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David Knapp recognized for 18 years as county fire investigator

Photos by Tom Rivers: David Knapp, center, is presented with gifts from the three fire investigators in appreciation for Knapp’s 18 years as county fire investigator. From left include Cole Hardenbrook, Justin Niederhofer and Steve Cooley. Knapp retired on Dec. 31 with Hardenbrook succeeding him in the position.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 January 2020 at 12:14 pm

KENDALL – David Knapp for the past 18 years has served as a fire investigator in Orleans County, with most of his tenure as the county’s senior investigator.

He retired from the part-time position on Dec. 31. The former Holley fire chief was recognized on Monday during a combined meeting of the Orleans County Fire Chiefs Association and the Orleans County Fire Advisory Board.

“It’s been an honor to work with all of these volunteers and to serve the people of the county,” Knapp said.

He said he enjoyed great relationships with the other fire investigators. For most of his tenure he worked with Walter Batt and David Clary as fire investigators. More recently, Steve Cooley and Justin Niederhofer joined the county as fire investigators. Cole Hardenbrook of Kendall replaced Knapp on Jan. 1.

“We melded really well together,” Knapp said. “It’s good to have more than one set of eyes.”

Dale Banker, the Orleans County emergency management coordinator, presents a certificate of appreciation to David Knapp from the Orleans County Legislature for Knapp’s 18 years as a fire investigator. The award was presented during a combined meeting on Monday at Kendall of the Orleans County Fire Chiefs Association and the Orleans County Fire Advisory Board.

Knapp has worked the past 25 years in the construction business. He currently drives a ready-mix concrete truck and would like to retire in about a year.

He joined the Holley Fire Department in 1977. He was just out of college when he was at a restaurant and saw a group of his friends leave to respond to a call. That piqued his interest and he then joined the fire department.

Knapp quickly rose through the ranks. Besides serving as fire chief in Holley, he was a key leader in having the new fire training tower built in Albion on West Countyhouse Road.

Knapp welcomed the chance to serve as a fire investigator.

“It’s very interesting,” he said. “It’s like a mystery. You have to go through a methodical process to determine the cause and origin of a fire.”

Knapp shared some advice for preventing fires. First off, he said to clean chimneys and maintain wood-burning appliances, such as stoves and furnaces.

And don’t overload power strips. “If you overdraw them, that’s where fires start,” he said.

Knapp urged people to keep their houses and garages tidy, and to make sure they have working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

He also urged the community to appreciate their firefighters.

“The people you have right now are one of the county’s greatest resources,” he said.

David Knapp is presented with a special award from the emergency management staff for the county. From left include Dale Banker, Emergency Management coordinator; Fran Gaylord, deputy coordinator; Knapp; Jerry Bentley, deputy coordinator; and David Hydock, deputy fire coordinator.

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