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Clinton fire chief stepping down but not out

Thomas M. Baker
Staff writer
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Posted 3/12/20

CLINTON — For 34 years Jim Scoones has been a Village of Clinton volunteer fireman. For the past two years he’s been the Clinton fire chief. He informed the village board at its February meeting …

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Clinton fire chief stepping down but not out

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CLINTON — For 34 years Jim Scoones has been a Village of Clinton volunteer fireman. For the past two years he’s been the Clinton fire chief. He informed the village board at its February meeting his last day as chief will be April 8.

Scoones was initially elected in April of 2018 and re-elected the following year. First Assistant Chief Brad Dunda and second Assistant Chief Bob Burns are scheduled to move up, but Scoones said the next chief will be selected, as he was, by in-house election in April coinsiding with his last day in the position.

In the Clinton Fire Department a maximum rotation for the chief’s position is five years. Scoones has served two, and now, at the age of 55, for personal and health reasons he’s decided not to seek re-
election.

“I’ve had two back surgeries over the last few years,” Scoones said. “I just feel it’s time to give some of the other, younger guys a chance to run things.”

Scoones first joined the department in 1986. In 2003 he became an officer and worked his way up through the ranks until becoming chief.

As it is a volunteer department, Scoones works full time with the Clinton Central School District in the transportation department and he said they were very receptive to him stepping down because of the job he does for the them.

In fact, when the head of CCS transportation, Frank Tizzano is not available, it’s Scoones who picks up the responsibility of running things with the buses.

As other Clinton chiefs have done in the past Scoones will remain with the CFD, as a basic firefighter and he’ll have new responsibilities.

“There’s still plenty to do,” he said. “Instead of being the airpack fireman through the door at a structure fire I’ll be driving the truck, or safety officer on scene, maybe the water supervisor keeping track of the different department tankers.”

Scoones said he couldn’t walk away from the department entirely not when he’s dedicated more than half his life to it. Not to mention he has two sons who are members of the CFD, David, 23 and Michael, 20 both airpack and state course certified , meaning they’re the guys who enter structure with oxygen masks, bunker gear and hoses waist and chest high.

“They are good to go,” Scoones said. “I’m going to stay on and watch them, instead of me being at the door, I’ll be stepping back making sure they are all set and someday I’ll be the guy driving the engine and getting them water.”

Scoones said there’s a lot more to being chief than people probably realize. It’s not just fighting fires and going on medical calls.

“You’re 24/7 and you just never know when that whistle is going to blow,” Scoones said.

Scoones explained it’s been a busy two years. The department has had had five major structure fires. Three out of the five were total losses.

Village of Clinton Mayor Steven J. Bellona said at a recent board meeting it’s been a tough year on the fire department and thanked Chief Scoones for their efforts. he thanked them not only for the fires and medical calls, but for all the fire department’s help with Clinton and Kirkland’s flooding issues. Bellona’s opinion of Chief Scoones and the entire department is exemplary.

“Chief Scoones has done a wonderful job,” Bellona said. “He’s dedicated to both the village and his commitment to service. It takes a special person to volunteer all that time out of his day..and nights too. He’s an amazing guy.”

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