First family of fire

By Chris Strunk
Ark Valley News – February 23, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – April 7, 2017

Click on photo to view full-size.

Larry the first of the three Tormey firefighting brothers to retire

Larry Tormey doesn’t remember when it happened. It was more than a few years ago. But he remembers the story like it happened yesterday.

It was a Sunday morning. It was reported as a house fire on North Dexter.

“I went to the station, and nobody was there, so I took the truck and go to the house,” Tormey said. “Smoke was coming out of the front doors. The kitchen was on fire and I was the only one there with the firetruck. I waited a little bit. Police showed up. We pulled a high-pressure (line), I went in by myself and put the kitchen fire out. Then Corky shows up, ‘What do you want me to do?'”

“I don’t remember that,” said Lonnie Tormey, Larry’s brother and chief of the Valley Center Fire Department.

“You were in Wichita, eating out with them,” Larry responded, pointing to their parents.

Larry Tormey, a third-generation member of Valley Center’s first family of firefighters, retired last week after 41 years of service. He’s the first of what could be a trio of Tormey retirements over the next several years.

“I liked doing it,” Larry said. “If it was just plain volunteer without any money, I would’ve still done it.”

Larry Tormey, 59, was assistant fire chief since 2001. He joined the department in 1976, while also working for Sedgwick County 911 for 30 years. Tormey was a dispatcher for Valley Center for six years until the department folded in 2012.

Tormey also was a part-time police officer in Valley Center from 1977 to 1989, when “I was told I could be a fireman or a police officer, not both.”

“I wanted to be a fireman,” he said.

The department is still filled with the Tormey family.

Lonnie Tormey, 57, has been chief since 2002, taking the reins from his dad, Bob Tormey, who held the position for 30 years. Brother Rob Tormey, 55, is a captain with the department. Larry’s son, Josh, and Lonnie’s son, Chad, are firefighters.

The Tormeys have more than 225 years of combined service to the fire department.

Josh Tormey has been a Valley Center firefighter for nine years and Chad 10.

Lonnie Tormey’s and Rob Tormey’s retirements aren’t too far off.

Rob has been with the department for 38 years, Lonnie for 40.

Their dad, Bob Tormey, was with the department for about 46 years (1956 to 2002).

The department has no immediate plans to fill the assistant chief position. It is waiting on the completion of a public safety study, which started earlier this year. The study is expected to map out structure and personnel and resource needs for the fire and police departments over the next few years.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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