Midway Fire Dept. Mourns Loss of Chief

She was a fire chief, and a trailblazer: Colonie's Midway Fire Department is mourning the loss of its first female chief, Meaghan Nichols Sammons. Geoff Redick has more.

COLONIE, N.Y. -- Accomplishment was no stranger to Meaghan Nichols Sammons; her fellow Capital Region fire chiefs know it.

"You've got to be on the ball if you're going to rise to the rank of chief (in just eight years)," said Colonie's Village Fire District Chief, Brian Curran on Tuesday. "Being the first female chief: that's even a bigger accomplishment."

Sammons is being remembered as a dedicated firefighter, fire chief and mentor to Capital Region youth, after her battle with cancer ended Saturday. To the despair of her fellow firefighters, Sammons passed away at 39.

She was raised in Colonie and had worked at the local Girls, Inc. organization for eighteen years, according to colleagues.

Firefighters, though, say her truest commitment was to her Midway Fire Department in Colonie, where she was elected in 2014 as likely the first female volunteer fire chief in the Capital Region.

"On a day-to-day basis, we would have interaction with each other," said Curran, who helms the Village District firehouse just down the road. "We had a fire over the summer in Midway's district, and she was on her way to chemo, and she stopped to make sure everything was going all right.

"That ought to give you an idea of her dedication," he said.

Midway Fire Department flew its flags at half-staff Tuesday and adorned its outdoor message board with a customary black-and-purple shawl in Sammons' honor.

Sammons was Program Director for the Girls, Inc. branches in Albany and Schenectady. The organization has announced it will dedicate a new scholarship in Sammons' memory.

Calling hours for Sammons' family and friends are scheduled for Friday, with a funeral to follow Saturday, with full fire department honors.

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