Port Jervis Fire Department Grand Marshal David Moore, Sr. carries family service forward
PORT JERVIS, NY -- David Douglas Moore, Sr. made a promise to his father, Past Chief Douglas Moore, that he would do all he could to help keep Port Jervis Fire Department going strong even after the chief was gone. He and generations of other Moore Family firefighters are doing just that.
“I miss him a lot,” Moore said. “I was lucky to have two great parents who helped me get where I am today.”
Nearly 30-years after his father’s death, Moore, Sr. is still very active in his department. He is being honored this year as a PJFD Grand Marshal who, along with three others, will lead the July 9 century-and-a-half-plus parade tradition.
Moore was born in Port Jervis on December 26, 1951. He was raised in his hometown and, inspired by the service of his father, became a firefighter at age 18. While he became a firefighter like his father, who was a member of Tri-States Hose Co. No. 6, David chose to join Neversink Engine Co. No. 1 where his best friend -- Jim Rohner (a fellow grand marshal this year) – was already a member.
He also considers Past Chief Roscoe Case a personal hero for life, having taken time to share lessons with him as a very young child.
“He was my hero then and will always be my hero,” said Moore, Sr.
In his career, Moore worked for the City of Port Jervis as a Motor Equipment Operator (MOE) for the city’s Department of Public Works (DPW). As a firefighter over the past 53-years, he has has served in as his fire company’s President, Vice President, Chief Driver, Captain, and 1st Lieutenant in his company and as an interior firefighter.
In recent years, his firefighting duties have changed to exterior, and he remains one of the most active responders in his department.
“For me, personally, I no longer go into burning buildings. I respond as an exterior firefighter and a driver. My typical response duties are now to drive and pump the engine,” Moore said.
Moore encourages anyone who wants to help their community, and has the interest, to do so as a firefighter. While New York State’s required training and schooling admittedly takes a lot of time, Moore says it can be fit into busy lives. He encourages trying to start training at a young age and, if possible, before getting busy with lifelong careers and raising families.
For the multi-generational Moore Family firefighters, such training and response history are simply part of their individual and family lives. Moore, Sr.’s service followed his father’s, which was then joined by both of his and his late wife Sharon’s sons, David, Jr. and Matthew. David Moore Jr. is now Captain of Neversink Eng. Co., and David, Jr.’s and wife Heather’s two children, Brianna and David Daniel Moore, are both firefighters.
Having been a firefighter for so many years, many responses come to Moore’s mind in reflecting back. Two are the Neversink Lumber fire and the deadly 1971 Pike Street building collapse which brought serious civilian injuries and loss of life.
“I was amazed at all the hard work my fellow firefighters were doing (during the collapse), and all the equipment they used to help people,” Moore said. “In my opinion, PJFD is one of the best departments in New York State.”
Moore said he learned early-on to trust his fellow brother and sister firefighters and to follow the orders of his chiefs and officers to the best of his ability. He attributes this to helping keep himself and others safe over the years.
Moore was among responders to two recent life-threatening, very challenging fires. One was Clark Motor Sales building on Kingston Avenue and the other a historic multi-family house located at 72 East Main Street, both of which structures have since been demolished and removed.
“When Clark Auto was on fire, I was overcome by smoke and fire, and live wires fell on the engine. It was a tough one,” Moore said.
The intensity of the blaze eventually forced a call for evacuation of interior firefighters as it became a life-threatening situation that had to be brought under control from outside.
The house fire on East Main Street posed a similar danger.
During this intense fire, Moore was stationed with his company’s truck in front of the house, alongside his firefighter granddaughter Brianna. As flames continued to spread, interior firefighters initially worked inside the burning building to try to bring it under control. As firefighters were making their way through the building, a dog must have been unknowingly freed by their actions inside. It has not been determined how it was freed, but the extremely frightened dog came running through the big front doors and laid down on a fully smoke-engulfed front porch.
“I wasn’t sure with all the smoke, but I thought I saw what looked like a very scared dog that had come out and curled up in a fetal position, like a baby. When he came out, he saw smoke and firefighters with masks and hoses. He was so afraid that I think he just didn’t know what to do, so he stopped,” Moore recalled.
Moore has always had dogs of his own and immediately offered a friendly voice and direction.
“Come here boy, come on,” Moore beckoned, and the frightened dog responded.
Moore did not realize until later, but not only was the terrified, wet, and very, very hot, but its paws had been severely burnt in the fire.
After being petted and calmed by Moore, a neighbor offered to take the dog to her home where it stayed and was cared for until its owner arrived.
Fortunately, following treatment by a local veterinarian, the dog was able to fully heal.
Moore plans to remain a firefighter for as long as his health allows him to be of help. He finds serving the public as a volunteer fireman to be very rewarding, and is honored to have been chosen by his company as a grand marshal for this year’s parade.
He is also grateful for the full continued support of his family, which included his two fellow family firefighter sons, two firefighter grandchildren, daughter Amber Weed, son-in-law Mitchell Weed, daughters-in-law Heather and Jennifer Moore, and five additional grandchildren (some of whom he predicts might become firefighters when they are of eligible ages). They are Mackenzie, Eva, and Douglas Moore and twins Hunter and Bailee Weed. He also has many cousins who are members of PJFD.
“Without any of these members of my family, I might not still be a member today. I never thought I would get this far in my career to experience this,” Moore said. “I would like everyone to have a great time at this year’s parade, and to be safe.”