Former fire chief’s legacy honored in Susquehanna County

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SUSQUEHANNA, SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) The community of Susquehanna in Susquehanna County came together today in-person and online to honor the memory of a long-time community leader.

Family and fellow firefighters came together today to say goodbye to Leslie Schell, the former chief of the Susquehanna Fire Department. Schell passed away on April 28th at the age of 92.

His fellow firemen remember him as a great leader and a great mentor. Schell was also the former mayor and a World War II veteran.

“Probably he was one of the prime examples that moved to to where I got today,” said Jack Rood, a firefighter.

“No matter who you were, what your position was or anything else, he was just there for you all the time,” said Bill Mazikewich, Vice President of the Susquehanna Fire Department.

The Susquehanna Fire Department honored Schell with a procession of fire trucks to the cemetery where he was laid to rest.

Erika Bowser, Schell’s daughter, lives in State College and could not make it to the funeral due to restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She says she’s grateful for members of the fire department who streamed the event through Facebook live.

“I’m amazed really at just the fact that we could put this in a format that people—we had people from 14 states—to say goodbye. And actually the funeral home to make sure we could see dad to say goodbye was so special,” said Erika Bowser.

Schell served as a fireman for 71 years. Bowser says one of the most prominent memories she has of her father is hearing the fire phone ring and the fire department scanner when she was little.

“Knowing every time it went off he was gone and he was running into the face for somebody who needed help,” said Erika Bowser.

Schell answered emergency calls until he was 76, but even after, friends say he still visited the fire department. A truck was dedicated in his name.

“He’s just going to be truly missed in this town. And you know personally I’ll miss him,” said Bill Mazikewich.

Schell was also the first chief of the Susquehanna Fire Department after it was created by the merging of the Erie Hose Company and Chemical Engine Company in 1978.

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