Grand Island Fire Company, Inc. Website
To contact the Fire Company Dial 773-4334
Administrative Officers 2010: President Tammy Jo Gorman, Vice President Michael Anderson, Secretary Laurie Berry, Treasurer Dale Mock, Financial Secretary Anthony Mastantuono, Line Secretary Phillip Mastantuono and Sgt.-at-Arms David Khreis.
Board of Directors 2010: Chairman Stephen M. Stouter, Vice Chairman Paul D. Gorman, Secretary Raymond Pauley, Mark T. Kowzan, Donald Portik, Michael D. Braun, David C. Tolejko
For the past several months, forty Grand Island firefighters and others from as far away as Toronto, have given up Sundays with their families to attend all day EMT training sessions at fire headquarters in order to upgrade professional skills so that they can better serve their communities.
Senior instructor Lance Kohn reports that this Erie County Emergency Medical Services sponsored course covered sixteen weeks which totaled 128 hours plus 10 hours of clinical time. This lifesaving training was completed on December 16, 2010 when a NYS certification exam was held.
According to Assistant Chief Matt Osinski, who is the GIFC Training Coordinator, a total of 113 drills were held during 2010. Special training for Fire Cadets and new recruits was added to regular sessions held on Monday evenings, Saturday mornings and other days as necessary. Live fire ops., forcible entry, water rescue, etc. were some of the "hands on" drills included in this busy schedule. Certain individuals were also privileged to participate in other unique programs such as Firefighter "Bootcamp" which covered several weeks.
When a new recruit class enters the GIFC during 2011, training requirements during the first year will demand a major commitment in time and effort. Good luck to these aspiring firefighters and medics who will join the ranks of fire service volunteers, dedicated to a lifetime of community protection.
Grand Island Fire Company Rescue Personnel responded shortly before 10 a.m. Saturday, December 18, 2010 to a report of a "man in the water" at the River Oaks Marina, 101 Whitehaven Road.
When GIFC Fire Chief Greg Butcher arrived on location within two minutes, Michael Jones, 27, of Buffalo was found to have broken through the shore ice at the end of a dock where he had been ice fishing. Fortunately, a companion held him up until rescuers arrived, after the latter had made a cell phone call for help. Chief Butcher stated that four firefighters and two ECSD deputies were required to bring Jones out of the frigid waters and onto the dock where he received initial treatment by GIFC medics for exposure/hypothermia. He was then transported to ECMC for additional medical follow-up.
Fire officials believe that Jones would not have survived his ordeal without his friend's immediate lifesaving assistance and swift call for help.
Grand Island firefighters responded shortly aftr 9:30 a.m. Monday, December 13 to an NFTA Metro bus fire at 2850 Grand Island Blvd. Nineteen passengers made their way to safety and were provided with temporary shelter at the nearby Riverwood Health Care Center, according to GIFC Chief Greg Butcher.
The smoky fire, which involved the rear brake system and engine compartment, was extinguished by fire suppression crews using a 1 3/4" attack line with foam from Engine #3. GIFC Deputy Chief Kevin Koch estimated total damage to the vehicle at $75,000. Within 15 minutes, a relief bus arrived to pick up the stranded passengers and there were no injuries reported.
GIFC units returned in service at 10:23 a.m. and normal traffic patterns were also restored at that time.
By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer
Kevin Koch will commence his first term as Chief of the Grand Island Fire Company after running unopposed in 2011 elections held at fire headquarters on December 1.
Koch will be joined by Deputy Chief Matt Osinski, 1st Assistant Chief Chris Soluri, 2nd Assistant Chief Mark Sadkowski, Fire Captains Ed Krecisz and Shawn Kephart, Day Captain Greg Butcher, Fire Police Captain Don Portik, and EMS Captain Bob Cleveland. A third Fire Capt. will be selected in a special runoff election at a later date.
Tammy Gorman was successful in attaining her second term as president and will be assisted by Vice President Brett Lynch, Line Secretary Phil Mastantuono, and Recording Secretary Laurie Berry. Dave Khreis was returned to the Board of Review and Norm Mrkall and Lou D'Orazio will continue to serve as Benevolent Association Trustees. Dave Khreis was also returned to the position of Sgt.-at-Arms
Steve Stouter was returned to another three-year term on the Board of Directors, and Greg Butcher begins his first term after stepping down as Chief.
Tony Mastantuono Sr. will continue as financial secretary and the treasurer's position will be filled at a later date.
In addition, several delegate positions were also filled.
Congratulations to these dedicated GIFC volunteers who will join an impressive 2011 leadership team.
Jodi Robinson Photo - Click photo for larger view
Ray Pauley photo
See Slide show photos by Stephen Mathes
Grand Island firefighters responded at 5:21 p.m. Monday, December 6, 2010 to a 911 call for assistance from Yvonne Beard of 2614 Whitehaven Road who reported that "my house is on fire."
When Engines #2, 3, 4, 5 and Ladder Truck #6 and fire suppression crews arrived on location, heavy smoke was venting from upper areas of the structure, according to GIFC Chief Greg Butcher. He also noted that firefighters were initially hampered by weather conditions as well as a nearby hydrant that was found to be inoperable, which then required a hose relay to a more distant water source. In addition, due to the extreme demands upon manpower and equipment, mutual aid contingents from Sheridan Park VFD, Brighton, Kenmore, Ellwood, City of Tonawanda, and Eggertsville companies were called in to assist.
The fire was finally brought under control and extensive overhaul was undertaken, according to GIFC Deputy Chief Kevin Koch, who was in charge of fireground operations. The fire reportedly originated in a second floor storage area and Erie County Sheriff's Dept. Fire Investigators have not yet determined an exact cause. Total damage has been estimated at over $500,000, partially due to contents destroyed, which included expensive electronic equipment.
There were no injuries to occupants or working firefighters according to Chief Butcher.
All participating units returned in service at 9:24 p.m.
By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer
Click photo for larger view
Grand Island Fire Company Rescue Personnel responded at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, December 1, 2010 to a report of a vehicle that had crashed through the plate glass (front) window of the HSBC Bank at 2300 Grand Island Blvd.
When GIFC Firefighters and Medics arrived on location, Doris Mahan, 78, of Grand Island was still seated in the driver's side of her Toyota auto which was halfway through the front window into a bank office space. She advised responders that "my brakes failed," according to GIFC Deputy Chief Kevin Koch. She was treated for a possible shoulder injury and transported to DeGraff Memorial Hospital for further medical attention, according to EMS Capt. Bob Cleveland.
All GIFC units returned in service at 10:52 a.m. and the matter was turned over to the Erie County Sheriff's Dept. for further investigation.
Grand Island Fire Company Rescue Personnel responded shortly before 8:30 p.m. Thursday, November 25 to a three-car collision in the northbound lane of the I-190 just east of the Whitehaven Road exit.
Six vehicle occupants were evaluated at the scene by GIFC medics, according to Assistant Fire Chief Chris Soluri who coordinated EMS operations. Anna House, 69, of Gasport and Stacy Maurer, 29, of Grand Island, were treated for non life threatening injuries and transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital and St. Mary's Hospital respectively, according to GIFC Deputy Chief Kevin Koch.
All GIFC units returned in service at 9:12 p.m. and normal traffic patterns were restored when damaged vehicles were removed shortly thereafter.
Shortly after 9 p.m. on Friday, November 5, Grand Island firefighters responded to a reported car fire at Rainbow Collision, 2509 Grand Island Blvd.
GIFC Assistant Chief Matt Osinski stated that Engine #3 and fire suppression crews found a 2001 KIA SUV with interior smoke and flames when they arrived on scene. The blaze was extinguished within minutes and was attributed to an electrical problem. Total damage was estimated at $2500 and there were no injuries according to Assistant Chief Osinski.
All GIFC units returned in service at 9:32 p.m. according to Osinski.
Click photos for larger view
By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer
Gerard Calvaneso of Carter Drive discovered his kitchen in flames at 4:32 p.m. Tuesday, November 9, 2010 and ran to a neighbor's home to call 911 for emergency assistance from the Grand Island Fire Company.
GIFC Chief Greg Butcher reported that Engine #2 and fire suppression crews led by Deputy Chief Kevin Koch, found heavy smoke and flames in the first floor kitchen area when they arrived on location. The fire was extinguished within 12 minutes of the initial alarm and was limited to the room of origin. Cause was determined to be "unattended food on the stove" and total damage estimated at $35,000.
Meanwhile, a Sheridan Park VFD mutual aid FAST team was called to the scene for operational (safety) backup, and a City of Tonawanda standby crew reported to GIFC headquarters until relieved of duty about one hour later.
All participating firefighting units were returned in service by 5:32 p.m. according to Chief Butcher and no injuries were reported.
Fred Claus Photos
Over 3000 elementary school students and Open House visitors received fire safety tips, hazard recognition, "hands on" firefighting experience, a 'crash course' in dispatch and emergency operations, as well as exposure to unique equipment demos and displays during the past week, according to Grand Island Fire Chief Greg Butcher.
Assistant Chief Chris Soluri, Fire Prevention Program Coordinator, arranged an impressive flag raising ceremony by a Sheridan Park VFD ladder truck and GIFCs LT #6 to kick off Friday's open house activities. Visitors were also treated to a "Jaws of Life" auto extrication exercise as well as a "live" vehicle fire demo. Other popular activities included hose practice for kids, close encounters with "Sparky" and "Pluggie," and special displays etc. by the NYSP, NYS Park Police, U. S. Border Patrol (Homeland Security) - copter, U.S. Coast Guard, Getzville FD Water Rescue Unit, City of Tonawanda FD, Erie County Haz Mat and Emergency Services teams, and Masonic Lodge Child ID. GIFC Communications Supervisor Soluri also arranged for 911 data base entries for anyone requesting such updates. Grand Island's CERT team was also represented, along with Niagara County Canine Unit and Twin City Ambulance.
P.C. Soluri noted that several hundred kids were quick to participate in the highly prized 'Ride To School In A Fire Truck' drawing for elementary school students - winners and ride schedule to be announced. An additional model fire truck drawing was also held for those who completed fire safety checklists, Wendy's Restaurant - French fry food treat.
One of the program highlights was presentation of the 2010 Fire Prevention Award to 7-year-old Taylor Dawidowicz for her "cool headed" handling of a family emergency on March 26, 2010. GIFC firefighters Dale Mock and Saed Shafie, Niagara Falls firefighters Clifford Mayes and John Donaldson, Kathleen Hayden MD, Robert Dorman RN, and Mary Eggers RN of Strong Memorial Hospital also received special commendations for their successful resuscitation of Brian McGovern on August 7, 2010.
The GIFC Ladies Auxiliary conducted a basket raffle in addition to their usual hot dog/hamburger cook out for hungry visitors.
Thanks to all those who made this year's program an even bigger success than previously!
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Christopher Rice Photo - click for a complete view
Fire Chief Greg Butcher, along with Town Supervisor Peter McMahon, conducted a "readiness" inspection of GIFC members on Saturday, October 2 at fire headquarters, 2275 Baseline Road.
Supervisor McMahon, on behalf of town residents, expressed heartfelt appreciation for the lifetime commitment in time and effort expended by these individuals who protect their fellow citizens on a 24-7 basis.
Chief Butcher echoed these sentiments in praising the overall accomplishments of each and every member of the GIFC. To exemplify this dedication, two firefighters were singled out for special lifesaving actions during the line of duty. Firefighters Dale Mock and Saed Shafie were commended by Lt. Peter Radwanski of the NYS Park Police for their skillful actions on August 7th, when they successfully resuscitated a collapsed triathlon runner at Beaver Island State Park. He noted that their immediate intervention was "crucial to the survival of the (stricken) individual."
What better testament to the 'ready, willing and able' volunteers of the GIFC community protection team.
Fire Chief Greg Butcher is pleased to report that several individuals will receive special GIFC commendations during the 2010 Fire Prevention Open House at fire headquarters, 2275 Baseline Road, between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Friday, October 8.
Seven-year-old Taylor Dawidowicz will receive the top 2010 award for her "cool headed handling of an EMS emergency on March 26, 2010 when she called 911 for assistance for her mother who had lost consciousness at home."
GIFC firefighters Dale Mock and Saed Shafie were also recognized for their professional expertise in the skillful utilization of an AED, leading to the successful resuscitation of Brian McGovern on August 7, 2010. They were joined by Niagara Falls firefighters Cliff Mayes and John Donaldson, along with Kathleen Hayden, MD, Robert Dorman, RN, and Mary Eggers, RN, who assisted in this team effort.
Congratulations to those special individuals for their outstanding lifesaving service to the community.
Please join them in sharing their special moment(s) at the Open House event.
Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded shortly before 8 p.m. Friday, October 1st to a "chain reaction" collision involving three cars on the North Grand Island Bridge, southbound.
Capt. Pete Sukmanowski disclosed that seven occupants were evaluated by GIFC medics, including Darlene DiChristina, 41, of Grand Island; Paul Perla, 45, of Kenmore; and an 11-year-old Grand Island child; who were treated for upper bodily injuries and transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for followup medical attention. Four other Niagara Falls residents denied injuries and declined hospitalization.
Despite a temporary traffic slowdown during EMS operations, all GIFC units returned in service at 8:40 p.m. according to Capt. Sukmanowski.
Fire Chief Greg Butcher reminds all Islanders that 'Sparky,' the fire dog and 'Pluggie,' the fire hydrant are anxiously waiting to greet visitors at the October 8th Fire Prevention Open House at GIFC headquarters, 2275 Baseline Road at Grand Island Blvd.
Assistant Chief Chris Soluri, program coordinator, states that many agencies will contribute firefighting and EMS equipment that will be on display from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on that special Friday. "Live" fire demos, "Jaws of Life" vehicle extrication, hose practice for kids, etc. will add to the thrilling atmosphere of simulated emergency situations, he noted.
Firefighter education/safety teams will also visit elementary schools as well as pre-schools from October 4th through 7th to stress this year's NFPA theme "Smoke Alarms, A Sound You Can Live With." Students will also receive tips on how to recognize and handle various life threatening emergencies. Meanwhile, Sidway students will travel directly to fire headquarters on October 8th to participate in special fire prevention exercises.
The ever popular 'Ride To School In A Fire Truck' drawing will again be held, with six winners chosen from each of the following schools - St. Stephen, Huth Road, Kaegebein and Sidway.
In addition, members of the GIFC Ladies Auxiliary will conduct their hot dog/hamburger cookout as well as a special basket raffle.
Don't forget to set aside some quality time on Friday, October 8th to meet your Grand Island firefighter/medics and their many friends.