Cheshire’s deputy fire chief steps down

CHESHIRE — After 42 years with the Cheshire Fire Department, Deputy Chief Donn Youngquist has seen a lot. He can add a year dealing with a pandemic to the list.

And now, Youngquist is ready to say goodbye, at least to his role as deputy fire chief.

“Donn is a great guy and he’s done an amazing job as deputy chief,” explained fire chief and long time colleague Jack Casner. “He’s finally decided to give someone else the headache of the job.”

Dan Ford will now serve as the new deputy chief. 

In order to honor Youngquist’s time with the Fire Department, his colleagues recently decided to surprise him with a special gift. 

“I was not expecting it at all. I was just sitting at my house — we had Taco Monday at our house last week (April 28) with our family — I was just sitting there watching TV and fire trucks started to pull up,” Youngquist recounted. “Now, I knew the department sometimes likes to use my house for different training reasons, but for three trucks to just show up was certainly unusual.”

As Youngquist tried to figure out exactly why three Fire Department trucks were pulling into his driveway, members of the department began to file out of the trucks and presented Youngquist with a plaque commemorating his years of service. 

“The plaque itself is freaking huge — it’s got to weigh over 25 pounds at least,” Youngquist laughed.  

Youngquist joined the Cheshire Fire Department in 1972 and became deputy chief in 1996. Youngquist also spent six years as a volunteer firefighter outside Philadelphia between the years of 1984 and 1990.

“I am not someone who looks for recognition or anything like that,” he said. “I am very proud to have been able to serve in that position for as long as I have, and I have been with the department for 42 years … it’s awesome to receive something like this. These people that I work with are amazing and I know how hard they all work to keep Cheshire safe.”

While Youngquist may no longer serve as deputy chief, he promises that he isn’t going anywhere. 

“I am a life member of the department, as well as deputy fire marshall,” he said. “I will still have plenty to do during the day, although now as a life member I probably don’t need to go to as many trainings or orientations as I would before.”

Youngquist has no idea what to do with a plaque this size, and admits he might need to find a special place in his home for it. 

“Right now, it’s sitting on a stand on my fireplace, and I know it cannot stay there for long,” he said. “I might have to get the plaque its own shelf!”

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