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Local News

July 9, 2013

Former Oneonta fire chief remembered as role model


Russo was recognized with a citation for his work as a dispatcher during the February 1974 propane fire and explosion caused by the derailment of a Delaware and Hudson Railway train in Emmons. Fifty-six people were hurt in the fire. 
Before joining the fire department, Russo worked as a brakeman for the D&H. Russo was a lifelong Oneonta resident. His brother, Robert, was a captain, and son, Frank, was a firefighter who retired and is executive director at the Oneonta Family YMCA.
A Democrat, Russo ran unopposed to represent the Sixth Ward on the Common Council after retiring in 1991. He served from 1992 until August 1994, when he resigned over frustrations about staffing levels in the fire department.
Barnes said he will be in Oneonta this week to attend services for Russo.
Pidgeon said the Oneonta Fire Department will provide an honor guard at the private service at Grummons Funeral Home, Pidgeon said.
Russo’s ashes will be transported in the fire chief’s car and accompanied by a procession of fire trucks to St. Mary’s Church at 39 Walnut St., where an honor guard will stand outside before the funeral service at 11 a.m. Thursday, Pidgeon said. 
After the service, the fire truck procession will pass by the Public Safety Building’s fire department, giving crews on duty a chance to pay respects, Pidgeon said, and a bell on one of the trucks will ring three times as “a last alarm.” The procession will then proceed to the Oneonta Plains Cemetery for an interment ceremony.



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