Russell Ashe / Matthew Cetin

Russell Ashe, a deputy chief with Barre City, VT, Fire Department, began his career with the Williamstown Volunteer Fire Department in 1991. Several months later, he joined the Williamstown Volunteer Ambulance Service. Over the next few years, he obtained his ECA, EMT Basic, and then his EMT Intermediate. Ashe's biggest educational accomplishment was obtaining his Associates Degree in Fire Science from the New Hampshire Community Technical College in Laconia, NH, which he did while balancing a full-time job and raising a family.

Deputy Chief Ashe was appointed to the City of Barre Fire Department in September 2000 by then Chief Doug Brent. In 2005, he was promoted to lieutenant, and in May of 2007, was promoted again to Deputy Chief of Fire Operations. While with the City of Barre Fire Department, he has helped to secure over $800,000.00 for the department through several state and federal grants. In 2004, he started a very successful Cadet Program which continues today.

Russell comes from a family very involved in emergency services. His dad, Bill, is an Assistant Chief with the Williamstown Volunteer Fire Department and a long-time member of the Williamstown Volunteer Ambulance Service. His mom, Katie, is recently retired from the Williamstown Volunteer Ambulance Service. His younger brother, Trevor, is not only a Call Firefighter for the City of Barre, but also a Lieutenant with the Saint Mikes Fire Department in Colchester, Vermont.

DC Ashe is married to a beautiful wife, Tina, and has three awesome children, Jordan, Nicole and Ryan. In his "off" time, Ashe works part time for a print shop in Barre City, and is a guitar player for a local rock band. During the summer months, he and his family spend a lot of time camping.

Ashe's interest in smoke alarm technology began on December 17, 2005, when his department responded to a second floor apartment fire with six people trapped. Deputy Chief Ashe personally rescued an adult male and two young girls. In the end, four young children and their mom perished in this fire. This family was protected by three working ionization smoke alarms. The fire began as a smoldering fire in a living room couch, and is believed to have smoldered for quite some time before breaking into flames.

Since this fire, his department has produced several videos and posted them on his department's website, One of these videos shows what happens in a real house when both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms are exposed to a smoldering fire. The results are nothing less than amazing. Since then, he and his fellow firefighter, Matt Cetin, have been working very hard trying to educate folks on the differences between the two types of detectors. Their main audience has been the fire service. Deputy Chief Ashe believes the key to getting this information out to the public is to first get it to the fire service. He and Firefighter Cetin have begun traveling around the state educating the fire service and are in hopes of traveling across the Country to do the same.

Matthew Cetin is a career firefighter/EMT-I with the Barre City Fire Department. Serving five years as a career firefighter, he served the first two with the Burlington Fire Department. Prior to his becoming a career firefighter, Matthew served seven years active duty in the United States Coast Guard with his last duty station being the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Marblehead, OH. While serving with the Coast Guard, Matthew had the opportunity to volunteer with the Marblehead Fire Department and the Ballville Fire Department.

His qualifications include Instructor I, Firefighter II, Hazmat Operation, ICS, Fire Tactics, Rope Operations, Trench Operations, Confined Space Operations, and Building Collapse Operations.

Matthew has worked very hard creating a website and sending out letters that educate the public on the differences between photoelectric and ionization smoke detectors. For the past several years he has been developing fire prevention programs, both for firefighters and the public. He has made several presentations statewide and continues to be a driving force in educating both the public and the fire service about smoke detector safety.

The Fire That Changed Everything - And What is Being Done