Hicksville Community Mourns Loss of Ira Smitheimer


Former captain of the Hicksville Fire Department

Captain Ira Smitheimer
(Photo courtesy of the Hicksville Fire Department)

On Monday, Dec. 1, the officers and members of Emergency Company 5 of the Hicksville Fire Department regret to announce the passing of ex-Captain Ira Smitheimer.

Smitheimer joined on March 21, 1972. His talents were immediately put into place as he was elected to serve as Company Secretary in 1974 and again in 1977. Smitheimer also served as Department Recording Secretary. He was elected as 2nd Lieutenant 1976 and 1977, 1st Lieutenant in 1978 and subsequently would be elected as the 39th Captain in 1979 and 1980.

During Smitheimer’s first year as Captain, the 1962 Mack C95 Fire Truck became mechanically unusable and he was instrumental in securing the use of the 1970 Maxim 1,000 gpm pumper in its place until 1983. During Captain Smithiemer’s term in office, he led his members in taking part in a mock commuter train derailment that was staged by the Long Island Railroad. The members converged on the scene on the overhead tracks just off East Barclay Street. The drill was unknown to the firefighters and was planned for two months. The drill was staged to show areas in which the fire service needed improvement, such as manpower, equipment and methods of operation.

As Captain, the Rescue Squad participated in the Lions Club new program, “Vial of Life,” which targeted senior citizens. As part of their program, the Lions Club and firefighters distributed free Vial of Life kits. The Vial of Life program was for the elderly, people who live alone and people with medical problems. Information contained in the vial is a recorded medical history and their doctor’s contact information.

During his term, Smitheimer commanded his members in several significant fires that included;

• A fire at the law offices of Kantor, Blodnic, Vogel, Haber and Wolf.
• A blaze at the Pax Surface Chemical Co. located at 24 Max Ave., off Woodbury Road
• There were three separate fires at the Empire Diner located at the intersection of West John Street and Jerusalem Avenue.
• An early morning blaze at the General Instrument Corp, 600 West John St.
• On the day before Memorial Day, seven businesses were destroyed in a nine-hour fire at Color Mart paint store in the King Kullen shopping center at Newbridge and Old Country Roads.

In February 1983, after 11 years, Smitheimer resigned and moved out of the district. He remained an Honorary member of Company 5 and an Exempts member. He would continue to take part in monthly Company meetings and social affairs of the Company up to the time of his passing.

Smitheimer’s passion for volunteer service also extended to his past participation in the American Red Cross First Aid & Disaster Services Units as well as his long-standing membership in the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 13-12. In the USCG Auxiliary, he served in several positions of responsibility and recently received an award honoring him for 40-plus years of service.

Smitheimer leaves behind a wife, Ellen and daughter, Emily.

—Submitted by the Hicksville Fire Department

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