He may be a part-time Islander, but since the onset of the COVID pandemic, Warren Baker has spent most of his time in town and contributed much of that time to responding to calls for the fire police.
Fire police are crews that provide security at the scene of an emergency, insuring traffic doesn’t disrupt firefighters responding to a blaze. They not only keep roads clear for firetrucks, but assist with ladders and hoses.
Mr. Baker recalls one call at the Town Recycling Center when hoses had to be run from the bay at the end of Daniel Lord Road to fight the fire and then he and his fellow fire police had to coordinate traffic along the roadway until the blaze was out.
How many times has Mr. Baker answered the call this year? He’s not sure, but knows when the alarm sounds, no matter the hour, he responds. It’s why he was honored Oct. 16 by the Fire Department that named him Top Fire Police Responder of the Year. It’s not his first honor. In 2015, he was named Firefighter of the Year.
He gives credit to his fellow fire police members and the entire department, which he describes as “spectacular guys. I’m just proud to be part of the organization.”
Many Islanders may know him from his visits to post numbers so their houses can be located in case of an emergency.
Will Anderson, when he was chief, first encouraged Mr. Baker to join the Fire Department a few years before the latter was honored as Firefighter of the Year. “Whatever you ask him to do, he’s there,” Mr. Anderson said in 2015.
Besides his work at fire sites, he quickly became known as a man who could bring money to the department. Thanks to his efforts, he was able to get Kidde Technology in North Carolina to provide free CO-smoke detector units that have been distributed to residents in need of the life-saving devices. The department qualified for 100 units under the Kidde program, according to Angela Killough, a company outreach specialist who worked with Mr. Baker to arrange the shipments.
At the same time Mr. Baker became a firefighter, he also joined the fire police and became department treasurer.
His mission in joining the department was to give back to the community he and his wife Sally Jacobs call home. She introduced her husband to Shelter Island more than 30 years ago and the two became co-chairs of TheaterWorks USA, a nonprofit introducing children to live theater. She was a theatrical stage manager in New York City for many years.
Mr. Baker’s family remains the most important part of his life, he said.