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City of Troy's Fire Chief Retires After 34 Years of Service

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

TROY, NY - On November 3rd, at the city of Troy's Fire Department Central Station, Chief Eric McMahon retired after 34-years of dedicated service to the city of Troy and all of the taxpayers. 

Chief McMahon joined the city of Troy Fire Department on September 18, 1989, after coming out of the Marine Corps. Chief McMahon took his spot on the infamous Engine 5 for a short period of time out of central station before moving over to the rescue squad, where he spent six years on the job handling numerous calls. In the Fall of October 1995, McMahon took his first promotion to lieutenant and moved to the city's medic rigs where he spent eight years on the job providing emergency medical care to the taxpayers of the city of Troy. During Chief McMahon‘s time as a lieutenant, days after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, Chief McMahon would deploy to New York City to assist in operations with the FDNY.

Chief McMahon would spend the next eight years on the medic rig as a lieutenant before moving to Engine 2 and back to the rescue squad where he was promoted to Captain on November 19, 2003. Chief McMahon would serve on the City of Troy’s busiest piece of apparatus, the rescue squad, for over seven years. After seven years as a captain, Chief McMahon would make his move to the battalion chief spot on July 24, 2010, and quickly would move up to the deputy chief spot on July 11, 2011. Chief McMahon would spend the next five years of his career as deputy chief of the department, overseeing daily operations and handling numerous incidents throughout the city of Troy. Chief McMahon took the Assistant Chief position of the department on July 11, 2016, and would move to the head chief of the department on March 8, 2019.

As the chief of the department, Chief McMahon was in charge of 131 members of the department in a city of over 50,000 people. The department handles over 15,000 calls a year, including over 100 working structure fires a year. When Chief McMahon arrived on scene of a working fire he always had a calm composure on the radio no matter how bad the situation was going. Chief McMahon was always thinking ahead and trying to get ahead of the situation presented in front of him. Chief McMahon was the fireman's fireman, and was known as a working chief and for not being afraid to get his hands dirty working on a fire scene. At numerous fire scenes or incidents, you would not see him standing in front of his vehicle or in front of the building, you would see him in the doorway of the working fire talking to his men inside of the building or on the side of the building where crews are working on the second-floor. Chief McMahon, no matter what the conditions, was there for his firefighters.

One of the most memorable fires Chief McMahon was at was the 2nd Avenue fire of 2023 on one of the coldest days of the year where temperatures hovered around -37°F and firefighters were battling a multiple-alarm fire with multiple dwellings involved. During this operation, Chief McMahon had his BDU pants frozen to his boots from the water, his coat frozen solid and his helmet, and he was still moving around the fire scene non-stop that day. The Chief was in charge of some of the city's biggest fires in their most recent history, including the 3rd Alarm Morrison Avenue apartment complex fire, 2nd Alarm 490 2nd Avenue fire, 2nd Alarm Spring Avenue fire, Checkerboard laundromat fire on fifth Avenue, and many many more.

Most recently, Chief McMahon was involved in hiring the second largest group of firefighters on September 1, 2023. Chief McMahon welcomed 17 new firefighters to the job and would be part of the first-ever recruit class that would be taught in Rensselaer County at the new municipal training center. During this ceremony, Chief McMahon was recognized for his heroic actions on August 23, 2023, where there was a woman in distress in the river and without hesitation Chief McMahon leaped into the river to rescue her. Chief McMahon was recognized by Mayor Patrick Madden of the city of Troy with a letter of commendation. At Chief McMahon’s walkout ceremony, over 200 citizens, firefighters from all over the capital region, politicians, and most importantly family members of the chief were all present to see him do his final walkout at 2 PM of the Troy Fire station.

At 2:00 P.M., the ceremony kicked off and the mayor of the city of Troy took front and center of the engine bay surrounded by numerous high-ranking state fire officials, fire chiefs from all over the capital region and members of the entire Troy Fire Department. As Chief McMahon walked out the door into the engine bay, he stepped in front of all of his firefighters and looked around and thanked everyone for coming out on this day.

The Chief stated, "I am completely humbled by this and it’s a little bit overwhelming, I feel kind of undeserving of all this attention to be totally honest with you. The guys that are down on the street that make us look good every single day and the accolades truly belong to them the guys that mentored me, the department that was left to me was just an absolute fantastic department and I’m just so appreciative of everybody and everything that’s ever been done for me. The administration, the city council, but I gotta be honest with you for the last 10 years, I have been a staff chief maybe it’s even longer than that, maybe 15 years my wife and I have had to drive in separate vehicles in case a call came in every night, getting woke up by like either a phone call or box tones going off, or me rushing out of the house at night. The fact that she stayed and helped me through the whole entire thing I can’t thank my wife enough.” At that moment the entire room erupted in a large applause.

Chief McMahon stated, "To the firefighters and to the recruit firefighters that are staying here please the only thing I can say is be safe, be safe, be safe, it is such a tremendous weight asking these firefighters and you know fire officers to run into burning buildings, it’s a truly a tremendous amount of stress, so the fire officers keep the firefighter safe, to the firefighters please keep your officers in line, and everybody that came here today thank you so much. At that moment Chief McMahon‘s wife joined him in the center of the room and walked out with him of the engine bays of a massive round of applause. After the Chief cleared the bay doors firefighters that were lined up were dismissed and the chief shook hands and hugged numerous guests outside of the fire house.

After the Chief got outside, his entire family met up with him and took a large group photo. For over an hour, the chief saw his close friends and fellow firefighters. The chief and his family invited all of their guests over to Ryan’s week in the city of Troy for the after party. Upstairs before the walkout ceremony, the chief's loyal secretaries Amanda and Amber set up the small party and cake for the event. Numerous members of the department wished the chief a long, happy, and healthy retirement. Chief McMahon will be missed by the members of the department and everyone that he worked next to. The chief plans to spend more time with his family, go on vacation, and enjoy his retirement. The chief reiterated that he wanted to thank all of the firefighters, his mentors, and everyone that has supported him throughout his career.

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