Baptism by Fire
Lindo and Schonely take over new roles
By Dan Murphy
It was literally a baptism by fire for Kaunakakai’s new Third Watch Captain Henry Lindo. Lindo’s second day on the job was Aug. 29 – the same day the recent brushfire started to work its way across the island. He is one of two on the Molokai Fire Department to receive recent promotions.
“I actually enjoyed it,” Lindo said. “As an inspector we were always part of the command post during major incidents. I was able to learn a lot from watching captains during that time.”
Lindo has been a fire inspector for the past four years on Maui. Thirteen of his 15 years as a member of the fire department have been spent across the Pailolo Channel, but Lindo said he is happy to be on Molokai.
“I’m very happy – it’s just the lifestyle and there’s no traffic. It’s a good place to be,” he said.
Molokai local Rick Schonely was also promoted and will take over Lindo’s vacated Fire Inspector position. Schonely, who served 22 years at the Pukoo Fire Station, said he is also enjoying his new role.
“I was on the line for many years fighting fires, doing medicals, rescues, etc. Now I’m out to pasture as you could say as an inspector and I love my job,” he said. “It lets me raise my son and sleep in my own bed every night.”
When Schonely is not fighting fires, he also plays in Molokai’s famous Six Pak band. He said that the rest of the band was happy to hear his schedule would be a bit more regular now.
As fire inspector, Schonely said his job is to help the community be as safe and prepared for a fire as possible. He hopes that during his time as inspector he can get the community to work with him to help fight fires.
“The community can be a firefighter too,” Schonely said. “We clean around our house, make sure our brush is down, practice an evacuation plan and all that kind of stuff. Everyone is on the front line of saving lives and keeping our property and our island safe.”
Lindo said he was confident that his replacement’s local background will allow him to do a good job in keeping the community safe.
“I think he’s going to do great,” Lindo said. “What better person to do the job than someone who knows the people well and knows the island.”
Lindo and Schonely had to skip the honeymoon on their new promotions thanks to the late August fire, but both men passed the first test in their new positions with flying colors.