ShareThis Page

Lincoln Park VFD seeks applicants for live-in program

| Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Fighting fires is a passion for the Snyder family of Penn Hills.

Lincoln Park No. 221 Chief Shawn Snyder is a second-generation Penn Hills firefighter, following in the footsteps of his uncle and father, who is currently a life member of Penn Hills VFD No. 224 in the Point Breeze neighborhood.

Snyder began at his father's company when he was 16, and last week was recognized for a quarter-century of service, serving at No. 224 until 2004 as a lieutenant, assistant chief and chief, and currently at the Lincoln Park station, where he has served as both captain and now chief.

Snyder said the most important lesson he has learned in his 25 years is that there's always another lesson to be learned.

“You want to know your training and continue to do it no matter what,” Snyder said. “Always and forever, because everything is always changing. New things come out, new techniques … products and materials change.”

Over the years, Lincoln Park firefighters have increased staffing as well as the local services they provide to the community, including the station's live-in program, which is currently seeking applicants.

“Other departments in the areas surrounding Penn Hills had been doing it for years,” Snyder said.

“There aren't many, but we started it and it kind of took off and has become a success.”

Snyder said live-ins “pretty much have everything they want: TVs, surround sound, Xbox, a kitchen, weight room, study area.

“It's pretty much a college-dorm-type feel,” he said.

Live-ins are tasked with maintaining a full-size fire station and answering calls. And while the program can be ideal for a college student looking for a break on housing and a leg up on their education, it is not exclusively for those of college age.

Robert Williams, 26, of Pittsburgh's East Liberty neighborhood, has been part of the live-in program for three years. He has previous firefighting experience in McKees Rocks and Washington County.

“We have fun,” said Williams. “There are four guys here regularly and one guy who bunks in on the weekends. It's a really good group of guys, and we get all our work done.”

Williams agreed with his chief on training: it never stops.

“We got a ladder truck recently, and we're doing training every day learning how to use it,” he said. “Also, probably half of our calls are with companies outside of Penn Hills, and we train with other local departments for just that reason.”

There are five members of No. 221's live-in program at present, and the station can accommodate up to eight, Snyder said.

Williams said he loves being a live-in firefighter.

“I get to meet a lot of great people, both inside and outside the department,” he said.

For more information on the live-in program, call Penn Hills VFD No. 221 at 412-241-9285 or email

Patrick Varine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.