By Jamie Lasorsa
Coming from a long line of firefighters, it’s no surprise that Seamus Kelly, from a very early age, was set on following in his families’ footsteps. His father, Princeton Fire Deputy Chief Tim Kelly, brother Princeton Fire Captain Zachary Algarin, and sister Ciara Kelly Princeton Fire EMT, have all paved the path for him and included him in all things related to the work of a fire fighter since he was a young boy.
Seamus grew up around the firehouse, listening to and observing the adults and learning to roll fire hoses probably before he could tie his own shoes! His aspirations were high, and goals set. He was going to be a fire fighter.
As soon as he was able, at age 14, he signed up to take part in the Holden Youth Fire Explorers. This program, as part of the Learning for Life program through Boy Scouts of America, has been in practice in Holden for over 30 years now. The program meets one night per week and invites young adults ages 14-21, to learn basic firefighting knowledge and tactics, both in the classroom and field training. Roughly 500 students from the region have gone through the program thus far and roughly 100 of them have gone onto a career in fire industry. Being exposed to this program gave Seamus insight to the life of a firefighter and fueled his desire even more.
Upon entering high school at Monty Tech, he entered the Auto Mechanic program. At age 16 ½ he began working on the trucks at the station, assisting with whatever needed to be done, and soon was officially a member of the fire department. He continued his scouting, making Eagle Scout (something which less than 8% of scouts accomplish), and participated in Junior ROTC all four years through high school. Studying in any spare time he could find, at age 17 he became a certified EMT.
Now at age 19 and having passed his Firefighter certification this past November, Seamus holds the title of youngest firefighter on the Princeton Fire Department. He also works part time for the Shirley Fire Department. He responded to his first “live fire” call during a snowstorm in late January, which was a fully engulfed car fire on Mountain Road. Given that nobody was in the vehicle, and nobody hurt, Seamus described the feeling as “pretty amazing” and adrenaline fueling.
Seamus has plans to continue his education and take specialty classes to enhance his skills. Ropes and knots training will be next on his agenda, as Princeton Fire Department responds to 20-30 rescues per year needed between Wachusett Mountain and Leominster State Park, therefore, he feels it would be an asset to have more trained at this within the department.
Currently you may see him out and about with the chief learning to drive the many vehicles which all serve a different purpose within firefighting, his latest tackle being Engine 2, the cab over custom cab fire truck. He has also returned to Holden Youth Fire Explorers as an assistant instructor. One thing is for certain, Seamus is a very ambitious young man and will continue to serve his community and make both them and his family proud.