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Gladwyne Fire Company Chief Comes from a Long Line of Firefighters

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Blaine Leis, Gladwyne

Chief, Gladwyne Fire Company

Celebrating the Gladwyne Fire Company’s 70th anniversary is a family affair for Blaine Leis. He’s the department’s current chief; his uncles were firefighters with the company; and his grandfather served as chief in the 1950s and ’60s. 

Most frequent emergency calls: “Our specialty is water rescue, and we respond to calls from all over Lower Merion Township. We just achieved state certification, so now we’ll be deployed to emergencies throughout Pennsylvania.” 

What water rescues entail: “Anything from a vehicle submerged in the Schuylkill River to situations resulting from flooding of Mill Creek during heavy rain. When people think that they can drive through a ‘puddle,’ we’re the ones who come fish them out.” 

Gladwyne’s fire department is composed of: Three full-time paid employees supplemented by volunteers, one of whom is Leis.

Age he joined: 16. 

Coolest event on the Main Line: Clover Market.

Favorite local restaurant: The Old Guard House Inn in Gladwyne.

Best place for a date: Mountain biking in Valley Forge National Historical Park. 

Favorite outdoor spot: Margaret W. Braum Memorial Hill. “It’s the best place to sled in Lower Merion Township.” 

Last thing he ate that he loved: Molasses cookies from The Bakery House in Bryn Mawr. 

Gladwyne’s best-kept secret: Cleopetra’s Grooming on Youngsford Road.  Worst traffic spots in Lower Merion: Wawa and Whole Foods [4], both in Ardmore. “But the Whole Foods is getting completely renovated and expanded, so maybe we’ll get fewer calls to accidents there.”

If he had to live somewhere else, it would be: “I’ve lived in Gladwyne my whole life, and I have no intention of leaving.”