A lifelong Elmont resident’s childhood dream has come true.
Dominick Francavilla, the newly appointed chief of the Elmont Fire Department, spent 20 years fighting fires and building camaraderie with his fellow firefighters before being given the opportunity to lead them. Francavilla, who was officially sworn in on April 27, calls that moment one of the proudest of his life.
“The first thing that came over me was such a sense of pride,” Francavilla told the Herald. “I’m still humbled by that — I’m still humbled by saying that. This is something I’ve wanted my entire life and now I’m getting to do that. It was so overwhelming.”
The new chief, who is 38 and lives with his wife, Amanda, and their 3-year-old son, Joseph, added that he realizes he has some big shoes to fill because, he said, “there have been some great firefighters and fire chiefs that have come through the department.”
Francavilla replaces outgoing Chief Angelo Chilelli. As his predecessor did, Francavilla will be working to keeping the hamlet and the surrounding area as safe as can be in what he described as “a new age of terror.”
“You never know,” he said. “We do cover Belmont racetrack, and there are some high-profile events that they have there, in which the Elmont Fire Department is directly involved in fire safety, providing protection in case something does happen and having the resources available to keep the public safe in a venue like that.”
Francavilla also pointed to recent changes on Hempstead Turnpike that have created more traffic and congestion. One of the most significant challenges, he said, is to figure out a way to quicken the Fire Department’s response time, because the road has many more stoppages now than in the past. Another challenge is managing the high number of false alarm calls the department receives.
The new chief’s plans to emphasize training. Francavilla said he believes that what separates a good department from a great department is the level of training that personnel have and how well equipped a department is to handle emergencies.
At the outset of his term, Francavilla made it a point to emphasize that the department is there — and will always be there — to serve the needs of the community. “I would like the public to know that the Elmont Fire Department will do our best to serve the citizens of the Elmont fire district and surrounding districts,” Francavilla said. “Know that when the Elmont Fire Department comes, you’re getting some of the best firemen that Long Island has.”