It was Ron Pinchorski’s first fire – a mutual aid call to Williamstown. Two people were killed.
‘‘At the time, I thought, ‘What did I get myself into?’’’ he recalls. ‘‘Am I going to be able to be OK with this?’’’
The Sentinel-area native went on to serve the Wiconisco Fire Co. as its chief for 40 years, relinquishing the leadership last December.
During Pinchorski’s tenure, Wiconisco expanded its arsenal, broadened its training and built a new station – all, he stressed, in an effort to keep the company moving forward.
He now looks to younger men and women to keep that momentum going.
“I didn’t want to become someone who would resist change,’’ he said. ‘‘I just thought it was time for the younger people to take over,’’ he said.
Matthew Basti now heads what Pinchorski calls ‘‘a young group who is fantastic.’’
‘We are a Family’
A heavy equipment operator in the U.S. Navy Seabees, Pinchorski was asked to join the department soon after his discharge from the service and his relocation to Wiconisco from his native Williamstown.
Many of the department’s veterans – including but not limited to Chief Donald Ressler, Chuck Maletich, Ronald
‘‘Butch’’ Reed, Bill Shiley and the Machamer siblings – mentored the 20-something and made him feel part of something bigger than just one person.
‘‘It reminded me of what I had just gotten out of,’’ Pinchorski said. ‘‘In the military, there was an enemy. In the fire company, the enemy was fire. In both places, you depended on guys to watch your back, so for me, things blos- SEE PINCHORSKI • PAGE A4
‘‘As chief, you have to look at your people and see what they are good at, then use it. Everybody has different talents.’’ Ron Pinchorski