top of page

Shane Cunningham, First Assistant Chief

White Lake Fire Company
Years in service: 22

Occupation: Sheriff’s Deputy, NYS Department of Corrections


Shane Cunningham’s family can count back four generations of firefighting. There was never a question that he would continue the tradition.

“As a kid I always wanted to do what my grandfather, great-grandfather and uncles did,” he says. 

So as soon as he turned 16 he joined. The first couple of years, he recalls, were frustrating; he had to wait to turn 18 in order to take part in some of the training, plus he was too young to drive himself to calls.

The best training, though, wasn’t through the required courses.

“All the older members would sit around after drills and calls and talk about their experiences,” Cunningham says. “I’d learn from them as much as I could.”

His training, skill and knowledge was put to the ultimate test one day in June 2016. It was a fully engaged structure fire, with entrapment. His best friend from high school was on the call, too - A.J. Washington, a firefighter with the Monticello department  - and together they rescued a man through a second story window.

That, he says, felt great, and he intends to have more days like that. 

Says Cunningham, “I have a duty to protect my family and neighbors for as long as I am able.”

bottom of page