Local fireman is not done yet

ELIZABETHTOWN - John "Jack" Hanby wants to set the record straight: He is not ready to call it quits as an Essex County deputy fire coordinator and investigator.

Hanby was recognized at a Feb. 2. Essex County Board of Supervisors meeting for his 25 years of service in the position.

During the ceremony, Hanby Hanby received a plaque and gave a brief speech about his past experiences investigating fires.

An article published in the Feb. 16 edition of the Plattsburgh-based Press-Republican newspaper, however, erroneously reported that Hanby was retiring as Essex County fire investigator.

The article appeared under a headline that read "Roll over and go back to sleep."

"I thought it was a very nice article," said Hanby. "However, it was unfounded."

Hanby said he received several phone calls from fellow fire investigators after the article was published asking if he was truly retiring. He assured them all it was not the case.

"I'm still active," he said. "I take a physical every year and I pass it."

Hanby also remains active in several emergency service capacities. He is a longtime member of the Essex County Hazardous Materials team, and first assistant chief for Elizabethtown Fire Department.

He's been investigating fires since 1984 when a grant became available to train fire investigators in Essex County. Since then, it is estimated he has visited the scenes of more than 1,100 fires. Even at age 65, he shows little sign of slowing down.

"As long as my health is well, I'll keep doing it," he said. "It's easier nowadays because I have five other investigators."

When asked why he has continued to be involved with investigating fires for so many years, Hanby said he's enjoyed the experience it's given him.

"I like fire investigation; that's my hobby," he said. "It's the gratitude of serving the people of Essex County."

Hanby was also honored by Essex County Fire and Emergency Services, a consortium of all the fire chiefs in Essex County.

"It was very, very thoughtful," said Hanby. "Sometimes people take things for granted, but it was nice receiving recognition from them that I was, apparently, doing the work correctly."

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