Grand Island Fire Company News 2007

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Firematic Officers 2007: Fire Chief Gregory J. Butcher; Deputy Chief Kevin M. Koch; 1st Assistant Chief Matthew Osinski; 2nd Assistant Chief Christopher Soluri; Captains John Wenner, Scott Duscher and Dave DiSanto; EMS Captain Robert Cleveland, EMS Captain (appointed) Jeremy Pullano; Day Captain Paul D. Gorman; and Fire Police Captain Donald Portik.

Administrative Officers 2007: President Mike Braun, Vice President Jeremy Pullano, Secretary Laurie Berry, Treasurer Reed Wright, Sgt.-at-Arms Dave Khreis, Financial Secretary Tammy Jo Gorman, Line Secretary David W. Cole.

Board of Directors: Chairman Michael P. Dallessandro, Vice Chairman Kevin M. Rustowicz, Secretary Raymond Pauley, Paul D. Gorman, Mark T. Kowzan, Steven M. Stouter, David C. Tolejko.

Island Kitchen Fire Causes Minimal Damage - 2007
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island firefighters responded shortly after 12 noon on Friday, December 21, 2007 to a reported "kitchen fire" at the Town Hall Terrace apartment complex, according to Chief Greg Butcher.
   Arriving firefighters encountered a smoky interior, although the occupant of the basement apartment had managed to extinguish the grease fire just minutes earlier, stated Chief Butcher.
   Fire and smoke damage to the stove (hood) and cupboard area amounted to approximately $2500.00.
   Thermo-spy equipment confirmed that there was no unseen fire extension to adjoining living areas, and a general evacuation proved to be unnecessary, Butcher noted.
   All GIFC units returned in service at 12:24 p.m.

Weather Related Emergencies On The Rise For Island Firefighters - 2007
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Fire Chief Greg Butcher reports that wintry weather conditions have noticeably increased the recent workload for GIFC firefighters, as well as many other emergency responders.
   A sudden snow storm during the early morning hours of December 13th contributed to a series of MVAs on the I-190. Kristin Tourot, 18, of Mexico, NY was treated for upper body injuries and hospitalized for further medical attention, after losing control of her vehicle which reportedly left the roadway and rolled over several times. Shortly thereafter, Paula Nuchereno, 20, of Grand Island was evaluated but declined hospitalization, after being involved in a two-car MVA. At least two additional PDOs (property damage only) occurred within a 15-minute period.
   Subsequently, at approximately 2:30 p.m. on December 16th, a 16-year-old Grand Island youth fell off a roof on Havenwood Lane and was treated for a lower back injury prior to her hospitalization.
   Three hours later at 5:31 p.m. a 13-year-old babysitter and two children, ages 4 and 7, were evaluated for CO exposure at an Enola Road residence. The home was found to contain dangerous CO gas levels of approximately 200 PPM, and the affected occupants were released to parental care with appropriate medical advisories.
   Shortly before 7 p.m. on the same date, a 33-year-old snowmobile operator, Kevin Dudek of Sanborn, NY was treated by GIFC paramedics for a lower leg injury, sustained when his vehicle accidentally rolled over it on West River Parkway near Long Road. He was transported to ECMC for additional medical attention.
   Finally at 11:01 p.m., GIFC rescue personnel responded to a snowblower accident on Island Park Circle where David Lundy, 47, was treated by GIFC medics for a traumatic hand injury and transported to ECMC.
   Chief Butcher points out that cold weather hazards may become life threatening if ignored. CO incidents are particularly prevalent due to household heating requirements. However, CO detectors can alert occupants to the presence of this "silent killer" before dangerous accumulations occur.
   Extra special safety precautions must also be used when driving, using snow clearing equipment, or performing other weather related tasks, he stressed.

Butcher Returns For 6th Term As Island Fire Chief - 2007
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Greg Butcher will commence his sixth term as fire chief, after running unopposed in 2008 GIFC elections held on December 5th.
   Butcher will be joined by Deputy Chief Kevin Koch; 1st Assistant Chief Matt Osinski; 2nd Assistant Chief Chris Soluri; Fire Captains John Wenner, Aaron Berry, Mark Sadkowski; Day Captain Paul Gorman; Fire Police Captain Don Portik, and EMS Captains Bob Cleveland and Jeremy Pullano.
   President Mike Braun will be assisted by Vice President Jeremy Pullano, Recording Secretary Laurie Berry, Line Secretary Dave Cole, Sgt.-at-Arms Dave Khreis. Laurie Berry joins the Board of Review, and Lou D'Orazio and Norm Mrkall will continue to hold their positions as Benevolent Association trustees.
   Steve Stouter was returned to another three-year term on the Board of Directors and Don Portik was elected to his first term as a Director.
   Several delegate positions were also filled.
   "Congratulations to these 'volunteers' who will assume critical leadership positions for 2008."

Upsurge In Island MVAs Leads To Fatality - 2007

Robinson vehicle after horrendous impact with roadside tree.
By Ray Pauley
Click photo for larger view

   Grand Island Fire Chief Greg Butcher has voiced his concern over several recent MVAs, which have resulted in serious injury as well as one fatality.
   GIFC Rescue Personnel responded at 5:42 p.m. Tuesday, November 13, 2007 to a motorcycle versus deer accident on Baseline Road near the Sidway Elementary School. James LeFauve, 54, of Grand Island, was treated by GIFC paramedics for upper body injuries, after he struck and killed a deer running across the road. He was stabilized and transported to Millard Fillmore Gates for follow-up medical attention. A few days later he jokingly commented that he hardly ever encounters deer when hunting and hopes that he never again faces such a harrowing experience. He personally thanked GIFC responders for their speedy arrival on scene and the exceptional care that he received. He also agreed with fire officials that he was extremely fortunate that he did not sustain injuries of a more critical nature, although they were serious enough.
   Subsequently, at approximately 3:30 a.m. on Monday, November 19, 2007, a resident reported a "loud crash" in the vicinity of West River and Long roads. When GIFC responders arrived on location, a wrecked vehicle was found off the roadway, but a search of the area uncovered no sign of the driver.
   About three hours later, GIFC Rescue Personnel were again called out for another MVA occurring in the 2400 block of Staley Road. Joseph Robinson, 40, of Grand Island, reportedly lost control of his vehicle and hit a tree while on the his way to work at Invitrogen Inc. He was extricated from the wreckage and received ALS treatment by GIFC medics for severe upper body trauma. He was then transported to Erie County Medical Center but did not recover from his injuries.
   Finally, at a little past 7 p.m. on November 19th, GIFC Rescue Personnel responded to a report of "a pedestrian struck by a car" on the Stony Point extension near East River Road. A 59-year-old Grand island resident was evaluated but did not appear to be an accident victim and was referred to another agency.
   Chief Butcher points out that drivers must be especially cautious at this time of year when hunting is in full swing and wild animals are unusually skittish and dart into roadways unexpectedly. Road conditions are also starting to deteriorate due to sudden changes in weather which requires drivers to use sensible preventative driving skills, he stressed.

Driver Injured In Two-Car Collision - 2007

One of wrecked vehicles came to a stop just inches short of a roadside utility pole.
By Ray Pauley
Click photo for larger view

   Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a two-car MVA shortly after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 24, 2007 in front of the Family Express Mart service station on Grand Island Blvd.
   Joy Killian, 46, of Grand Island was treated by GIFC paramedics for injuries to the lower extremities, stabilized, and transported to Millard Fillmore Gates Hospital for follow-up medical attention, according to Chief Greg Butcher. The other driver, David Runckel, 35, also of Grand Island, denied injuries.
   All GIFC units returned in service at 3:59 p.m. according to Chief Butcher.

Driver Injured In One Car MVA - 2007

Vehicle showing severe front end damage, after it was returned to an upright position at the scene.
By Ray Pauley
Photo by Assistant Chief Chris Soluri - click for larger view

   GIFC Rescue personnel responded to a vehicle rollover on Grand Island Blvd. near the entrance to KOA Campgrounds at 3:13 a.m. Sunday, October 21, 2007
   Michael Dlugokinski, 19, of Grand Island was found trapped in his vehicle, which had flipped over after he reportedly lost control, veered off the roadway and hit a drainage ditch culvert, according to GIFC Deputy Chief Kevin Koch. He was successfully extricated with the assistance of Erie County Sheriff's Department Deputies, stabilized, and transported to ECMC for further medical attention.
   All GIFC units returned in service at 4:19 p.m. according to Deputy Chief Koch.

Fire Prevention School Visits & Open House Are Big Hits - 2007
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

Left photo: Ashley Gorman shows Anna and Dominic Pullano a Border Patrol copter
Right photo: Ashley Young enjoys her 'up close & personal' encounter with Sparky

Right photo: F. F. John Brenon assists Cydney Fairbain with 'live' hose practice
Left photo: Dispatcher Rose Krause explains 911 communications procedures to Mrs. Taylor's Sidway School Class

Right photo: Justin Palamuso shows Past Chief Ray Pauley that he can be a fire engine driver for a day
Left photo: GIFC Cadets Don Turner, Ryan Ayers and Paul Dhand sign fire safety checklists for participating youngsters

'Jaws of Life' extrication team removes door from auto damaged in simulated MVA

   Over 2000 school students and Open House visitors received fire safety tips, hazard identification, 'hands on' firefighting experience, and equipment demos during the past week, according to GIFC Chief Greg Butcher.
   Program highlights included a momentous flag raising ceremony by a Sheridan Park VFD ladder truck and GIFC's new Crimson ladder truck, a 'Jaws of Life' vehicle extrication demo, hose practice for kids, equipment displays by several agencies, including the Border Patrol helicopter, Erie County Haz Mat team and Command Center, New York State Police, Grand Island Police, Niagara County Sheriff's Canine Unit, Ellicott Creek VFD Dive Team, Twin City Ambulance, Grand Island CERT Team, Pizza Hut Safety Team, and the highly popular fire engine ride to school raffle.
   Program coordinator Chris Soluri has arranged for lucky winners of the ride raffle to arrive at their respective schools in "big red fire trucks" during the week of October 15-19.
   In addition, Al Blant of the Niagara Hobby Shop, Jennifer Selapack of McDonald's Restaurant of Grand Island, and Ray Pauley of the GIFC all received special commendations for their past and present contributions to the annual fire prevention program.
   The Grand Island Fire Company extends a heartfelt thank you to the many 'volunteers' who made this year's program such a tremendous success!

Fire Prevention Wrap-up - 2007

Left photo: Firefighter Raymond Pauley receives a plaque from Fire Chief Greg Butcher for his years of service
Right photo: Jennifer Selapack, McDonald's Restaurant representative, receives plaque from Chief Butcher

Left photo: Al Plant of Niagara Hobby Craft Mart receives plaque from Chief Butcher
Right Photo: Jenna and Spencer Hecht enjoying their visit to Fire Headquarters on Friday night, October 12, 2007
Mary Stewart Photos - Click for larger view

Kim Cich photo - Click for larger view

   The Grand Island Fire Company hosted its annual Fire Prevention Open House on Friday, October 12 and at the same time honored one of its own. Ray Pauley was presented a plaque in recognition of his 44 years of service with GIFC, his dedication to the community with fire prevention education, and his continued involvement in filling the position of public information officer, keeping the residence informed.
   Also recognized by the Fire Company for their contributions to the success of the Company's fire prevention program were Jennifer Selapack (McDonald's Restaurant) and Al Plant (Niagara Hobby Craft Mart, Cheektowaga)
   The following are the winners of a ride to school on a fire engine.

Sidway School                  Huth Road School			
Lauren Merletti 		Ian Hardison 			
Natalie Turck 			Olivia Tuck			
Olivia Ruiz 			Brandon Weissman 		
Justin Gorrell			Jordan Cooke
Caitlin Kleinschmidt		Victoria Botticello
Madeline Mesmer			David Bauman

Kaegebein School		St. Stephen
Melissa Ullrich			Alex Nemeth
Conner Hutton			Ronald Loss
Savanna Stoddard		William Frank
Tom Muscoreil			Justin Wohlfehrt
Brian Brennan			Victor Freeman
Rajveer Dhaliwall		Jenna Bruno

FirefighersTo Bring Edith To Island Schools - 2007
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   GIFC firefighters will commence fire prevention visits to Island elementary schools on October 8th, in order to promote life saving messages, which will include EDITH (Exit Drills In The Home), according to Chief Greg Butcher.
   Program Coordinator Chris Soluri notes that early exposure to such safety tips can produce invaluable dividends in the future, when a child faces a real emergency situation and knows what to do. Fire prevention team leader Joe Torregrossa will conduct an interactive power point presentation which includes riveting stories by real life fire victims. Use of fire extinguishers, etc. will also present a special "hands on" challenge to student volunteers.
   Fire safety checklists will be distributed to all students for completion and subsequent (signature) validation by a GIFC firefighter during the October 12th open house at Fire Headquarters, 2275 Baseline Road. McDonalds Restaurant of Grand Island will exchange these signed checklists for a free food item as they have done in the past.
   Students will be reminded to bring family and friends to share in the many open house activities from 5 p.m to 8 p.m. on October 12th. Don't miss this golden opportunity to meet with your GIFC firefighters and all their specialized equipment.

'Sparky' & 'Pluggie' Ready For your October 12th Visit - 2007
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Fire Chief Greg Butcher reminds all Islanders that 'Sparky' the fire dog and 'Pluggie' the fire hydrant are anxious to greet visitors at the October 12th Fire Prevention Open House at GIFC headquarters, 2275 Baseline Road.
   This event will take place from 5 p.m to 8 p.m. according to Assistant Chief Chris Soluri, who has invited many agencies to contribute to the firefighting and lifesaving equipment which will be on display. "Live" fire exercises, "Jaws of Life" vehicle extrication, hose practice for youngsters, etc. will add to the thrilling atmosphere of simulated emergencies.
   Soluri has also coordinated school visits by teams of GIFC firefighters, who will conduct challenging fire safety programs from October 5th through 12th. Students will also participate in a unique drawing for a chance to ride to school in a real fire truck, instead of their familiar yellow buses. He noted that six winners will be chosen from the following schools: St. Stephen, Huth Road, Kaegebein, and Sidway elementary. He described this event as the highlight of the entire program "year after year."
   The GIFC Ladies Auxiliary will also conduct their popular hot dog cookout at a minimal charge, for those who bring their appetites.
   Don't forget to set aside some quality time for Friday, October 12th, to meet your GIFC firefighters and all their friends.

Island Fire Company Hosts Unique 'Blended Learning' Program - 2007

1) F.F. Brilhard (left) awaits Certificate presentation from GIFC Chief Butcher (right)
2) Town Supervisor urges grads to be all that they can be
3) State Fire Instructor Mark Butler thanks all those whose joint efforts brought this course to fruition
Story and Photos By Ray Pauley - Click photos for larger view.

   NYS Fire Instructor Mark Butler praised the hard work of fifteen WNY firefighters who successfully completed Erie County Firefighter I training and received graduation certificates at Grand Island Fire Headquarters on August 23, 2007. He emphasized that GIFC Assistant Chief Matt Osinski and a host of other outstanding instructors made this conclusion a reality by providing step by step expert guidance to this fine group of individuals.
   Chief Thomas Wutz of the NYS Office of Fire Prevention & Control explained that this comprehensive course covered 60 hours of 'blended learning,' which combined ground experience. He stressed that this innovative pilot program, hosted by the GIFC, is intended to produce highly proficient emergency responders "so that everyone can come home safely at the end of the day."
   GIFC Chief Greg Butcher proudly presented graduation certificates to Allana Brilhart, Jacob Olszewski, Sergio Buriano, Leigh Shelton, and Patrick O'Connor. Charles Picone was an absent graduate. Other graduates are as follows: John Wilson of Angola Fire Company; Linda Marie Piesczynski, Michael Piesczynski, Jason Boye, Anthony Snyder, and James Rose of Sloan Active Hose Company; Nathan Work and Charles Ferguson of Clarence Fire Company; and William Mendola of Seneca Hose Company #1.
   Peter McMahon, Grand Island Town Supervisor and a past chief of the GIFC, noted the personal sacrifices made by all fire service volunteers "who want to be the best that they can be" in serving their communities.
   Donald Fischer, Deputy Chief of OFPC, echoed these sentiments when he stressed that "the bottom line is that firefighters work for each and every member of the community, and are accountable as such."
   State Instructor Butler summed up this momentous occasion by reminding these graduates that "it is not only a privilege to serve your community, but a solemn trust and obligation" that you are now better prepared to meet. And finally, "never forget that the lives of those you serve and those of your fellow firefighters depend on you."

Isle Firefighters Assist With Missing Person Search - 2007

Parking area where victim's car was found prior to discovery of his body in nearby wooded area
Click photo for larger view
Story and Photo By Ray Pauley

   Grand Island firefighters responded at 1:39 p.m. Saturday, August 18, 2007 to a request for assistance from the Erie County Sheriff's Dept. which was seeking the whereabouts of Christopher Wozniak, 27, of Grand Island who was reported missing by family members.
   Assistant Chief Chris Soluri reported that the GIFC activated its Special Operations Unit ATVs when Wozniak's vehicle was located in the parking area for the Bush/Ferry roads snowmobile trail. He noted that search parties were hampered by thick, almost impenetrable brush which limited vision to a few feet beyond trails and deer paths which crisscrossed the area. Finally, after repeated probing of the entire search area between East River, Beaver Island Parkway, Bush and Ferry roads, the deceased victim was located on the ground by New York State Park Police officers, and GIFC units returned in service at 5:28 p.m.

Fire Company "PSAP' Saving Lives and Property - 2007

GIFC Communications Supervisor Steve Morgan explains the "nuts and bolts" of dispatching to Sidway students during a Fire Prevention visit
Click photo for larger view
Story and Photo By Ray Pauley

   Before Glenn Cobb sustained a near fatal cardiac arrest a few years back, he never knew what a 'PSAP' meant, but was glad that the Grand Island Fire Company had one because it helped save his life. This 'PSAP' or Public Safety Answering Point simply means that the GIFC has its own 911 Dispatch Center, which virtually eliminates unnecessary delay in a life threatening emergency. Consequently, help was on the way within a few minutes after his sudden collapse. Prompt and effective resuscitation by well trained GIFC personnel prevented irreversible heart damage according to attending emergency room physicians. Glenn describes himself as "living proof" that this 'PSAP' system works well for those who find themselves in need of such timely intervention.
   Fire Chief Greg Butcher and Town Supervisor Pete McMahon agree that when minutes count, your 911 call for help can best be handled by local (GIFC) EMD dispatchers, who immediately alert firefighters, EMTs and/or Medics, through pagers and home radios, thereby maximizing response time. There is no question that lives and property have been saved because of this 'PSAP' operation which assures a critical "head start" in just about every emergency situation, they stressed.
   Likewise, quick action in police emergencies is enhanced by GIFC 'PSAP' dispatching. A recent Grand Island shooting incident demonstrated once again the invaluable contribution of dispatching expertise, which assured a quick response by Erie County Sheriff's Deputies, as well as Fire and EMS personnel. As a result, Sheriff Tim Howard believes that "heroic" action by an on scene Deputy probably saved the life of the 26-year-old victim, who survived her injuries.
   As long as the GIFC 'PSAP' dispatch center continues to "lead the way" for our fire and police professionals, these exceptional accomplishments will benefit the entire community, was the resounding consensus.

Island Firefighters Assist Erie Co. Sheriff's Dept. - 2007
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island firefighters and medics responded at 10:07 pm. Wednesday, July 25, 2007 to a request for assistance from the Erie County Sheriff's Department because of a "police emergency," according to Fire Chief Greg Butcher.
   Shortly thereafter, Tammi Trottnow, 26, of Grand Island, was treated for bodily trauma by GIFC medics and transported to ECMC for further medical attention. Meanwhile, fire and police personnel had to be kept at a safe distance from the Crescent Road location until the arrival of the ECSD Bomb Squad, which had to determine the potential life hazard of suspected explosive devices found nearby.
   During the interim, Grand Island firefighters provided essential supportive resources such as scene lighting and related equipment. GI Fire Police also assisted with crime scene barrier taping for security purposes as well as crowd control. A GIFC rescue unit also provided rehab liquids for all personnel involved.
   Chief Butcher confirmed that when explosive hazards were eliminated, all GIFC units returned in service and the incident was turned over to the ECSD at 2:05 a.m.

Astellas Corp. Fire Causes $40,000 Damage - 2007
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island firefighters responded to a reported "roof fire" at 4:25 a.m. Thursday, July 12th at Astellas Pharma Corp. plant (formerly Fujisawa) at 3125 Staley Road.
   GIFC Chief Greg Butcher reports that Engines 2, 3, Ladder 6, and Rescue 7-1 responded to the scene of a roof fire on the generator building, which is separate from the main production plant. The fire started near a rooftop exhaust vent which apparently became overheated and ignited 4" insulating foam and a roof membrane which covered metal decking. Fire suppression crews using 1 3/4" lines extinguished the blaze after 'peeling' back the roofing material, which was followed by a lengthy overhaul process.
   Meanwhile, a FAST team from the Sheridan Park VFD responded and remained on location as a safety precaution for the duration of firefighting operations.
   Damage estimated at $40,000 was limited to the roof area and did not penetrate the building's interior, according to Chief Butcher.
   Tim Call, Director of Manufacturing Operations, confirmed that the generators were last tested on July 11th, during a two-week plant shutdown, but nothing unusual was noticed at that time.
   Chief Butcher notes that all GIFC units returned in service by 6:25 a.m.

Fire Chief Reports Additional Post Holiday MVAs - 2007
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island Fire Chief Greg Butcher reports two additional personal injury MVAs, which occurred within two days of the July 4th holiday. Motor vehicle related incidents now total ten during a thirteen-day period from June 24th through July 6th.
   One of the most recent involved a two-car collision at East River and Fix roads, which was received by the GIFC shortly after 9 p.m. July 5th. The force of impact flipped one vehicle over onto its side according to Chief Butcher. The driver, a 16-year-old Grand Island youth, escaped to safety by climbing out a window, prior to the arrival of firefighter/medics. Despite the potential for life threatening injuries, he refused aid and was released to the care of a parent. Occupants of the other vehicle, Alan Pearson, 52, and Joshua Pearson, 20, of Youngtown, NY also declined treatment and/or hospitalization.
   the very next day, at 3:30 p.m., GIFC Rescue Personnel received a report of a two-car MVA in front of the NOCO Service Station on Grand Island Blvd. One driver, Aubrey Bellesof, 21, of Grand Island, was treated by GIFC paramedics for upper body trauma and was hospitalized for additional medical attention. A 14-year-old passenger denied injuries. Darcy Bryan, 22, of Grand Island was also treated for upper body trauma and transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital. A 14-month-old child in a car seat appeared to have escaped injury, according to Chief Butcher.

Fire Chief Reports No Letup In Island MVAs - 2007
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island Fire Chief Greg Butcher reports that a "disturbing" trend of MVAs has continued right up to July 3rd, when GIFC firefighter-medics responded to two additional incidents.
   The first MVA at 11:41 a.m. involved a "rear end" collision at Baseline and Whitehaven roads. Leo Nowicki, 83, of Niagara Falls and Elizabeth Turner, 80, of Grand Island denied injuries and refused hospitalization.
   Subsequently, at 5:24 p.m. the same day, a driver from Bartlett, Illinois lost control of an SUV on the Whitehaven Road entrance ramp to the northbound I-190 and knocked down a light pole. Three adults and four children under the ages of 11 years, were evaluated by GIFC firefighter-medics, but declined hospitalization, according to Assistant Chief Matt Osinski.

Island Youth Injured In Beaver Park MVA - 2007

Heavily damaged Malibu vehicle at the scene of Beaver Park MVA
Greg Butcher Photos - Click for larger view
By Ray Pauley

   Grand Island Fire Company Rescue Personnel, shortly before 7 p.m. Sunday, July 1, 2007, responded to a report of a car crashing into a tree a short distance inside the entrance to Beaver Island State Park.
   GIFC Chief Greg Butcher confirmed that Josh Green, 21, of Grand Island apparently lost control of his vehicle when exiting the park and was trapped in it after colliding with a roadside tree which was broken in half from the tremendous impact. An extrication team using the 'Jaws of Life' tool, removed the roof of the auto to free him from the wreckage so that he could be treated by GIFC medics for severe upper body trauma. He was then transported by Mercy Flight to the ECMC for further medical attention.
   Chief Butcher noted that Green was the tenth person hospitalized within the last eight days as the result of MVA incidents.

Island Fire Officials Concerned Over Upsurge In MVAs - 2007

Vehicles involved in MVA at Baseline and Fix roads (Sam Pauley photos - click for larger view)

Beaver Island Parkway MVA - Chief Greg Butcher photos
Click photos for larger view
By Ray Pauley

   Grand Island Fire Chief Greg Butcher has voiced his concern over escalating motor vehicle related incidents which have led to the hospitalization of nine persons over the past three days. If this trend continues, it will be a rough summer for firefighter-medics and residents alike, he noted.
   The initial MVA occurred shortly before 1 a.m. on Sunday, June 24th, when Michael Judson, 24, of Grand Island, reportedly lost control of his vehicle, which left the roadway and struck a tree at Beaver Island Parkway and Broadway. Judson and his passenger, Chad Cowell, 23, of the City of Tonawanda, were extricated from the wreckage and treated by GIFC paramedics for upper body trauma. Judson was transported to ECMC by ambulance, and Cowell to the same facility by Mercy Flight.
   Subsequently, at 2:34 p.m. that same afternoon, GIFC rescue personnel responded to a motorcycle accident on Riverdale Dr. A 17-year-old Grand Island youth sustained a leg injury when he lost control and fell to the pavement. He was treated at the scene and transported to Mount St. Marys Hospital for precautionary medical follow-up.
   The next day at 1 a.m., GIFC rescue personnel responded to a report of "a car striking the building" at Fuccillo Toyota, 1974 Alvin Road. A 78-year-old Niagara Falls woman apparently crashed into a cement block wall when she lost control of a vehicle during a test drive. She denied injuries but the salesman, John Golden, 55, was treated by GIFC medics for chest pain and hospitalized for additional medical attention.
   GIFC rescue personnel responded at 11:26 a.m. Tuesday, June 26th to an auto/motorcycle collision at Love Road and West River Parkway. The cycle passenger, Molly McMahon, 30, of Grand Island, was treated by GIFC medics for lower body trauma which she reportedly sustained when thrown into the car's windshield. She was transported to ECMC for necessary medical attention. The cycle operator, Bernard Scozzaro, 33, was treated for lower body injuries and also transported to ECMC. The auto driver claimed no injuries.
   Later at 5:10 p.m., two cars collided with such force that both left the roadway at Baseline and Fix roads, with one flipping over onto its roof after missing a fire hydrant "by inches." One driver, Elizabeth Von-Hahn, 51, of Buffalo, was treated for upper and lower body injuries and transported to ECMC. Two occupants of the other vehicle, Charles Sperrazza, 21, of Grand Island and Joshua Miller, 20, of Buffalo, were evaluated at the scene and referred to ECMC as a precautionary measure.
   Chief Butcher notes that increased highway traffic during summer months also increases the risk of personal injury MVAs. He cautions drivers to keep alert for others who are not familiar with local roadways or fail to observe traffic controls such as stop signs. Drivers must also keep a sharp lookout for motorcycles, bicycles, (roller) bladders, joggers, children playing near the street, pets running loose, and any other unexpected hazards they might encounter. Driving defensively could prevent unnecessary loss of property, bodily injury or worse, he stressed.

Island Firefighters Remove 'Hanging" Hazard - 2007
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   When a fast moving storm barreled through WNY early Friday evening, June 8, Grand Island escaped major damage, except for a few isolated incidents. However, one of the heavy wind guests damaged the Grand Island Plaza sign at 2391 Grand Island Blvd. GIFC firefighters were called to the scene shortly before 11 a.m. the following morning when someone discovered that a large section of the plexi-glass insert was hanging precariously over the parking area, creating a life threatening hazard.
   Assistant Chief Matt Osinski utilized Ladder 6 and a responding crew to reach the dangerous object, then secure it so that it could be cut down and removed.
   This entire operation was concluded at 12:01 p.m., according to Assistant Chief Osinski.

Island Home Heavily Damaged In Early Morning Fire - 2007
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island firefighters responded at 2:46 a.m. Friday, June 1, to an "explosion and fire" at 216 River Oaks Dr. The Murzynowski family reportedly escaped to safety after being awakened by their barking dog, as well as smoke detectors.
   Fire Chief Greg Butcher reported that despite the fact that GIFC units arrived on location within three minutes, the fire had "a considerable head start" and had already broken into the interior from a rear deck where it apparently originated. GIFC Engines #3, #4,#5, Ladder 6 and two rescue vehicles responded directly to the scene, and fire suppression was initiated.
   Mutual aid contingents from the City of Tonawanda, Brighton, Kenmore and Sheridan Park VFDs provided additional support due to excessive equipment and manpower demands. During firefighting operations, a Sheridan Park firefighter was slightly injured by falling debris but did not require hospitalization, Chief Butcher noted.
   A portable fire pit is believed to have ignited the deck area which quickly spread upward and into the structure itself. The resulting "working fire" was brought under control at 4:06 a.m., and damage was estimated at a total of $400,000 to the building and contents.
   One onlooker (neighbor) complimented the firefighters for their "quick response and terrific job" as professionals under very difficult circumstances.
   All participating fire units were returned in service by 6:11 a.m.

Vehicle Heavily Damaged By Fire - 2007

GIFC fire suppression crew initiates firefighting operations.
Click photo for larger view
Story and Photo By Ray Pauley

   Grand Island firefighters responded to a car fire at 1835 Huth Road shortly after 1:30 p.m. Friday, May 25, 2007. Fire Chief Greg Butcher reported that the engine compartment of a 1993 Mercury Marquis was "fully involved" when firefighting equipment arrived on location. Although the fire was fully extinguished within five minutes, the vehicle was considered a total loss, which was estimated at $1000. An additional $1500 damage to a nearby fence and vinyl siding on the house resulted from close proximity to the burning auto, which was parked in the driveway, he noted. All GIFC units returned in service at 2:14 p.m.

Island Firefighters Receive Grant - May 2007

Allstate Agent Tony Mastantuono presents check to Fire Chief Greg Butcher.
By Ray Pauley

   Fire Chief Greg Butcher recently accepted a $500.00 AHIC (Agency Hands in the Community) grant from the Allstate Insurance Company Foundation, in recognition of the "outstanding" community service contributions of the Grand Island Fire Company
   This grant was made possible through the individual efforts of Tony Mastantuono, who is not only an Allstate Insurance agent, but is also an active GIFC volunteer. He knows better than most that there is a strong bond between the insurance industry and the fire service in general. He notes that this grant is a reflection of the traditional support rendered to the fire service by Allstate and others.
   Chief Butcher voiced his heartfelt appreciation for such grant funding, which helps to cover special GIFC needs that sometimes exceed normal operating budgets. "Accordingly this generous grant will be put to good use in bolstering our future community protection efforts," he stressed.

Invitrogen Evacuated After Gas Line Rupture - 2007

Drilling rig at location of gas line penetration.
Click photo for larger view
Story and Photo By Ray Pauley

   Grand Island firefighters responded to a major gas leak in front of Invitrogen Corp. at 3175 Staley Road shortly before 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 23, 2007.
   Fire Chief Greg Butcher confirmed that a high pressure gas supply line was accidentally ruptured by a National Grid contractor that was drilling holes for utility pole installation. Staley Road traffic was shut down and a safety perimeter established in order to eliminate explosive hazards, pending arrival of National Fuel repair crews.
   Meanwhile approximately 400 day shift employees were evacuated from the building as a further safety precaution, according to plant representative Brian Airey. Although some pharmaceutical products will be "lost," he expects "minimal" operational disruption if gas service can be restored within a few hours after shutdown.
   Repairs were initiated, traffic was restored, and all GIFC units were returned in service at 3:25 p.m.

Island Firefighters Celebrate 69th Year of Forward Progress- 2007

Firefighter Dick Byron proudly displays a certificate of appreciation from the NYS Dept. of State for "his devotion to duty and his contributions to the fire service and public safety, which merit the gratitude of all who have benefited from his efforts. He also received a special proclamation from the Firemen's Association of the State of New York, and a certificate of appreciation for 50 years of service to the GIFC.
Click photo for larger view
By Ray Pauley

   President Mike Braun welcomed more than one hundred firefighters, spouses, town officials, and other honored guests to the Grand Island Fire Company's 69th anniversary celebration at Fire Headquarters Saturday evening, May 19th.
   Board Chairman Mike Dallessandro commended thirteen new recruits for their "admirable" call to duty as dedicated volunteers serving their community. In addition to fulfillment of manpower needs, other notable accomplishments during 2007 included development of a Fire Cadet program, special recognition of Fire Chief Greg Butcher, chosen "Firefighter of the Year" by the Lions club of WNY, renovation work at Stations #2 and #3, and financial planning for replacement of an aging ladder truck and pumper.
   Presentation of special 'years of service' awards also reflected long term individual commitment to the ongoing success of the fire company as a whole. Bob Aronica, Mike DeMartin, and Medical Advisor Lee Routsi attained their prestigious twenty-year 'Life Membership' status, which is considered a major milestone in the volunteer fire service.
   Other Years of Service recognition follows:
5 Years of Service
Tammy Gorman
Ed Krecisz
John Young
15 Years of Service
Jeremy Pullano
John Wenner
Greg Butcher
20 years - see above
25 Years of Service
Richard Pelham
30 Years of Service
Greg Zilliox
Clay Clark
40 Years of Service
Herbert Kranzmann
Gary Roesch
50 Years of Service
Richard Byron
60 Years of Service
Alfons Raepple
61 Years of Service
Norman Meyer
62 Years of Service
Robert Kingston
MaryLou Kohlhagen

Cruiser Heavily Damaged In Anchor Marine Fire - 2007

Cabin Cruiser showing damage to outside of wooden hull
Click photo for larger view
By Ray Pauley

   An employee of Anchor Marine, 1501 Ferry Road, discovered a boat on fire shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday, May 20, 2007 in storage building #5, and called 911 for Grand Island Fire Company assistance when he was unable to douse the blaze.
   Fire Chief Greg Butcher assumed incident command over 31 firefighters and seven pieces of apparatus, including two rescue vehicles, which arrived on location within four minutes. The fire was located in the exterior wooden hull of a 38' 1970 Peacemaker cabin cruiser, and was quickly extinguished.
   Chief Butcher pinpointed the cause as improper use of work lights, which ignited the wood surface of the hull. Although damage was estimated at approximately $20,000, several other boats and the building itself could have been lost, to the tune of well over a million dollars, if an alert employee had not checked the structure's interior before locking up for the day.
   All GIFC units returned in service at 7:01 p.m.

Homeowners Injured In Island House Fire - 2007
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island firefighters responded shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday, April 26, 2007 to a reported structure fire at the Loquasto residence on Ransom Road.
   GIFC Chief Greg Butcher confirmed that Engines 3 and 4, Ladder 6, Heavy Rescue 1, Rescue 7-1, and 27 firefighters were met by heavy smoke venting from the building upon their arrival. Meanwhile, the homeowners had evacuated the premises after sustaining minor burns while attempting to extinguish the blaze with a garden hose. Both husband and wife were treated at the scene by GIFC medics and transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for precautionary medical follow-up.
   Chief Butcher indicated that the fire was brought under control within 10 minutes of initial attack by interior crews, and was confined to the second floor loft area. Damage was estimated at $50,000 to the structure and $25,000 to the contents. GIFC Fire Investigator Chuck Berlinger and his ECSD counterparts Ron Kenyon, Kevin Mahoney, and Steve Merbooth, have indicated that the cause was electrical in origin.
   In addition, a Sheridan Park VFD mutual aid crew remained on standby at Grand Island Fire Headquarters during fire suppression operations. All GIFC Units returned in service at 8:16 p.m. except fire investigation personnel.

Island Fire Chief Shares In Lions Recognition of Community "Heros" - 2007

Click photo for larger view:
(left) GIFC Chief Greg Butcher, Jill Endres and Frank Brusino proudly display their special awards for other attendees.
By Ray Pauley

   Thirty-six WNY individuals who have risen from "ordinary to extraordinary," were so praised by Lions keynote speaker George Barrus, during a special awards luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Buffalo, NY, on Sunday, April 22, 2007.
   In addition, NYS Senators Dale Volker and Mary Lou Rath presented special 'Liberty Awards' to Lancaster Fie Chief Scott M. Kuhlmey, for his outstanding career in firefighting and lifesaving, and Buffalo Police Officer Carl Andolina, for his heroic actions in subduing a violent offender, who had seriously wounded him and his partner.
   Grand Island Town Supervisor Peter McMahon, Councilmen Dick Crawford and Gary Roesch, along with thirty-two GIFC firefighters and their spouses, watched as their Chief, Greg Butcher was singled out as one of the six Firefighters of the Year 2007. Greg is serving his fifth term as fire chief, with fifteen years of total service. He is a state certified Animal Control Officer, Deputy Coordinator of Disaster Emergency Services and part time Reserve Deputy Sheriff for Erie County Sheriff's Marine Division. He also serves as a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, National Protective Assoc., NYS Assoc. of Fire Chiefs, Firemen's Assoc. of the State of NY, Erie County Fire Chiefs, and is a Executive Board Member of the Tonawanda Fire Chiefs. He also belongs to the Erie County Fire Police Assoc., Fraternal Order of Police, is treasurer of the Erie County Sheriff's Marine Division, WNY Animal Control Officer Assoc., and American Legion.
   Chief Butcher also shared the spotlight with two other Islanders, Frank Brusino, Senior Citizen of the Year, who is chairman of the Citizens Corp Program which established a local citizens Emergency Response Team, and Jill Endres, WNY Youth of the Year recipient, who has dedicated herself to helping others through multiple community service activities.
   Lions Club District Governor Kimberly Stribing and Club Presidents from four WNY counties, voiced their heartfelt appreciation for the distinguished public service accomplishments by these "champions" of our society, and noted that their leadership is our real hope for the future.

Island Firefighters Provide Mutual Aid Assistance During Praxair Fire - 2007
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island Fire Chief Greg Butcher, 14 firefighters, and Engines #2 and #3 responded shortly after 11:30 a.m. Thursday, April 5, 2007 to a Sheridan Park VFD request for mutual aid assistance with a fire emergency at Praxair Corp. at 175 East Park Drive, Tonawanda.
   GIFC Chief Butcher assumed equipment staging and public information duties at the direction of OIC Chief Randy Rider Jr. of the SPVFD. Engine #3 and its crew assisted with firefighting/overhaul operations at the scene, along with other volunteers from Brighton, Ellwood and Kenmore VFDs.
   Engine #2 remained on standby in nearby fire stations, until it responded to a separate alarm of fire at the Sheridan Parkside School, 169 Sheridan Parkside Drive. Although smoke was encountered in the building, the cause was found to be in an electrical fuse panel, and there was no fire damage, according to the Kenmore VFD Chief.
   Praxair fire damage was estimated at $275,000 to one of the structures in the industrial complex, and was reportedly caused by a faulty air conditioning unit, according to Chief Rider.
   All GIFC units returned in service at 2:07 p.m. according to Chief Butcher, who also thanked additional firefighters who had remained on standby at Grand Island Fire Headquarters, during the duration of this incident.

Fire Emergency Causes No Damage At McDonalds - 2007
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island Firefighters, shortly after 1 p.m. Monday, March 26, 2007, responded to an alarm of fire at McDonalds Restaurant, 2231 Grand Island Blvd.
   Deputy Chief Kevin Koch confirmed that smoke in the interior of the building apparently originated from an electrical panel and caused the immediate evacuation of all employees and customers, including several small children who were in the play area. Some sort of electrical malfunction was the probable source of the alarm, although there was no fire, according to Deputy Chief Koch.
   Nevertheless, National Grid was notified as a precaution, and store manager Jennifer Selapack was advised to seek further assistance from an electrical contractor. She later confirmed that no hazard could be found by anyone, and the exact cause "remains a mystery" to this day.
   All GIFC apparatus returned in service at 1:54 p.m. according to Deputy Chief Koch.

Students Uninjured In School Bus/Car Collision - 2007

Grand Island School Bus #22 sustained minimal damage in Baseline Road incident.
By Ray Pauley

   Grand Island Fire Company Rescue Personnel responded shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, 2007 to an MVA in the 2800 block of Baseline Road involving a Grand Island school bus and private auto.
   GIFC Assistant Chief Chris Soluri reported that a stopped school bus, with flashing emergency lights, was preparing to discharge passengers, when it was struck in the rear by a van driven by Barbra Meyer, 44, of Grand Island. The bus driver, Thomas Good, 62, and two 11-year-old Connor Middle School students were evaluated by GIFC paramedics, but were not injured. The other driver also denied injuries and declined hospital treatment.
   All GIFC units returned in service at 4:47 p.m., according to Assistant Chief Soluri.

Island Firefighters
Welcome New Members For 2007

Click photo for larger view:
(seated left) Kurpiewski, Raiser, Shelton, Brilhart, Olszewski, O'Connor; (standing) Russell, Balesteri, Mastantouno, Brenon, Buriano, Shafie. Missing from the photo is Philip Bishop.
   Instructors are John Wenner (far left) and Aaron Berry (far right).
By Ray Pauley

   Chief Greg Butcher reports that thirteen new members were recently voted into the ranks of the Grand Island Fire Company, and represent the largest group of "rookies" ever to be accepted. This latest increase in personnel should go a long way towards meeting growing manpower needs within an ever expanding community, he noted. "There is no question that recruitment and retention must be an ongoing priority if we are to keep pace with emergency incidents, which climbed to an all time high of 1782 during 2006," he stressed.
   Joseph Balisteri, Philip Bishop, John Brenon, Allana Brilhart, Sergio Buriano, David Kurpiewski, Philip Mastantuono, Patrick O'Connor, Jake Olszewski, Josh Raiser, Chris Russell, Saed Shafie and Leigh Shelton commenced their orientation on February 10, 2007, and have entered into an intensive six-month training period.
   Training Officer/Capt. John Wenner points out that several of these new members have unique background which will contribute to their overall advancement. Brilhart and Mastantuono have prior EMT experience; Shelton has a prior law enforcement background and is presently a full time GIFC Dispatcher; Russell is a former military police officer and past member of the GIFC; Shafie has three years prior service in another VFD; and several other 'rookies' have advanced (college) education.
   The Fire Company congratulates these aspiring firefighters and medics, who have chosen to dedicate themselves to a lifetime of community protection.

Firefighters Contend With Weather Related Hazards - 2007
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

      Along with many others Western New York emergency services volunteers, Grand Island firefighters have had to face serious weather related complications which makes their job that much more dangerous, according to Chief Greg Butcher.
   Within the past few weeks, a series of MVAs at the South Grand Island Bridge put an entire crew of firefighters and medics "in harm's way," when five approaching vehicles skidded out of control at the scene of a rescue operation, he noted. Even though scene safety was seriously compromised and GIFC personnel were able to escape injury, there is no guarantee that "my crews will be as fortunate in the future," he stressed. Closer collaboration with law enforcement officers handling traffic control will hopefully minimize potential threats to on scene personnel, he added.
   Fire hydrants which have disappeared under the snow drifts is another serious problem for firefighters who must have a ready water supply during a fire emergency. Several minutes delay in locating and digging out a hydrant could hamper firefighting operations and turn a controllable incident into a major property loss, or even worse, a fire related fatality. Chief Butcher noted that Island residents, businessmen, scouts, and others can provide an invaluable service to the GIFC and their community by "adopting" and cleaning hydrants in their neighborhoods.
   Heavy snow and ice buildup on or near structures pose a definite hazard to everyone, including firefighter/medics who require safe access during a fire or EMS emergency. However, property owners are cautioned to avoid overtaxing themselves by exceeding individual limits during strenuous chores such as snow removal. When possible, get help from other family members, friends and neighbors. Reliable professionals are also available at competitive rates, and can provide peace of mind by eliminating personal risks while restoring safe conditions to your property.
   Practicing simple, common sense precautions are just as important for you, as they are for your GIFC volunteers, who must be prepared to face unknown dangers whenever called upon to save lives and property, concluded Chief Butcher.

Two Injured In Multi Car Accident On South Bridge - 2007
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island Fire Company Rescue Personnel responded at 9:16 a.m. Tuesday, February 6, 2007 to a series of MVAs involving 15 vehicles in the southbound lane of the I-190 on the south Grand Island Bridge, according to Chief Greg Butcher. Several drivers were able to make their way down to the Tonawanda side where they reported property damage only, he noted.
   Joanne Hambridge, 56, of Grand Island, had to be extricated from her vehicle which sustained heavy front end damage. She was treated for neck and back pain and transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for additional medical attention. Another driver, Charles Fick of Grand Island, was treated for a shoulder injury and transported to the Veterans Administration Hospital. Thirteen other individuals, including a semi trailer operator were evaluated by the GIFC, Town of Tonawanda, and Twin City ambulance medics, but claimed no injuries and refused hospitalization.
   Meanwhile, standby firefighting manpower responded to an alarm of fire at Trinity United Methodist Church on Whitehaven Road but subsequent investigation disclosed that contractors had accidentally triggered the alarm system.
   All GIFC units returned in service at 10:20 a.m. according to Chief Butcher.

Boater Rescued From Icy Niagara Through Firefighter/State Police Teamwork - 2007
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   When Bob Redfearn settled down for his Monday morning cup of coffee shortly before 7 a.m. Monday, February 5, 2007 in the back patio of his East River Road residence, he noticed something peculiar, several hundred feet out in the Niagara River. Using binoculars, he discovered a boater frantically trying to break free from a drifting ice flow where he was trapped, and quickly called for 911 emergency assistance.
   Grand Island Fire Company Chief Greg Butcher confirmed that Wayne Kingwell, 40, of Fort Erie, Ontario was spotted by rescue personnel as he moved down river in a small rubber raft near the foot of Winkler and East River roads. GIFC Assistant Chief Chris Soluri and NYS Troopers Tim Roof and Bryan Pasderski were successful in pulling Kingwell onto a dock after he had managed to paddle close to shore ice. He told his rescuers that he had been out on the river for "over five hours" in sub zero temperatures while trying to reach the USA to make a business transaction. After treatment by GIFC medics for hypothermia (exposure) he was transported to Mt. St. Mary's Hospital for additional medical attention.
   Chief Butcher stated that all GIFC units returned in service at 8:06 a.m.
See story
Canadian Arrested For Illegal Entry Sent BackTo Canada

Fire Co. Installs 2007 Officers

Administrative officers (left) Jeremy Pullano, B. Reed Wright, Paul Gorman, Tammy Gorman, Ray Pauley, Laurie Berry, Mike Braun, Dave Khreis and Mike Dallessandro

Firematic officers (left) Matt Osinski, Kevin Koch, Greg Butcher, Chris Soluri, Dave DiSanto, Scott Duscher, Don Portik and Jeremy Pullano

Board Chairman Mike Dallessandro looks on as Chief Greg Butcher is congratulated by Niagara Falls Fire Chief McKay after oath of office ceremony

Board of Directors members Paul Gorman, Mike Dallessandro and Ray Pauley take oath of office

President Mike Braun is amused by installing officer's remarks

Kevin and Maura Rustowicz are proud of their mutual contributions

Jennifer Pullano receives oath of office as president of the GIFC Ladies Auxiliary

Photos by Ray Pauley and Nicole Butcher - Click all photos for larger view
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Saturday, January 13, 2007 . . .Chief William McKay of the Niagara Falls Fire Department administered the oath of office to newly elected Grand Island Fire Company officers Saturday evening at Fire Headquarters on Baseline Road. Firematic and administrative officers were sworn to uphold their community protection duties for 2007, and to meet the challenges of ever increasing emergency incidents, which are expected to exceed the 1782 received during 2006.
   Greg Butcher commences his fifth term as fire chief and was joined by Deputy Chief Kevin Koch, 1st Assistant Chief Matt Osinski, 2nd Assistant Chief Chris Soluri, Fire Captains John Wenner, Dave DiSanto, Scott Duscher, Day Captain Paul Gorman, Fire Police Captain Don Portik, and EMS Captains Bob Cleveland and Jeremy Pullano.
   President Mike Braun will be assisted by Vice President Jeremy Pullano, Recording Secretary Laurie Berry, Line Secretary Dave Cole, Financial Secretary Tammy Gorman, Treasurer B. Reed Wright and Sgt.-at-Arms Dave Khreis. Charles Berlinger joined the Board of Review and Dick Byron and Clay Clark returned to their duties as Benevolent Association Trustees.
   Mike Dallessandro, Paul Gorman and Ray Pauley returned to their duties on the Board of Directors for additional three-year terms.
   Ladies Auxiliary President Jennifer Pullano also introduced her 2007 officers: Vice President Nicole Butcher, Recording Secretary Kristine Koch, Corresponding Secretary Karen Wright, Treasurer Danielle Soluri, Sgt.-At-Arms Karen Wright, Chaplain Arlene Soluri, Trustees Barbara Wilson, Teddy Linenfelser and Heather Aronica.
   Because 2006 was the busiest year in GIFC history, there were many members who made contributions "far above and beyond the call of duty," noted Chief Butcher.
   Capt. John Wenner received a special Chief's award for his exceptional 'rookie' training achievements during 2006. Financial Secretary Tammy Gorman received a special President's award for her hard work in implementing a new and improved GIFC accounting system. P. Sean Manning received special recognition for his 'super-human' efforts in making sure that GIFC's EMS program kept its first rate status. Aaron Berry was also singled out for 'training excellence' during 2006. Charles Picone, a GIFC dispatcher and new firefighter, was designated "Rookie of the Year" for his tremendous individual effort. Other members were also commended for equally noteworthy accomplishments as follows:
• Ass't Chief Christ Soluri who spent countless hours towards upgrading GIFC's communications system
• Lt. Joe Torregrossa for developing a unique and comprehensive fire prevention program for Island schools
• GIFC Dispatchers Bob Cleveland, Steve Morgan, Rose Ann Krause, Leigh Shelton, Rose Amato and Charles Picone for their steadfast devotion to duty during the prolonged October storm emergency.
   Kevin and Maura Rustowicz were commended for their special social/organizational abilities which have contributed to the overall wellbeing of the entire GIFC. Chief Butcher and Director Pauley were also recognized for their outstanding service to the GIFC in obtaining Special Operations Unit grant funding. Chief Butcher also commended the 'Top Ten Responders' during 2006, who were led by Ray Pauley with 854 calls. Other, in order of performance, were Chris Soluri, Pete Sukmankowski, Tom Dewey, Greg Butcher, Francis Englert, Laurie Berry, Brian Rock, Dave Castiglia, and Dale Mock.
   Joseph Bourdrow of the United States Coast Guard received special thanks for his valuable assistance to the GIFC Marine Unit.
   In addition, 'rookie' firefighters who successfully completed their required training during 2006 are as follows: Chuck Picone, Brian Rock, Adam Lock, Charles Dewey, Francis Englert, Mike Anderson, Laura Waz, and Bernie Quarantello.

Island Firefighters Handle Multiple Emergencies During Sudden Ice Storm - 2007
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Fire Chief Greg Butcher reports that Grand Island firefighters handled 18 emergency calls during a 13-hour period on Monday, January 15, 2007. He noted that freezing rain and falling temperatures created hazardous road conditions, contributing to at least six MVAs. Downed power lines and fallen trees also blocked some local roadways and led to temporary power outages.
   Several MVAs occurred shortly after 3 p.m. in the southbound lane of the I-190, on the South Grand Island Bridge. The most serious involved Terriann Brown, 27, of Rochester, NY, who was trapped in her vehicle when it caught fire after crashing heavily into a guardrail. Chief Butcher extinguished the fire which was confined to the engine compartment at the time, and she was subsequently extricated by a GIFC rescue crew. She was then treated for a neck injury and transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for follow-up medical attention. There were no other injuries reported in other "fender benders" which also took place on the bridge, although driving and footing for rescue personnel remained treacherous until Thruway Authority salters were able to reach the scene.
   Chief Butcher noted that emergency response to "wires down," etc. continued until 9:37 p.m. when there was finally a letup for firefighters. It is easy to consider yesterday's scenario as "a typical day in the life of a volunteer firefighter," since many more are anticipated during this new year, he stressed.

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