Thomas “Pomp” Pomplin, a member of the Empire Hose Company #1 (Piermont Fire Dept.) succumbed to the effects of overheating and exhaustion while combating a fire in 1854 at the age of 28. Although Pomplin served proudly, and was the first Rockland firefighter to perish in action, because he was black Pomplin was never listed as a Line of Duty Death (LODD). Well over a century later, the village is ready to correct that injustice.
Piermont’s Empire Hose Company #1 is raising funds for a memorial for their past member Thomas Pomplin and awareness to recognize his death as the first of its kind in Rockland’s fire service history.
Research conducted by Ex Chief Dan Goswick has shown that his untimely passing was a direct result of his response to a fire in Nyack, but his death was never recorded as a LODD. Piermont Empire Hose Company #1 is working to fix that by getting this hero from our history officially recognized, and building a memorial to his sacrifice that his descendants can visit.
“Based on our research that we have compiled, I believe that Thomas Pomplin should be recognized as the first line of duty death in Rockland County, but because of his skin color, I am sure he was never recognized for his heroic acts,” said Goswick.
The Company organized a GoFundMe campaign to raise between $10,000 and $15,000 to erect a monument that celebrates his heroism to be located in Flywheel Park in Piermont and a headstone at his family plot in The Rockland Cemetery.
As of this week, a little over $2,000 has been donated to the fundraiser. The donation will help honor Pomplin for his ultimate sacrifice and give him the long-overdue recognition he deserves.
Back in September, various local officials including Assemblyman Mike Lawler, State Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, Supervisor Teresa Kenny, Piermont Mayor Bruce Tucker, County Legislator James Foley, and NYACK NAACP President Nikki Hines held a press conference announcing their intention to honor Pomplin.