my friend to tell my BOCES teacher I won’t be there today.”

“This program has been a real savior for this department,” Bob Simpson said. “Out of 61 members, we have 27 that came from the Explorer program.”

It’s assurance that the department will thrive for generations to come, whether your last name is Simpson or not.

“Yes, it’s our family here,” Rob Simpson said, “but we’re part of a bigger family in the fire service.”

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