Chief’s passing strikes blow to firefighting community
Allegheny Township’s Cassidy ‘was always looking to encourage’
The Allegheny Township Volunteer Fire Department lost one of its leaders this past week with the passing of Chief David C. Cassidy.
“It’s not quite set in yet,” Deputy Chief Scott Richardson said Friday of Cassidy’s death at age 57 following a brief illness.
Richardson, a firefighter for 18 years, pointed out Cassidy was not only one of the guys who molded him into the firefighter he is today, he was his best friend.
“He cared about the community so much, and it showed every time,” Richardson said. Richardson said whenever the fire department was asked to take part in a community event, the chief could be counted on to be there.
He was also very knowledgeable when it came to firefighting, and he took the time to show and mentor others, Richardson said.
“Anytime we had some kind of training, he was always there, pushing us,” Richardson said. “He will continue to do that until we all pass.”
Firefighter Samantha Lafferty said Cassidy was like a father figure to her and had a way of making a person feel comfortable.
“He was always able to give you a good laugh,” said Lafferty, who grew up with both parents in the fire service and is now married to a fellow firefighter. “He took you under his wing. He was just overall a good guy.”
In January, Cassidy was due to start his third year as chief of the department, which has a roster of 40 members with 15 to 20 who are active. Richardson will remain acting chief, and Tracy Saylor, who had been elected deputy chief for 2020, will step into the role as chief, said Allegheny Township Volunteer Fire Department President Doug Pilot.
Pilot recalled meeting Cassidy for the first time while buying fire department chicken dinner tickets after moving to the area more than 20 years ago. He said the chief was dedicated to the community and his family, having taken care of his wife, Lisa, after she was left with health issues following a crash six years ago.
“He was a funny guy,” Pilot said, noting Cassidy had a way of throwing out a joke to see if you would catch it. “He was always looking to encourage people.”
Pilot said Cassidy served through all the ranks in the department and drove all the equipment, including the department’s old airport crash truck. As a leader, he was fair with the way he handled problems and dealt with the members, Pilot said.
His concern for the community really showed with Cassidy’s involvement in emergency planning in the township and in how he ensured the department’s training records were up to date. Throughout the years, he also found time to be president of the department’s firefighter relief association.
“We’re gonna miss him,” Pilot said. “We already do. It leaves a big hole.”
Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.