Frank Quigley, left, owner of Windows Plus, a construction company, and  Joe Pascarelli, a house painter, are both retired fireman involved with fire safety education for kids and now plan to write a children’s book about it.

Frank Quigley, left, owner of Windows Plus, a construction company, and Joe Pascarelli, a house painter, are both retired fireman involved with fire safety education for kids and now plan to write a children’s book about it.

One of life’s greatest pleasures for me since I assumed the moniker of The Home Guru more than a dozen years ago has been the great talents and personalities I’ve encountered among the suppliers who service our many needs around the house, both inside and out.

As for me, a self-professed klutz with most things that require any amount of skill or technical expertise, knowing these miracle workers has always been essential to running my household and maintaining my property. I can communicate the expertise of others by writing about it, but I can’t do it.

As I have become friends with my suppliers and learned more about their backgrounds, I have encountered much ingenuity, sometimes sheer genius, and many surprises along the way. Sometimes there have been valuable life lessons learned as well.

For instance, some years ago when I needed to have wallpaper removed from some of my rooms and have them painted, Joe Pascarelli came highly recommended to do the job. Little did I know that he would become part of my life, both personally and professionally.

More famously known as “Fireman Joe,” Pascarelli retired as a Mount Vernon Fire Department lieutenant seven years ago. But 14 years before that, he had experienced a trauma where a young child had been lost in a fire he responded to and, as he put it, “I needed to get help to deal with that.”

As part of his recovery process, he decided to educate young children about fire safety and has been doing that annually at the Van Cortlandtville Elementary School in Mohegan Lake for the past 20 years.

Last week, I met him for lunch with another good buddy of his, Frank Quigley, also a retired fireman who had been with the New York City Fire Department in the Bronx and also involved with teaching children about fire safety.

In his case, Quigley would invite them into the firehouse to see the equipment. When he retired nine years ago, Quigley developed his own construction business called Window Plus. Besides windows, his company covers the gamut of projects from roofing, siding and decks to full additions.

The purpose of our meeting was to discuss our writing a brochure together about fire safety in the home for children with illustrations that Pascarelli could distribute  at his school appearances. The intention would be to expand it into a children’s book and a CD.

As a public service to us all, especially to any young children in your own family or to any children you know, please share the basic outline below.

Fireman Joe’s Safety Tips for Kids

If you smell smoke, don’t HIDE, run OUTSIDE;

Make noise! Shout “Fire!”

If you see a man in strange-looking fireman’s gear, DON’T BE AFRAID. He’s a friend;

Have an established place outside for all family members to meet;

If your clothes catch fire, STOP, DROP and ROLL!

NEVER go back into the house for pets or anything else;

Two “toys” NEVER to play with:  matches and lighters;

Have an EDITH plan with your family (Exit Drill in the House);

Change batteries in smoke detectors when you change clocks.

 To my way of thinking, good guys who are concerned for the safety and education of children are the kind of people with whom I want to work.

To reach Joe Pascarelli for wallpaper removal and painting, inside or out, call 914-330-3889. To reach Frank Quigley for any construction project, big or small, from roofing to an addition to your home, call 914-438-0249.

Postscript: While Pascarelli’s good work was born from the tragedy of the loss of a child, a young girl who attended one of his school presentations was able to save her own life and her entire family when fire struck her home in the middle of the night.

Bill Primavera is a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc., the longest running public relations agency in Westchester (, specializing in lifestyles, real estate and development. His real estate site is: and his blog is: To engage the services of The Home Guru and his team to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.

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