After nine years of serving in one leadership capacity or another, Wantagh Fire Chief James Bloomfield can finally kick up his feet and relax a little — although he’s far from retirement.
Bloomfield, 40, a Wantagh firefighter for 21 years, was honored for his valor and heroism at the Hempstead Town Firematic Awards on Oct. 4, along with 14 other members of nine town departments. Bloomfield will finish his term as chief next month. The Wantagh department covers portions of Seaford.
“It was such a great privilege to be recognized at this event,” Bloomfield said. “Every year, we try to nominate someone with a significant amount of service, and it was so great that I was chosen this time around.”
Bloomfield, a Wantagh native, started with the department in March 1996, when he was assigned to Ladder One. He served two years as lieutenant, two years as captain and six years as assistant chief. In March 2015 he was named chief of the department and has served in that capacity since.
The Wantagh Fire Department — which serves all of Wantagh, Seaford Harbor and parts of Levittown, East Meadow and Bellmore — receives more than 1,500 emergency medical service calls per year, Bloomfield noted.
During his time in the department, he has served on various committees, including Emergency Medical Services, the Safety and Hazardous Materials Response Unit, Fire Safety Prevention and the Safety Officer Committee.
Along with other department leaders, Bloomfield established the Incident Management Team three years ago. It’s responsible for assisting with planning for and covering large-scale events, including the Jones Beach State Park Air Show during Memorial Day Weekend, Fourth of July Fireworks at the beach and Superstorm Sandy recovery. Wantagh’s IMAT team is comprised entirely of volunteers.
“The group is composed of specially trained people who provide sufficient overlook of these large events to keep everyone safe,” he said. “By working in conjunction with law enforcement and different levels of government — like the Department of Defense — we can provide the best coverage possible.”
Bloomfield’s service also extends beyond the fire department to several other community organizations. He is a youth soccer, lacrosse and baseball coach and a father to three children — John, Emma and Mary.
“Being a chief is a great position,” Bloomfield said. “You’re able to make day-to-day decisions and help create a vision of where you want the department to be in the future.”
“A part of it is sad because I’ll miss my role,” he added. “But I’m happy about the opportunities I’ve experienced and knowing I’ve left my imprint on the department.”
Department members and Bloomfield’s loved ones celebrated at a reception that followed the ceremony. The WFD also held an internal firematic awards ceremony on Nov. 6 to honor those who have served.