Last fall, members of the Sandy Township Fire Department honored and memorialized a fellow firefighter, David Row, who was killed in the line of duty in 1940. Last week, Jim Korb cut the David Row inscription on the Firefighter’s Monument in the DuBois Memorial Park.
Row was a member of the West Sandy Hose Co., the first company formed in what is now the Sandy Township Fire Department.
“On Jan. 22, 1940, there was a fire in the Wayne Schoolhouse section of the township,” firefighter Bob Wilson said at the memorial ceremony in October of 2018. “That fire consumed the home, displaced two family members, or families, and ultimately was the last call for our fellow brother.”
Row, 25, was on the second floor of the house, and fell to the ground.
“At that time he received injury to his knee, and some other exposure injuries,” Wilson said. “He was transported to the DuBois Hospital, where he underwent surgery, and ultimately several days later passed away due to pneumonia and infection.”
A life was saved in that fire, Wilson noted.
Wilson said the fire company knew that it had a death of a member, but didn’t tie anything together until recently when Kevin Snyder, who is married to Row’s great-niece, Kim Shaffer Snyder, came forward with information, including a death certificate that closed the loop, Wilson said.
That was the proof that it was a line of duty death.
At the memorial, Acting Pennsylvania State Fire Commissioner Bruce Trego presented state flag plaques to Jane Ann Shaffer, Row’s niece; Alex Campbell, of New York, Row’s nephew; and West Sandy Hose Co. Deputy Chief Randy Beers.
West Sandy Hose Co. also purchased a brick to be placed at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland, in memory of David Row.
On behalf of the fire company, Beers also presented flags and plaques to Row’s niece and nephew and thanked the family for bringing this to their attention.
Row is buried at Morningside Cemetery.
The ceremony was a confirmation of Row’s passing and the documents that tied it to a line of duty death. As far as fighting fire deaths, Wilson said this is the only one on record known in the history of the township fire department. A township firefighter, Walter “Matt” Sarnoski, was killed in a vehicle accident enroute to an incident in 2005. Sarnoski’s name is also on the monument at the park.