An iconic Utica public servant and longtime fire fighter and Fire Chief for the city of Utica has passed away. Russ Brooks was 75.

Brooks spent some 43 years fighting fires in Utica, and in 2004 became fire chief. He had been battling cancer for several years which was attributed to his time during 911 in lower Manhattan, as well as the fact that he attended so many fire during his career. He also spent his retirement years fighting for fire fighters in their battle with municipalities around the state while attempting to prove that their disease was caused by the toxins they were exposed to while service the public.

Brooks was also a major contributor to several charities including his service as the head of the Utica Food Pantry, and his tireless efforts to help establish the Irish Cultural Center which opened in the Brewery District in 2019.

Utica Fire Chief Russ Brooks, Jeff Monaski, WIBX
Utica Fire Chief Russ Brooks, Jeff Monaski, WIBX

The Central Fire Station on Bleecker Street was dedicated in his name in December by then outgoing Mayor Rob Palmieri. The station is now known as the Chief Russell E. Brooks II Central Fire Station.

Calling hours will be held Sunday from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. at McGrath, Myslinski, Kowalczyk, and Nunn Funeral Home at 470 French Rd. in Utica. His funeral will be held Monday at St. Joseph's and St. Patrick's Church at 11:00 a.m. on Monday.

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