February 05. 2013 9:00PM

Logger who died in accident, a fire captain, made honorary Stoddard fire chief

Union Leader Correspondent

STODDARD - A Stoddard native, firefighter and logger who died in a logging accident Monday has been made an honorary fire chief.

Fire Capt. Shannon Sarcione's dream was to become a fire chief, Fire Chief P.J. Lamothe said Tuesday.

"Nice young man. I had the liberty of watching him grow up, becoming a man and raising a son who's 11 years old now," she said. "It's a devastating loss to his family, the firefighters in the department and the community."

Sarcione, 39, was raised in Stoddard by his parents Joseph and Bonnie Sarcione. He worked for his family logging and landscaping business, J & F Cord Wood LLC.

Sarcione and another man were cutting down trees Monday afternoon in an area off School Street. One of them had cut a notch in the tree, preparing to fell it after clearing some limbs nearby, said State Police Sgt. Phillip Gaiser.

Gaiser said high winds likely knocked over the tree before the loggers were ready to take it down. The other man was not injured and did not see the tree fall on Sarcione.

Sarcione was pronounced dead at the scene.

His father, Joseph Sarcione, is the department's deputy chief and has been a Stoddard firefighter for 35 years.

Lamothe, who has been in the department for 34 years, said Shannon Sarcione joined the town fire department at 19. He was a single dad and primary caregiver for his 11-year-old son.

"He loved being a father. He's very proud of his son," Lamothe said.

He also had just moved in with his girlfriend, who has a daughter.

"They were just starting a new life," she said.

In 2010, Sarcione along with the other members of the Stoddard Fire & Rescue team were awarded the 2010 Lawrence A. Volz Emergency Medical Service Heroism Award by N.H. Emergency Medical Service Committee of Merit for an Aug. 8, 2009, rescue of a Stoddard resident who was caught in the spillway on the Highland Lake Dam and clinging onto a cable.

Sarcione, as the operator of the rescue boat, played a vital role in the rescue, Lamothe said.

"The water levels were really high, and the currents were very strong, and we didn't have a lot of room. The crew of the boat could have gone over the dam themselves, so it was a very risky maneuver that they did," she said.

Lamothe said she was approached by another member of the fire department Tuesday and asked if Sarcione could be made an honorary chief. She thought it was a good idea so she made it so.

"He's a giver; he gives of himself to people; to people of the community and members of the department," she said of Sarcione. "You can call him up when you have a problem, and he drops everything and comes and helps you."

A memorial service for Sarcione is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday at James Faulkner Elementary School in Stoddard, she said.