Lifelong Wellsville/Scio resident Kevin Fleischman was elected to the top firefighter spot in recent elections. He will serve as Chief until April of 2023. We asked Kevin to give us some details about his family, his experience as a lifelong first responder, and his plans for the WVFD.
About Kevin: I’m 37, I was born and raised in the Wellsville/Scio area. I currently live in Wellsville with my wife Maranda, and I have my daughter Jadyn (13), and my son Lucas(10) from my first marriage. I’m a full time 911 dispatcher for the Steuben County 911 center for 14 years.
Growing up in a “firefighter family”: The fire service has always been a big part of my life, I remember always getting the privilege as a kid to get to go to the fire station with my dad, getting to help do things around the station, and of course getting to ride the truck for different occasions.
The Road to Becoming Chief: I started my journey in the fire service at the age of 14 as a junior firefighter in the Scio Fire Department where my dad was a member at the time. I was with them for about six years when dad and I moved back to Wellsville in 2004. When moving back to Wellsville, I joined the Dyke Street Engine Company #2 with my dad, which since as long as I could remember was a childhood dream come true. My grandfather Richard, dad John, my Uncle Ron Thomas, were all members of the Company, so it was something I’ve always wanted to do. In 2005 I was elected second assistant captain where I served until I moved to Belmont in 2006. I belonged to the Belmont Fire Department from June 2006, until March 2015 where I moved back to Wellsville, and came back to the Dyke Street Engine Company. While I was in Belmont I served as the training officer, and as a lieutenant. Shortly after coming back to Wellsville I was right back in the Captain ranks, then elected in 2017 to start my journey as assistant chief and working my up to Chief.
Thoughts on being elected Chief: This is a privilege, and an honor. Some goals I’m working towards as Chief is trying to help secure grants, or funding to help upgrade the current Airpacks, and looking to an exhaust removal system for the three fire stations. Other goals would be recruiting new members, and getting our fire prevention program back in full swing.
What about the long and unpleasant fire contract negotiations? The last I knew, negotiating is still being done between the town and village on the contract. Hopefully in years to come, our committee, and the department can work with both boards to come up with what’s best for the department, and the taxpayers.
How often does the Chief lean on his dad John Fleischmen? Usually any time I come up with an idea of change, or doing something different, I always run it by him. So I would say often!
What is your reaction to one of the lifelong WVFD volunteers, Pat “Captain” McKinley recently being given a very high honor in Wellsville. Pats a hell of a man! The guy would go out of his way to help anyone who needed it. I’ve sat and thought about the thousands of people that man single handily saved by giving people rides home, and saving them from getting in accidents, or arrested. Or how many lives he’s helped save being apart of the fire department, and ambulance Corp. Pat would give you the shirt if his back if you needed it! Pats a wonderful guy, and a huge asset to this community.
Thanks Chief for the introduction and only one thing left that we all want to know: Who was your favorite teacher?? I went to Wellsville School from Kindergarten-9th, and then finished and graduated from Scio Central in 2003. My favorite teacher from Wellsville would definitely be my kindergarten teacher Mrs Newark at ICS. She always made learning fun! And she will always be one I’ll never forget!