Battalion Chief Dies at Westchester County, N.Y. Fire Scen

Updated: 03-06-2006 07:28:28 AM

Funeral services are set for Friday for a Westchester County, N.Y. battalion chief who died Friday, March 3 while directing operations at a structure fire in the Village of Irvington.

Chief Robert Schnibbe Jr.,57, was assisted immediately after his collapse by fellow firefighters who witnessed the incident, said Chief Stephan Pecylak.

Chief Schnibbe began his volunteer firefighting career as a member of Protection Engine Company 1 of the Hastings-on-Hudson Fire Department (Engine 44). He served six years as a company line officer. He was chief from 1977 to 2001, Pecylak said of his predecessor.

"He's been a volunteer for 39 years. He was always coming up with fascinating drills," the chief said, adding that his friend understood the importance of firefighters training with those they may be working with at a fire scene.

He was a member of numerous fire service organizations including the Westchester County Volunteer Firefighters Association, the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs and the Westchester County Parade Judges Association where he served as president at the time of his death.

Chief Schnibbe was appointed Chief of Battalion 14 of Westchester County in 2003. In this position, he was responsible for coordinating mutual aid operations in Hastings-on-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington, Elmsford, Ardsley, Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow.

Because of his responsibilities as a mutual aid coordinator and his activities in numerous fire service organizations, Chief Schnibbe was one of the most widely known and respected fire officials in Westchester County and throughout the state, officials said in a published statement.

In addition to the fire service, he also was involved in a number of community activities.

Visitation will be held from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at Edwards-Dowdle Funeral Home in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. A firefighter service will be held at 8 p.m. Thursday.

A Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday, March 10 at St. Matthew's Catholic Church in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.
For additional information, contact Chief Pecylak at 914-906-3831.