GREENVILLE — Capt. Lowell “Chip” Fashner left the firefighting behind Tuesday morning, when his peers at Greenville Fire Department sent him off into retirement and to his home aboard a fire engine.
Members of the Greenville Fire Department honored him at their traditional “Ride Home” ceremony at 7 a.m.
Fashner started his firefighting career in Greenville on Sept. 27, 1990, and was promoted to captain on Aug. 2, 1993.
How did he get into firefighting?
“It runs in the family,” Fashner said. “My dad, brother, and uncle were all chiefs. I had another uncle as a firefighter and both grandfathers. I always admired them for what they did for others and wanted to help others also.”
A 1983 graduate of Bradford High School, he attended fire academy and multiple other certification schools all dealing with firefighting skills, rescue and EMS. throughout his career.
His most memorable fires were a two-story fire on Martin Street on Feb 4, 1991, and was then there were the Snapper Warehouse fire and Montgomery Street fire.
He replied that he was injured multiple times on the job.
“Thank goodness, I was lucky,” said Fashner who indicated, he had two knee injuries that required surgery and a shoulder injury. “I feel very blessed that I remained safe for 25 years.”
He did point out that he does not ever regret going into firefighting.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “To me it was the greatest job in the world. I enjoyed the brotherhood among the firefighters and the satisfaction of selfless service. It was an honor to be a firefighter in Greenville.”
Before he became a firefighter, Fashner worked at Quality Forms Printing Company and owned his own asphalt business for a couple years.”
One of four sons of Idonna Fashner and the late Lowell Fashner, he is married to wife Soni, has three children, Zach and Cass Fashner and stepson Parker Housman; and one grandchild, Brawley Sides. Cass and son Brawley were there at the fire station to help with the send-off Tuesday as was his wife.
His brothers are Jeff and Kim as well as the late Greg Fashner.
What are Fashner’s plans in retirement?
“I became a licensed charter captain and plan to continue my fishing charter business on Lake Erie and Ontario,” Fashner said. “My wife and I love to fish for walleye and salmon. I will also be guiding goose hunting trips in New York. We love the outdoors and want to fish, hunt, run and play outdoors as much as possible.”
They both also run marathons.
“Capt. Fashner is the last one in Greenville FD that I rode with as a firefighter (1991),” commented Greenville Fire Chief Mark A. Wolf, OFE. “He has left a lasting impression on the department from his 25 years of service, the last 22 as captain of B Shift.”
“I always did the job as best as I could, and got a paycheck every two weeks,” Fashner said. “The guys really deserve respect because they are the ones who give the ultimate sacrifice. The 24/48 shifts are hard. You are losing a night’s sleep out of every three. Thirty years that’s hard on you. The last five years were really rough.”
On a previous interview, he made this comment, “It’s a young man’s game. For me, back then, it was a bottle of water and an hour and I was ready for the next fire. Now, it’s a lot of water and a week before I’m ready for the next fire.”