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Former Manchester Fire Chief Joseph Kane dies

Union Leader staff
October 03. 2016 9:51AM
Joseph Kane, left, former Manchester fire chief, is congratulated at his January 2008 retirement dinner by Peter Franggos. (UNION LEADER FILE)

MANCHESTER — Former Fire Chief Joseph Kane has died, the fire department announced Monday.

Chief Daniel Goonan said he heard from Kane’s family Monday morning that the former chief had died Sunday night. He was 67. Kane started with the fire department in 1971.

He became chief in 1994 and held the position until his retirement at the end of 2007.

“I spent a lot of my career working under Chief Kane. I just knew him as a really good man — a very nice guy and well respected,” Goonan said.

Goonan said Kane remained close with the department after his retirement.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time,” the fire department posted.

A New Hampshire Union Leader article published in November 2007 noted that he was a second-generation firefighter, expert skier and avid sailor.

“I’ve got to thank my family for their support,” Kane said at the time, adding that his wife, Nancy, like all firefighter spouses, has had to endure many nights disrupted by emergency calls.

He began at Engine 10, quickly moved on to the Fire Prevention Bureau, and in 1983 was named its chief officer. He made deputy chief in 1990 before being tapped to replace Robert DeCotis.

He told the Union Leader that in rescue work, the most vivid memories are often unpleasant.

“The ones that involve children and children’s deaths stand out,” Kane said. “It’s such a tragedy.”

Arson investigations played a significant role in Kane’s career.

According to the 2007 Union Leader article, for years he was the department’s unofficial crime scene photographer, even shooting crowds outside fires in hopes of catching a fire bug admiring his work.

“You don’t see the fire deaths that you used to see when I first came on the job,” Kane told the Union Leader in 2007. “Smoke detectors were nonexistent. They’re part of our culture now.”

Kane told the Union Leader in 2007 that he planned to head straight for Loon Mountain following his retirement, where for 30 years he worked part-time on the ski patrol and as an instructor.

“That’s what I’m going to be doing starting off,” he said: “I’ll be sailing during the summers.”

Calling hours are Friday 4 to 8 p.m. at the Connor-Healy Funeral Home, 537 Union St., Manchester.

There will be a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Joseph’s Cathedral at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

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