The East Islip Fire Department and Fire News family mourned the loss of ex-Chief and Suffolk County Deputy Fire Coordinator Francis ‘Sid’ Parkan, 96, who answered his last alarm on October 17, 2017.
Sid was the first photographer for the Fire News when the newspaper began in 1973, and was instrumental in guiding the paper through its formative years. Sid’s legendary photos documenting countless fires and events filled the pages of Fire News for decades. Sid covered many major fires and incidents that occurred in Suffolk County, including the Entenmann’s Baker, Patchogue Lace Mill fires, and the Grucci Fireworks explosion. He served as a mentor and teacher to generations of photographers eager to learn photography, and how to develop their own photos.
Sid joined the East Islip Fire Department in 1945 and worked his way up the officer’s ranks, serving as lieutenant and captain in the Rescue Squad and Engine Company 2. He then advanced through the Assistant Chiefs ranks, and was Chief of Department from 1971 to 1974. Sid remained an active member for over 72 years. For the past 40 years, Sid has also been a Suffolk County Deputy Fire Coordinator for Photography, and was a County Fire Warden prior to the establishment of the Coordinator’s program.
Sid had a long career in law enforcement, serving as a Police Officer in the Town of Islip. When the Islip Town Police were merged into the Suffolk County Police Department in 1960, Sid was a Criminal Identification Technician for 30 years before retiring in 1990. Sid was also a proud World War II veteran, serving in the U.S. Army Signal Corps and Medical Corps from 1941 to 1945, and was awarded the Bronze Star.
Sid is survived by his wife Rose, children Frank Jr., Barbara, Bruce and Kevin, six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Services were held at the East Islip firehouse, with interment at the Oakwood Cemetery in Bay Shore.
– Fire News story by Steve Silverman, photos by Dennis Whittam
Fire News will pay tribute to Sid’s photographic career in the February edition.