Community Mourns New York Fire Police Officer

MENANDS, N.Y.-- Mourners filed in and out of the village fire station Tuesday to remember Capt. Edgar Scott, killed Tuesday as he drove two colleagues to the scene of a motorcycle crash on Interstate 787.

"It's very tough, always tough responding to one of your own," said Menands Fire Chief Frank Primo. "It's devastating. It's a large loss to us and to the community. He will never be forgotten."

Scott, 75, was driving a van southbound when it collided with a propane tanker at about 5:07 p.m. Scott was thrown from the van and died at the scene, said Trooper Maureen Tuffey, a State Police spokeswoman.

Scott, fire police Lt. Edward Himes and fire police officer Diane Brunelle had been dispatched to the scene of the motorcycle accident on I-787 northbound, south of Exit 6. Neither Brunelle nor Himes, who remains hospitalized, suffered life-threatening injuries, according to police.

The propane tanker was driven by Gary Adams, 50, of Londonderry, Vt., who was treated at Albany Memorial Hospital for minor injuries and released Tuesday. "At this time, it doesn't appear the driver of the tanker caused the accident," Tuffey said. She said a collision reconstruction team is investigating the crash, which caused a four-hour delay during Tuesday's rush hour.

Outside the firehouse, a wooden crest read, "In memory of our departed member Edgar Scott." Draped just above the station's garage was purple-and-black-striped bunting. The station's flag flew at half-staff.

Primo said Scott had a good sense of humor and always supported the community. Others called him an icon.

"The loss to the community is significant. Much more than I convey in words," said Menands Mayor Thomas Coates. "Scotty donated thousands of hours over the years. Suffice to say, if there is any solace in this tragedy, it is that Scotty died doing what he loved."

Neighboring fire stations in Colonie will provide fire protection for village residents as the Menands volunteers take "time to grieve and collect themselves a little," said Peter Lattanzio, chief of Colonie's Department of Fire Service.

As a fire police officer, Scott's duties included responding to the scene of an incident to protect the first responders and general public, securing the scene and working with law enforcement and traffic control.

"Whether it was 2 p.m. or 2 a.m., he was a dedicated individual," Lattanzio said. "He always had a smile on his face. Always had a quick remark. He was the type of individual that loved to dish it out, and also the type of individual who could take it. He was never at a loss of words, leave it at that."

Maplewood Fire Department and Latham Fire Department firetrucks were outside the Menands station Wednesday morning.

Scott, an Albany native and former insurance salesman, retired as president of the E.B. Cantine Insurance Co. in 1996. He had been a volunteer fire officer since 1971. He was also the co-founder of the Riverside Volunteer Ambulance, which no longer exists. Scott was also a member of the first volunteer paramedic class in the village of Menands in mid-1970s.

Himes, 56, was transferred from Albany Memorial Hospital to St. Peter's Hospital on Tuesday.

Brunelle, 57, was taken to Albany Memorial Hospital for minor injuries and discharged.

Funeral arrangements for Scott are complete, and the service will be a private one for family and friends.

Scott is survived by his wife of 53 years, Beverly; two sons, Craig H. Scott of Watervliet and Douglas D. (Patricia) Scott of Poestenkill; two grandchildren, Kyle and Evan Scott; and his sister-in-law, Florence Scott of Greenwich. He was predeceased by his brother, John E. Scott.

Contributions in Scott's memory may be made to Menands Fire Company One Inc., 250 Broadway, Menands, NY 12204; or the Derek Murphy Fund, c/o John Murphy, 64 Menands Road, Menands, NY 12204.

Chu can be reached at 454-5080 or by e-mail at bchu@timesunion.com.

Republished with permission of the Times Union.

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