Ridgefield Has Lost a Dedicated Public Servant
Photo by RON JEFFERSThe funeral procession for Ridgefield ex-Chief Bryan T. Sammartine passed by Engine Co. 2's quarters on November 15th. The former instructor, fire official and councilman was a vast source of information for Ridgefield and Bergen County in general.
Bryan T. Sammartino. 81, served the Borough of Ridgefield, and the County of Bergen in many capacities. Especially in the life saving department. The dedicated public servant passed away in November.
Sammartino came from a family of firefighters, that included his father, grandfather and uncle. It was in his blood.
He joined the Ridgefield Volunteer Fire Department in 1960 and served the community for 52-years with the department and Company 2. He rose through the ranks and spent three different terms as Chief of Department. That included 1974-77, 1983-89 and 1992-95.
He was also an instructor and the chair of the Ridgefield Fire Department Training Committee. In addition, the ex-chief was an instructor at the Bergen County EMS Center, 1988-2020. Additional county service included being on the Bergen County Fire Academy Advisory Board, as well being a member of the Bergen County Fire Chief's Association.
When a new field of operations became the responsibility of local fire departments, Sammartino was the organizer of the Bergen County Haz-Mat Association and the Ridgefield Fire Department Haz-Mat team.
Sammartino also served the borough as a councilman in 1977-78 and 1989-91.
The public servant also served his country in the U.S. Air Force Reserves from 1966-1972, rising to staff sergeant aerospace ground equipment technician.
In his professional life, he possessed a degree in Photographic Science and worked as a photographic engineer for 30-years.
He was a quiet, gentleman. One incident that he was quiet about for some 30-years occurred when he was a probationary apparatus driver. The young firefighter responded to the mutual aid blaze involving the Cardinal Lanes bowling alley on Anderson Ave. in Cliffside Park, October 15th, 1967. The “probie” was told to watch the pump. Suddenly, a loud roar and the walls came down. Five Ridgefield firefighters were injured and five other members were killed. When the firefighting was completed, Firefighter Sammartino drove Engine 2 back to quarters alone, with the rig possessing some of the firefighters' gear.
Bryan Sammartino was known as a great source of information involving many topics; but, especially involving his love of public safety.