Chief Cahalan honors Firefighter Dennis Tinker for recently saving a woman's life.
DALTON, Mass. — The vehicles, badges, and names may change but there remains a tradition in the Fire Department -- volunteers risk their lives to protect the town.
On Sunday, the department held a ceremony recognizing both its history and its future.
Firefighters dedicated their new Engine 1 to the only Dalton firefighter to die while on duty and presented a Medal of Valor to a current firefighter for his role in saving a woman's life last month.
Arthur "Pop" Krum died in 1949 while responding to a fire at 232 High St. It was before there was a mandatory retirement age and he was in his 70s when he had a heart attack on the scene. Krum had been a volunteer with the department for some three decades prior.
"Pop was our brother. He was our hero. He was the only line of duty death that happened in the history of the Dalton Fire Department," Assistant Chief Chris Cachat said.
This year, the department got a new Engine 1, replacing a 30-year-old Pierce. The new Toyne will take its place as the front line response for pretty much everything. It is a rescue pumper equipped to respond to a wide variety of calls from chemical spills to car accidents to fires to tactical rescues.
"There isn't anything this truck cannot do," Cachat said.
The new truck comes at a cost of $633,000 and had taken some two years to be built with a local committee designing all aspects of it.
"This truck was built by a committee, every cabinet, every piece of iron on this truck," Cachat said. "There is quite a bit to it. It is not just buy a truck and have it show up. There are a lot of man hours to build a truck."
Cachat said the district voted to keep the current engine as a reserve -- and will be simply adding a "5" to it so it becomes Engine 51, a nod to the television show "Emergency." The new truck is now in service and the department opted to dedicate it to Krum and added a placard on the inside recognizing him.
"This just needed to be done," Cachat said.
Additionally, the department had recently received a badge from what was Dalton Hose Company 1. The department created a decal of the badge and added that to the rear of the truck.
Arthur 'Pop' Krum died in 1949 while responding to a fire.
The ceremony also honored a current member. Fire Chief Gerald Cahalan made a presentation to Dennis Tinker for recently saving a woman's life.
Cahalan said a woman's vehicle went into the river on July 13, trapping her. Tinker was driving home with his wife and child when the call came in. He spun the car around and went to the Depot and Main Street location to see what was happening. He saw bystanders looking and taking photos of the vehicle first and then he noticed that the woman was still in it.
"Without any hesitation, with his wife and young son watching, he took action. Without regard for his personal safety or knowledge of the water, he jumped in, swam to the vehicle where the woman was. He was able to take the woman from the car and bring her to the shore. As he reached the shoreline, the car sunk further and would have overcome the woman if she had stayed in the car," Cahalan said.
Cahalan presented him with a Medal of Valor, which recognizes firefighters who go above the call of duty to rescue someone even at their own risk.
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