RttC Kid: Wally Pieczynski

Wally Pieczynski was a Run-to-the-Curb type kid who grew up down the street from the Seneca Hose Fire Department in West Seneca NY.

Walter Pieczynski grew up on Bellwood Avenue, just down the street from the Seneca Hose Fire Department in the Town of West Seneca. Wally remembers as a kid, running down the street every time he heard Seneca Hose’s fire siren sound. 

There, at the corner of Bellwood and Seneca Street, Wally would sit on a fire hydrant, waiting and watching as the volunteers of Seneca Hose responded to the firehouse in their personal vehicles only to reappear moments laters as they raced out of the station in their bright red apparatus; lights flashing and sirens blaring. 

Hugh Halligan was just a rookie assigned to NYFD Engine 88 in the Bronx when this photo was taken in 1916 with his brother Joe (left), an NYPD cop also in the Bronx. This photo was provided to Walt Pieczynski by Hugh's son: Bud Halligan

Never letting go of his childhood dream of becoming a firefighter, today Walt Pieczynski is an assistant fire chief with Seneca Hose, a career firefighter with the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport Fire Department and an instructor with the Erie County Department of Emergency Services and the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control

Through it all, Wally has never lost his passion for what brought him to the fire service and for the rich history that we share as brother firefighters. Known for his extensive knowledge of forcible entry and other “truckie” tactics, Walt is favored by students of all ages and years of experience as a patient, disciplined and detail oriented instructor. 

Even as an instructor, Wally is a student of the fire service and especially its rich heritage. Many of the photos in this slideshow relate to Hugh Halligan, an FDNY firefighter in the early 1900s and inventor of the now famous “Halligan Tool.” Regardless of the subject, for every photo — Wally has a story. 

A “Run-to-the-Curb” kid, Wally was a special guest on my Firefighter Storytellers radio show on the FirefighterNetcast Network live from the Firemen’s Memorial Exhibit Center on Wednesday-September 8, 2010. [Check back after the show for a link to download this episode.] Special thanks to Chief (Ret.) Jim Kavanaugh and Linda Makin for being such gracious hosts at the museum. 

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3 responses to “RttC Kid: Wally Pieczynski

  1. Pingback: Firefighter Storytellers live from the Firemen’s Memorial Exhibit Center of Western NY : Firefighter Netcast

  2. Pingback: Every Firefighter Has a Story. – Tiger Schmittendorf

  3. Pingback: Firefighter Storytellers Live Oct. 14th at 9pm EST with Nick Martin : Firefighter Netcast

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