The 340 volunteer members of the Rockville Centre Fire Department were set to cast their ballots on Thursday to elect a chief, first assistant chief, second assistant chief and Fourth Battalion delegate.
As a long-standing department tradition Brian Cook, who has served two successful terms as the department’s chief, will join the ranks of the former chiefs during a meeting on April 16. Eric Burel was unanimously nominated to succeed Cook by the officers and members of Woodland Engine Company No. 4.
Burel, who has served as a fireman for 37 years and works as an administrator for the Plainview Fire Department, lives on Rockville Avenue with his wife, Donna, and son, Eric. Coming from the Freeport Fire Department, he joined Rockville Centre’s Woodland Engine Company No. 4 Eric and rose through the ranks, becoming captain in 2010. A few years later, he ran for the position of second assistant chief of the village’s department, and most recently was serving as first assistant chief.
Second Assistant Chief Jim Avondet, nominated by members of Defender Hose Company No. 1, is set to become the first assistant chief. A 41-year member of the department and lifelong resident of Rockville Centre, Avondet lives in the village with his wife, Rosemary.
He joined the Rockville Centre Fire Department in August 1977 and has served five terms as captain of Defender Hose Company No. 1. In addition to his role as a firefighter, he as also served as an advanced emergency medical technician, an assistant fire inspector and a fire police officer. A retired New York City police officer, Avondet currently serves the deputy manager in the village’s Office of Emergency Management.
This year, there will be a contest for second assistant chief between John Griffin, of Eureka Hook, Ladder and Bucket Company and Scott Mohr, of Reliance Hose Company No. 3.
Mohr has been a member of the department for 26 years, joining Reliance Hose Company No. 3 in 1993. Born and raised in Rockville Centre, Mohr is a third-generation Rockville Centre firefighter, who followed in the footsteps of his father, ex-Captain James Mohr and his grandfather, former Captain Louis Mohr, Sr.. Mohr works alongside many of his uncles and cousins who remain active volunteers in the department.
He had previously served three stints as Reliance’s second lieutenant and two as captain. He is a 16-year career firefighter in Jamaica, Queens with Tower Ladder 127 of the New York City Fire Department. Prior to that, he spent three years as a police officer in Harlem with the 32nd Precinct of the New York City Police Department. He lives in the village with his wife, Kelly, and their two children.
Griffin, a firefighter for 27 years, is a former captain of Rockville Centre’s Eureka Hook, Ladder & Bucket Company No. 1, with 27 years of firefighting experience. Prior to joining the department, he spent seven years with the Long Beach Fire Department. In 2000, transferred to the village, and Eureka elected him to serve on the Department Board of Instruction, training members in the latest firefighting techniques for six years.
Griffin was the company’s captain in 2005 and 2006, and then served for six years as a warden on the Fire Council, the governing body of the fire department. In 2010, he was named as the department’s assistant secretary, a position he still holds.
A retired police officer from the NYPD, he lives in Rockville Centre with his wife, Kathleen, and their three children.
Ex-Chief Robert Seaman is running unopposed for a three-year term for the position of Fourth Battalion delegate in the department, and will succeed John Hennig, who has served as delegate for the last 15 years, and is now chairman of the Nassau County Fire Commission. The Fourth Battalion district comprises the Rockville Centre, Lynbrook, Lakeview, Malverne and East Rockaway fire departments.
Seaman, of Live Oak Engine Company No. 1, has been a volunteer firefighter since 1989. He was chief of the department from 2015 to 2017. He is a third-generation firefighter and a lifelong resident of the village.