Firefighters volunteer to keep Dutchess Stadium safe


FISHKILL – The all-volunteer Chelsea Fire Company is the department that provides security at Dutchess Stadium during every game that features a fireworks display, and does so free of charge for the Hudson Valley Renegades.

Fire Chief Ryan McCluskey told Mid-Hudson News that the 2022 Renegades season features 23 fireworks displays and a special event, Nitro Circus, which will feature pyrotechnics. McCluskey volunteers and a scene of firefighters behind the left field wall for each of the post-game fireworks and do so to protect attendees. “We offer a few volunteer hours at each show to help out in case of injury or fire. “We’re also inspecting the surrounding wooded area next to the stadium after the fireworks to make sure the embers aren’t starting a bushfire,” McCluskey said.

Chelsea Fire Company Engine 35-11 behind the left field wall at Dutchess Stadium.

Hudson Valley Renegades President Steve Gliner and the organization appreciate the efforts of the department that does not charge for the service. “The Renegades have been blessed with a long-standing relationship with the Chelsea Fire Company,” he said. “They have always been there for us to protect our fans and the Dutchess Stadium during our fireworks and big stadium events.”

The Chelsea Fire Company has provided special cover for the stadium for 28 years and Gliner has developed relationships with many volunteers such as firefighter Jim Tompkins who has been involved since the stadium opened. “We very much appreciate the opportunity to work with Chief McCluskey and all the amazing volunteers he has there – they are an incredible asset to our community,” noted Gliner.

“We are a 100% volunteer fire company and we provide this service at the stadium without charging for it. All we’re asking for is a donation from the team to help keep us up and running,” McCluskey said. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that the cost of having a fire truck on a scene is approximately $225 per hour and each firefighter is worth at least $65 per hour.

The Chelsea Fire Company covers approximately eight square miles spread over parts of Fishkill and the town of Wappinger as well as the Hudson River. The area is primarily residential and includes several large apartment complexes, a retirement home, two assisted living facilities, Stony Kill Farm, part of I-84, and Dutchess Stadium. Volunteers respond to approximately 200 calls for service each year, including fires, accidents, hazmat incidents and medical emergencies.


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