Third-generation Catskill, N.Y. firefighter Richard Chewens, 51, died Sunday after battling breast cancer. He was a 25-year member of the department and became a life member after being diagnosed with cancer a month ago.
Rick Chewens joined the Catskill Fire Company in the mid-1980s and he was on the first truck that arrived at the scene of the massive 1989 tire fire in a field behind what used to be Jamesway in the village of Catskill, Catskill Fire Company Chief Ed Dolan told the Daily Mail. More than a million junk tires burned for more than a week, throwing thick toxic smoke into the sky.
Chewens was also a well-known jester around the fire company, making people laugh whenever he could, Dolan said.
“He was always putting people in tears of laughter,” Dolan said. “He was just a well-known guy that everyone liked.”