Community mourns the loss of Montgomery's fire chief - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Community mourns the loss of Montgomery's fire chief

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(Photo provided by State Fire Marshal's Office) (Photo provided by State Fire Marshal's Office)

A community still in mourning after Montgomery Fire Chief Steve Frye died while battling a house fire yesterday. 

The town's fire department, made up of volunteers, is a special kind of department that puts their community above all else. 

Montgomery is a town of only 800 people and is protected by a volunteer fire department - firefighters who do it not for the money, but because they know it needs to be done. 

The Montgomery fire department firefighters were called from their families and their homes to battle the fire late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning on Southampton Road. 

Fire Chief Stephen Frye collapsed while battling the flames and later died. 

"It's a calling for them and to be a chief of the department like that and to lose the chief in the fire - with him working side-by-side with his family as well as the other men and women of the department - it's a great loss," said Sen. Don Humason of Westfield.

For so many volunteers, it's a family tradition to be on the department. 

For the Frye family, that was no different.  Chief Frye's son was fighting right along side him when he passed.   

Unlike call or full-time departments, the Montgomery fire department is not paid at all, with the exception of a very small stipend for the chief, but it's not about the money for these firefighters. 

"They do it because they love it.  They do it because it needs to be done.  It's not for the money, it's because it has to happen and they offer this protection to the small towns," Humason noted.

Town selectboard member Dan Jacques told Western Mass News that it's about community.  "Whether it's a medical call or responding to a fire, these folks see it as taking care of their town," he said in a statement. 

This department trained once a week under Chief Frye.  He headed this group of volunteers for 17 years and has been a member even longer. 

Copyright 2017 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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