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Grand Island Fire Company News 2010

Grand Island Fire Company, Inc. Website



For Emergencies Dial 9-1-1 or 773-7508
To contact the Fire Company Dial 773-4334

Firematic Officers 2010: Fire Chief Gregory J. Butcher; Deputy Chief Kevin M. Koch; 1st Assistant Chief Matthew Osinski; 2nd Assistant Chief Christopher Soluri; Captains Edward Krecisz, Shawn Kephart & Peter N. Sukmanowski; EMS Captain Robert E. Cleveland & Jeremy Pullano; Day Captain Paul D. Gorman; Fire Police Captain Charles M. Berlinger

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







Training Never Ends For Grand Island Volunteers - Dec. 2010

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer
   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.


Fisherman Rescued From Icy Niagara River - Dec. 2010

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer
   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.


Passengers Escape Bus Fire On Island - Dec. 2010

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer
   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.


Koch Chosen New Grand Island Fire Chief - Dec. 2010


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.


Island Family Flees Major Residential Fire - Dec. 2010

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer

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.


Island Driver Injured In 'Freak' MVA at HSBC Bank - Dec. 2010


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.


Two Injured in Thanksgiving Day MVA - Nov. 2010

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer
   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.


Vehicle Heavily Damaged in Grand Island Blvd. Fire - Nov. 2010

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer
   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.


Island Resident Flees Kitchen Fire - Nov. 2010


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.


Fire Prevention Photos - Oct. 2010

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer
Fred Claus Photos
Slide show
   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!
   See additional story

Fire Co. Passes Annual Inspection - Oct. 8, 2010

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer

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.


Recipients Share Fire Prevention Commendations - Oct. 8, 2010

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer

Taylor Dawidowicz
   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.


Three Hospitalized In North Bridge MVA - Oct. 2010

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer
   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 Co. Open House - Oct. 8, 2010

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer
   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.


Damage Limited In Service Station Fire - Sept. 2010


Tops cashier Kozlowski points out trash containers where improper disposal of a cigarette was believed to be the cause of a fire
Click photo for larger view

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer
    Shortly before 11 a.m. Thursday, September 9, Grand Island firefighters responded to an alarm of fire at the Tops Express gas station at 2130 Grand Island Blvd.
   Leanne Kozlowski, cashier on duty, was startled when two customers suddenly came running in yelling "you've got a fire out there." One of them was already calling 911 for emergency fire company assistance.
   Fire Chief Greg Butcher reported that Engine #4 and fire suppression crews arrived on location within two minutes and found a trash container ablaze in a center gas pump aisle. The fire was immediately extinguished with a portable water can before any dangerous extension could occur. Total damage to the destroyed container was estimated at $25 by Tops employees.
   All GIFC units returned in service at 10:53 a.m. according to Chief Butcher.


Baseline/Fix Road Intersection Closed by Gas Line Rupture - Sept. 2010

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer
   Shortly after 9 a.m. on Saturday, September 11th, an Erie County Highway Dept. crew ruptured a high pressure, natural gas line while using a trenching machine to replace a large road culvert pipe at Baseline and Fix roads. Responding from nearby station #3, Grand Island Fire Company Engine #2 arrived on location within one minutes, according to Deputy Chief Kevin Koch who assumed incident command.
   GIFC firefighters closed down the intersection in order to establish a safety perimeter, pending arrival of National Fuel Co. repair crews. Despite the explosive hazard potential, the broken line flow was successfully shut down at 9:41 a.m. and permanent repairs were initiated.
   Vehicle traffic was restored and GIFC units returned in service at 9:42 a.m. according to Deputy Chief Koch.


Latest Island MVA Reflects Disturbing Trend - August 2010

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer
   Grand Island Fire Chief Greg Butcher reports that there has been no letup in a disturbing pattern of MVA incidents, which has been further complicated by local roadway construction. Although no fatalities have occurred, GIFC Rescue Personnel have responded to twelve MVA calls during July and five so far in August, he noted.
   The latest took place at 10:35 p.m. on Thursday, August 12, when GIFC firefighters/medics responded to a two-car collision at the intersection of Fix and Baseline roads, where the force of impact propelled one vehicle into a 4-ft. deep, roadside ditch. Chief Butcher reported that Mark Granto, 41, of Grand Island was evaluated by GIFC Medics for various extremity injuries and transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for additional medical attention. Occupants of the other vehicle, Molley Higgins, 17 and Jennie McCoy, 17, both of Grand Island, were treated for non life threatening injuries and transported to the Erie County Medical Center for precautionary followup.
   All GIFC units returned in service at 11:12 p.m. according to Chief Butcher.


Island Marina Incident Leaves Four Boaters Hospitalized - August 2010

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer
    Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel shortly before 10 p.m. Saturday August 7, responded to a reported allergic reaction incident which affected several boaters at the River Oaks Marina, 3001 East River Road. .
    Fire Chief Greg Butcher reported that five individuals were treated by GIFC medics after they ate food (cookies) containing an unknown substance that produced respiratory distress and nausea. Thomas Dunne, 72, of Florida; George Kunkel, 60, of Buffalo, NY; Steven Runbold, 54, of Depew, NY; and William Klopp, 50, of Eden NY; were transported to the Erie County Medical Center for follow-up medical attention. William Ackendorf, 56, of Grand Island declined hospitalization.
    Meanwhile, the Erie County Sheriff's Department has comnmenced an investigation into the circumstances of this MCI (Multiple Casualty Incident) due to the questionable nature of this suspected food poisoning.
   All GIFC units returned in service at 10:50 p.m. according to Assistant Chief Matt Osinski who directed EMS operations.


Island Fire Cadet Program Gets Boost From Allstate - August 2010


Cadet O'Donnell is flanked by GIFC Assistant Chief Matt Osinski (left) and Chief Butcher (right) at graduation ceremony
(right photo) President Gorman looks on as T.O. Ed Krecisz receives check from Allstate representative Tony Mastantuono
Click photos for larger view

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer
    The Grand Island Fire Company received continuing support from the Allstate Insurance Co. on August 4 in the form of a $500 grant award to promote its Fire Cadet program, according to Chief Greg Butcher.
   School age youths between 16 and 18 years old are given an opportunity to learn about the fire service by participating in restricted activities which are carefully tailored to develop character as well as capability. Sean O'Donnell is one of several GIFC cadets who has exhibited exceptional individual initiative. He successfully completed a 90-hour Firefighter I "bootcamp" training course on July 23 at the Erie County Training Center in Cheektowaga, NY, according to GIFC President Tammy Gorman who is a cadet training officer.
    Congratulations to Sean and a heartfelt thanks for Allstate's generous support of the entire cadet program.


Collapsed Runner Revived by Island Firefighters - August 2010


Chief Butcher holds 'state of the art' Zoll AED defibrillator which was used by GIFC responders Dale Mock (left) and Saed Shafie (right) to restore cardiac function in collapsed triathlon runner
Click photo for larger view

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer
   The Riverside Federal Credit Union 'Summer Sizzler' Triathlon held on Saturday, August 7 at Beaver Island State Park was a fun time for many, but not so for a participant who collapsed at the end of the swim, bike, and run event.
   Fire Chief Greg Butcher reported that a GIFC standby EMS crew already in the park located the victim, Bryan McGowan, 56, of Tonawanda, NY, within minutes of receiving the call at 10:04 a.m. Firefighters Dale Mock and Saed Shafie successfully applied AED and CPR lifesaving treatment, despite the fact that McGowan was unconscious and unresponsive initially. He was then stabilized further by GIFC medics and transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for additional medical attention.
   Chief Butcher noted that these firefighters were in the right place at the right time and "undoubtedly saved a life today." Such training and experience pay off "big time," he added.
   All GIFC units returned in service at 10:41 a.m. according to Chief Butcher.


Island Fire Officials Cope With Construction Complications - July 2010


Interior of bathroom, showing extensive damage
(left) Lt. Dale Mock checks vital signs of a driver involved in July 28 MVA
(right) GIFC Fire Police (Anthony Mastantuono) holds up traffic while driver is removed from vehicle damaged in July 29 MVA
Click photo for larger view

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer    As most Islanders are aware by now, construction on the northbound lane of the South Grand Island Bridge and a "roundabout" at Staley and Grand Island Blvd. have combined to create delays during peak rush hour traffic. As a result, Fire Chief Greg Butcher has arranged for Twin City Ambulance Co. to provide standby coverage at fire headquarters from approximately 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. weekly so that patient transport to local hospitals is not compromised.
   Meanwhile, "roundabout" roadwork at the intersection of Staley Road and Grand Island Blvd. has contributed to further slowdowns, and MVAs related to driver confusion and and inattention.
   On July 28th, a two-car MVA shortly before 9 a.m. at that location resulted in the evaluation of five persons by GIFC medics. Jennifer Rastelli, 37, of Grand Island and her three children, ages 3 and one-year-old twins were transported to Womens & Childrens Hospital as a precautionary measure. The other driver, Marla Crawford of Grand Island claimed no serious injuries and declined hospitalization.
   On July 29th, GIFC Rescue Personnel again responded to that same location a few moments before 9 a.m. for a two-car collision. Weltha Rutland, 46, of Grand Island was treated for non life threatening injuries and transported to Millard Fillmore Gates Hospital for additional medical attention. The other driver, Madonna Coad of West Seneca, claimed no injuries.
   Later in the day, at 2:22 p.m., several 911 callers reported a man "slumped over the wheel" of his (green) pickup truck, but he left the scene and disappeared prior to the arrival of GIFC responders.
   Town Supervisor Peter McMahon expects that some of these problems will be resolved when most of the work is completed by the NYSDOT at the end of the current construction season - October/November 2010.


Two Island Families Flee Residential Fire - July 2010


Interior of bathroom, showing extensive damage
Click photo for larger view

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer    Grand Island firefighters, shortly before 2 p.m. Saturday, July 24, responded to an alarm of fire at 1040 East River Road. An occupant, Jennifer Rucci, had arrived home and discovered excessive heat and charring around a second floor bathroom ceiling exhaust fan. Moments later, her husband, Tim, used his cell phone to contact 911 and reached Buffalo CPS which relayed the call to GIFC dispatchers for appropriate action.
   When GIFC Engines #2 and #4 and firefighting crews arrived on location, the fire had broken through into the attic space and smoke was venting from the second floor eaves, according to Fire Chief Greg Butcher. The Ruccis and next door tenants of this converted farmhouse (duplex) had already evacuated the building and fire suppression was immediately commenced. The fire was quickly brought under control by 2:05 p.m.
   GIFC Fire Investigator Chuck Berlinger confirmed that a defective exhaust fan appeared to be the origin of the fire which was so intense that it burned completely through a 2 by 6 ceiling joist. Damage was estimated at $15,000 to the structure and $5000 to the contents.
   Oppressive weather conditions (heat and humidity) also created excessive demands upon equipment as well as manpower, with your GIFC firefighters treated at the scene for heat exposure and dehydration and released.
   During firefighting operations, Sheridan Park VFD crews provided mutual aid assistance and the American Red Cross also arranged temporary emergency housing for the displaced tenants.
   All participating firefighting units returned in service at 3:11 p.m. according to Chief Butcher.


Two Families Displaced By Fire - July 2010

The Grand Island Fire Company was called to 1042 East River Rd at about 1:40 p.m. Saturday, July 24, 2010 to a report of a ceiling fan on fire in a bathroom. The first unit was on location in less than two minutes and reported smoke coming from a two-story duplex structure owned by Grand Island resident Marc Leffler. Further investigation revealed that the fire had extended into the attic space of the home.


Driver Hurt in Collision With Tree - July 2010


GIFC firefighters stabilize Burgler vehicle while driver receives treatment for minor injuries Click photo for larger view

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer

   Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded at 3:25 p.m. Thursday, July 15 to an MVA on Whitehaven near Stony Point roads. Fire Chief Greg Butcher reports that Thomas Burgler, 57, of Grand Island lost control of his vehicle which left the roadway and struck a large pine tree in front of 1421 Whitehaven Road.
   Burgler was treated by GIFC medics for non life threatening injuries and transported to ECMC for further medical evaluation.
   Moments earlier, Burgler reportedly forced another auto off the road and into a drainage ditch culvert at Whitehaven and East River roads. That driver, Thomas Plandowski of Lackawanna, NY, claimed no injuries.
   All GIFC units returned in service at 3:57 p.m.


Mesmer Aviation Event Passes With "Flying" Colors - July 2010


(left) Row of planes form backdrop for Island businessman Bob Mesmer
(center) Several visitors inspect unusual pontoon aircraft
(right) GIFC Lt. Chris Russell and Engine #2 are visited by Justin (top), Katelyn, Trevor and their mom, Kelly Palamuso Click photos for larger view

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer

   Bob Mesmer was joined by over one hundred friends, neighbors, and members of Chapter 46 of the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Assoc.) for a Thursday evening of fun, food and thrills at his Love Road residence and airfield.
   In addition to sixteen single engine planes which landed at regular intervals, much to the delight of onlookers, the U. S. Border Patrol, Mercy Flight, and the Grand Island Fire Company's Engine #2 and Rescue 7-2 with crews also attended. Another highlight was a special skydiving exhibition by four members of the Wilson, N.Y. based group.
   Those who are interested in membership information can contact Local Chapter 46 Secretary Pat Pedersen at 240 Hamlin Ave., East Aurora, NY 14052 or visit their website at www.eaa46.org. You don't have to be a pilot to join EAA, "you just have to love aviation," those in attendance were reminded.


Falls Vehicle Heavily Damaged In I-190 Fire - July 2010

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer


   Grand Island firefighters responded shortly after 8:30 a.m. Thursday, July 8, 2010 to a vehicle fire in the southbound lane of the I-190. According to Fire Chief Greg Butcher, the driver, Kristen Felker of Niagara Falls heard a loud "pop" near the North Bridge toll barrier and shortly thereafter pulled over onto the shoulder when smoke began billowing into her VW 'beetle.' She then used her cell phone to contact 911 and her call for help was relayed from CPS (Central Police Services) in Buffalo to the GIFC Dispatch Center.
   Her vehicle was "fully involved" when GIFC firefighters and Engine #4 arrived on location. Although extinguished within minutes, the fire caused extensive damage estimated at $5000 and was attributed to mechanical failure.
   Fire officials point out that fire and EMS emergencies that are reported by cell phone will be picked up by the nearest cell tower when 911 is dialed. Such calls by Grand Islanders will usually be sent to CPS first and then relayed, as in this case, unless 773-7508 is called for a direct connection with the GIFC. This will virtually eliminate any possible delay in the dispatching of emergency personnel for those cell phone callers in need. All other requests should be made (residential, business, etc.) through the normal 911 emergency number.


Mercy Flight Called In For Island MVA Victim - July 2010

By Ray Pauley - GIFC Public Information Officer


   Grand Island Fire Chief Greg Butcher reports that firefighter/medics handled ten emergency incidents between 4 p.m. July 4th and 6 a.m. July 5th, which included three MVAs.
   The most serious incident involved a 1:30 a.m. July 5th MVA on East River Road near Turner's Port of Call restaurant where a vehicle failed to negotiate a sharp curve, traveled down a steep embankment, and collided with a tree, according to Chief Butcher. The driver, Donald Holdoway, 24, of Grand Island, and passenger, Michael Vallina, 24, of West Seneca, were extricated from the heavily damaged auto and treated by GIFC medics for critical injuries. Holdoway was transported to ECMC by ambulance for further medical attention and Vallina was transported to ECMC by Mercy Flight in order to expedite life saving treatment.
   All GIFC units returned in service at 2:41 as.m. according to Chief Butcher.


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