By Bera Dunau Staff Writer
---- — Hartwick Fire Department Co. No. 2 Fire Chief Michael J. Basile’s death on Saturday has made a major impact on the Hartwick Fire Department.
“We lost a big part of our family,” said Terry Brunn, first assistant fire chief of Hartwick Fire Department Co. No. 2. “both in Co. 1 and Co. 2.”
“A huge loss to our community and the county as a whole,” said Hartwick Fire Department Co. No. 1 Fire Chief Robert O’Brien.
Brunn, who has known Basile since 1978, said that Basile first moved to Hartwick in 1972.
“(He) joined the fire department the first week he was here,” said Brunn.
Brunn said that Basile started his service with Hartwick Fire Department Co. No. 1, where he served as emergency squad captain for eight years. He moved over to Hartwick Fire Department Co. No. 2 in Hartwick Seminary in 1986, when he moved into a house near the company’s fire house.
Both Hartwick fire companies are all-volunteer units. No. 2, which is located on State Route 28, was founded in 1950 in order to serve Hartwick Seminary. No. 1 is located in the hamlet of Hartwick.
Basile became chief of No. 2 in 2008, having previously been first assistant fire chief in the company.
“He was a big pusher for bringing new members in,” said Brunn, who detailed how in 2006 he brought in 15 to 20 new members.
Basile was self-employed as an owner of Basile & Son Fire Alarms. Brunn said that Basile took many hours away from his job for the fire department. He was also a deputy EMS coordinator (OC-7) for the Otsego County Office of Emergency Services since April of 1980, according to Otsego County Office of Emergency Services Coordinator Kevin Ritton.
“He basically knew every fireman and every fire chief in the county,” said Brunn.
Born in Far Rockaway, Queens, Basile was raised on Long Island in Massapequa. He is survived by his wife Claudia, their son John and daughter-in-law Jennifer Basile and granddaughter Kaylee Basile. Basile was diagnosed with colon cancer about a year ago, and died at Bassett Medical Center on Jan. 18. He was 62 years old.
Basile has been cremated, and viewing hours will be from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth, Inc. Funeral Home in Cooperstown on Friday. This will be followed by a 10 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at St. Mary’s “Our Lady of the Lake” Roman Catholic Church in Cooperstown on Saturday.
Following the service, Basile’s remains will be taken on a final tour of Hartwick’s fire district, stopping at Hartwick Fire Department Co. No. 1 and his former residence in Hartwick, and finishing at Hartwick Fire Department Co. No. 2.
“He will ride on our engine that he helped purchase in 2006,” said Brunn, referring to E-372, Hartwick Fire Department Co. No. 2’s 2006 Freightliner Pumper.
After arriving at the fire hall, Basile will be given his Final Alarm. A reception will follow.
Basile will remain chief of Co. No. 2 until the company holds its elections in February.