Through the years of firefighting and emergency incidents, the Snyder Fire Department has suffered two Line of Duty Deaths. To remember them, and to remember that sacrifice, two prominent plaques greet all visitors to the Snyder firehouse. They serve as a constant reminder that these two firefighters responded to a call for help, and never returned home.
Additionally, we honor the memory of Snyder Firefighter John Burgoyne who served in the United States Navy and was Killed in Action during World War Two.
Rudolph M. Lutz - October 14, 1956
On October 14, 1956, after driving a pumper to a leaf fire that spread to a telephone pole at Harlem Road near Kings Highway, Rudolph M. Lutz, age 50, suffered a heart attack and died. Firefighter Lutz had just completed hooking up to a hydrant and reported that he was ready to pump water when he collapsed. Firefighter Lutz joined the department on May 3rd, 1943, and was a well-liked and well-respected member. He actually resigned from the department in 1947, because he moved to California for his work. However, he was back by 1948 and quickly welcomed back into the department and even served as a captain for several years. He lived on Colonial Road and his department equipment number 26 is permanently retired from service in his honor.
John P. Bresnahan - June 3, 1966
John P. Bresnahan joined the department on May 1st, 1950. He was a big man who lived for the fire department and was always around. He was employed by Niagara Mohawk (now called National Grid) for many years, but when transferred from the local Huntley Plant to a plant much farther away, he opted to take a job assisting his good friend Bud Wilson (chief of department 1967‐1972) working as a custodian at the Harlem Road Elementary School. Bresnahan was the leading advocate for implementing the street file running card system still used today. He lived on Avalon Drive, and at the time of his death, his son John, Jr. was also a member of the department. Bresnahan rose through the ranks and was appointed Second Assistant Chief on January 6, 1964. On June 3, 1966, while fighting his second fire of the day, Second Assistant Chief Bresnahan collapsed and died. The fire was in a barn at the Park School of Buffalo. His department equipment number 81 is permanently retired from service in his honor. We will never forget him.
John L. Burgoyne, USN - WWII, Killed In Action March 1, 1942
John Burgoyne was a Snyder Firefighter and the son of long-time Snyder member Leo Burgoyne who died in service to the United States with the Navy during World War Two. While a member of the then, Snyder Hose Company, John Burgoyne served as a Coxswain on the destroyer, USS Edsall. The Edsall was lost in combat on March 1, 1942, in the Pacific waters south of Java. It was not until after the war ended that Japanese veterans told the full story. Two Japanese battleships sank the ship and there were five survivors out of the crew of some 150 officers and men. The five were subsequently executed (beheaded) and buried on a South Pacific Island. Burgoyne was also Amherst’s first casualty of World War II.
John was born December 24th, 1916, and joined the Snyder Hose Company as a Torchboy (Junior Firefighter) on October 3, 1932.