Mourners paid their respects to former Hauppauge Fire Chief Stephen A. Feron on Thursday, across Wheeler Road and less than a block from his second home since he was a boy – the Hauppauge fire station.
Feron, 49, died last Saturday while participating in a drill with the Mastic Beach Fire Department and Suffolk County Urban Search and Rescue Team.
Outside the entrance to Moloney’s funeral home, Feron’s turnout gear – his yellow fire coat, helmet, Halligan bar and flathead ax – served as a remembrance sentry under a American flag flying.
“He was a fun-loving Irishman, quick-witted with jokes, but could also be a tender, caring person who would listen to you,” Hauppauge Fire Chief Kenneth Furuno said outside the lounge. funeral.
“He had a fantastic sense of honor,” the chef continued. “He had a fantastic sense of responsibility.”
The son of a Hauppauge fire chief, Feron had joined the department as a teenager and had been a member for 33 years, Furuno said. The two had gone to high school together, although two years apart, and served side by side in the fire department for three decades.
Feron’s death is the first death in the line of duty since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Furuno said.
The cause of death has not been released, Furuno said, but during the training exercise Feron attempted to retrieve a jet ski from the water.
He is survived by his wife Kelly, daughter Anna and son Stephen.
Family members, firefighters, police officers, friends and educators flocked for the open-air viewing. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison both came to the funeral home on Thursday.
“It’s a loss for everyone,” Harrison said after leaving the funeral home. “Being a first responder is not just a noble profession, it is the work of God and every time someone puts their life on the line to help other people, they should be recognized, honored and appreciated.”
Feron served as Department Head from 2018 to 2019, following the path set by his father, Stephen B. Feron, who served as Department Head from 1985 to 1988.
Stephen A. Feron worked in the insurance industry, focusing on shipping, according to a member of the fire department. Much of his recent firefighting work has focused on technical rescue training, a specialized area dealing with challenges such as collapsed buildings and water rescues.
“He expected excellence,” said firefighter Edward Giannelli. “Firefighting is dangerous. You need to know exactly what you are doing when you get off the truck.
Feron made sure “everyone knew what he was doing,” Giannelli said.
The two firefighters were close friends, Giannelli said, going on fishing trips, golf outings, barbecues and baptisms together.
“When you join an organization like a volunteer fire department,” he said, “you make friends for life and that’s what Stephen was to me.”
A funeral mass will be held Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at St. Thomas More Church, 115 Kings Highway, Hauppauge, with interment at a cemetery to be determined.