New York Fire Police Officer Collapses, Dies

Whether it was a fire department activitiy, a church function or other community event in Howells, N.Y., David Smith was there.

On Tuesday night, the long-time volunteer firefighter died an apparent heart attack as he prepared to perform Fire Police duties at the scene of a HAZMAT, said Howells Fire Chief Ken Eck.

The chief said he was setting up a command post when he heard that Smith, 73, wasn't feeling well. "I went to him as well as our EMTs and a paramedic. He said he just didn't feel right, so I told him he'd better go to the hospital."

Smith went into cadiac arrest in the ambulance, and resuscitation efforts were fruitless. The former chief and president was pronounced dead shortly after arrival at Horton Hospital in Middletown.

He is the first person to die in the line of duty in the department that has 45 members.

"He was always in our top 10 responders every year. If there was somthing go on, he was there."

Smith also served as the Fire Commissioner, an elected position in the community.

The Fire Police captain was at a meeting with fellow officers preparing envelopes for a fund-raising campaign when the HAZMAT call was dispatched, the chief said.

In addition to the fire department, he was active in his church, the March of Dimes events and other activities. "He loved his community."

Visitation will be held from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Monday at the Ralston-Lippincott Hasbrock-Ingrassia Funeral Home in Middletown, N.Y. A firefighter memorial service will be held at 7:30 p.m.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the funeral home. Burial will be held at Bloomingburg Cemetery, Bloomingburg, N.Y.

Departments planning to attend are asked to call past chief Louis Ingrassia Jr. at the Howells Fire Station at 845-386-2000.