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Grand Island Fire Company News 2012

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 2012: Fire Chief Kevin M. Koch; Deputy Chief Matt Osinski; 1st Assistant Chief Christopher Soluri; 2nd Assistant Chief Mark Sadkowski; Captains John Podlucky, Shawn Kephart & Omar Sortino; EMS Captain Jon Cinelli & Jeremy Pullano; Fire Police Captain Don Portik

Administrative Officers 2012: President Tammy Jo Gorman, Vice President Donald Turner, Secretary Laurie Berry, Financial Secretary Laurie Berry, Line Secretary Anthony Mastantuono and Sgt.-at-Arms David Khreis.

Board of Directors 2013: Chairman Gregory J. Butcher, Vice Chairman Dale Mock, Secretary Raymond Pauley, David C. Tolejko, Paul D. Gorman, Stephen M. Stouter, Jeremy Pullano, Pete McMahon, Pete Sukmanowski









Driver Hospitalized in Two-Car MVA - Dec. 2012


GI firefighters Ryan Ayers, Rob Soluri and Jourdain Benoit check vehicle for possible electrical and fuel leak hazards.
Photo and story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   The Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a two-car collision at the intersection of Baseline and Staley roads at 8:25 a.m. Friday, December 14, 2012.
   Deputy Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that the force of impact caused one vehicle to careen off the roadway between two utility poles, while the second auto landed in a 5' deep ditch along side a steel culvert. Sandra Wylucky, 50, of Wheatfield, NY was treated by GIFC medics for non-critical upper body injuries, stabilized, and transported to Mount St. Mary's Hospital for further medical attention. The other driver, Pamela Mattulke, 58, of Hamburg, NY was evaluated but denied injuries.
   Fire officials noted that more serious injuries were undoubtedly prevented because air bags deployed in both vehicles. All GIFC Units returned in service at 8:54 a.m. according to Dep. Chief Osinski.




Islander Seriously Injured in Pedestrian/Car MVA - Dec. 2012

by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded shortly after 8 p.m. Friday, December 7, 2012 to a report of a pedestrian hit by a vehicle on Stony Point Road between Whitehaven Road and Independence Lane.
   Assistant Fire Chief Chris Soluri stated that Stephen Turner, 62, of Grand Island was reportedly crossing the roadway after leaving his parked car and walked in front of a vehicle driven by Josh Khreis, 23, also of Grand Island. He was thrown approximately 60' by force of impact and sustained extensive traumatic injuries. He was treated by GIFC medics, stabilized and transported by Mercy Flight to Erie County Medical Center for follow-up medical attention. Khreis was evaluated at the scene but denied injuries.
   All GIFC units returned in service by 9:42 p.m. when the roadway was reopened to normal traffic.




Koch Returns for Third Term as Grand Island Fire Chief - Dec. 2012

by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer


   Kevin Koch returns for a third term as Chief of the Grand Island Fire Company after running unopposed in 2013 elections which were held at fire headquarters on Wednesday, December 5th.
   Koch will be joined by Deputy Chief Matt Osinski, 1st Assistant Chief Chris Soluri, 2nd Assistant Chief Mark Sadkowski, Fire Captains Shawn Kephart, Omar Sortino, John Podlucky, Fire Police Capt. Don Portik, EMS Capt. Jon Cinelli, and a second appointed EMS Capt. Jeremy Pullano.
   Tammy Gorman was successful in attaining her 4th term as president and will be assisted by Vice President Dale Mock, Line Secretary Laurie Berry. Nicole Gerber was returned to the Board of Review and Benevolent Trustees are Dave Cole and Bill Wilson. Dave Khreis was also returned to the position of Sgt. At Arms.
   Past Chief Peter McMahon was elected to a three-year term on the Board of Directors along with Peter Sukmanowski. Paul Gorman was returned as an incumbent member.
   In addition, several delegate positions were also filled.
   Congratulations to these dedicated GIFC volunteers who have joined an impressive 2013 leadership team.




Island Fire Co. Supports CO Detector Giveaway Program - Nov. 2012

    Fire Chief Kevin Koch reports that the Grand Island Fire Company's emphasis on 'life safety' has prompted participation in a Border Community Service of Niagara University project to distribute free CO detectors. This will take place at Grand Island Fire Headquarters, 2275 Baseline Road, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Tuesday, December 4, 2012.
   This exceptional venture consists of a partnership with the Amanda Hansen Foundation, which was established by Ken and Kim Hansen, who lost their daughter, Amanda, in a tragic carbon monoxide incident. Realizing the horrific danger of this "silent killer," they fought hard to alert the public and successfully spearheaded local and national legislation referred to as Amanda's Law, which mandates installation and use of CO detectors in public and private buildings. Their goal is to prevent unnecessary tragedy such as they faced, and this fits in well with the life saving work of the GIFC stressed Chief Koch.
   Accordingly, 100 CO detectors will be made available on Tuesday, December 4th, at the rate of one per family. If your home or business is not equipped with such a potential life saver, please stop and pick one up for your protection as well as peace of mind.




Island Driver Injured in Two-car MVA - Nov. 2012


Heavily damaged Kasprzak vehicle after driver was safely extricated
Photo and story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a two-car collision on Stony Point Road near the intersection of Independence Lane shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday, November 27, 2012. Grand Island Fire Chief Kevin Koch reported that Conni Kasprzak, 52, of Grand Island, had to be extricated from her badly damaged vehicle which landed in a roadside ditch after being rear ended. She was stabilized by GIFC medics and transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for additional medical attention. The other driver, Gary Lazik, 49, of Grand Island, claimed no injuries. Stony Point Road was reopened to traffic at 5:43 p.m when wreckage was removed from the scene and all GIFC units were returned to service.




Occupant Flees
Burning Grand
Island Apartment - Nov. 2012


Extensive interior damage to living quarters
Photo and story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island firefighters responded at 6:19 a.m. Monday, November 5, 2012 to a report of a "structure fire" at the Town Hall Terrace Apartment complex on Whitehaven Road which is just around the corner from fire headquarters.
   Fire Chief Kevin Koch stated that fire suppression crews encountered heavy smoke and fire conditions upon arrival with Engines #3, #4, #5 and Ladder Truck #6. The fire was brought under control in approximately 15 minutes. The 18-year-old occupant was treated for smoke inhalation by GIFC MD Chris Krawczyk and transported to ECMC for follow-up medical attention. A family pet (dog) was lost in the fire.
   Mutual aid contingents from Brighton (FAST team) and Sherican Park VFDs assisted at the scene, while a City of Tonawanda crew remained on standby at Grand Island fire headquarters during fire fighting operations.
   Fire damage was limited to the apartment of origin, with damage estimated at $75,000 to the building and $30,000 to the contents, according to Chief Koch. The cause appears to have been carless use of a lit candle in the living room area according to Grand Island Fire Investigaator Chuck Berlinger.
   There were no firefighter injuries reported. All participating units returned in service by 7:54 a.m.




Fire Heavily Damages West River Road Home - October 2012


Fire damaged debris piled outside of Fontana residence
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island firefighters responded at 6:25 p.m. Tuesday, October 30, 2012 to a report of "a roof on fire" at the First Street deadend (West River Road address) which was discovered by a passerby.
   Fire Chief Kevin Koch noted that the interior of the structure was "fully charged with smoke and flames visible on the first floor" as well as smoke venting from the eaves when Engines #2, #4, #5 and fire suppression crews arrived on location within two minutes. Although the fire appeared to have had a considerable head start since the owner/occupant was not at home at the time, it was brought under control within twenty minutes.
    Chief Koch reported damage of $70,000 to the structure and $30,000 to the contents. The fire originated in the basement due to an apparent electrical problem.
    A mutual aid FAST team from the Sheridan Park VFD assisted at the scene while a City of Tonawanda crew remained on standby at GIFC headquarters during firefighting operations.
    Although no injuries were sustained, a family pet (dog) was rescued from the building and is receiving follow-up treatment by a local veterinarian.
   All participating units returned in service by 9:15 p.m




Eagle Scout Project Helps Fire Company - October 2012


Chief Koch accepts scout's generous donation at Fire Headquarters.
   Nick Soos, 17, of Boy Scouts of America Troop #652 recently developed an Eagle Scout project to benefit young patients at Women's and Children's Hospital as well as Grand Island Fire Company EMS providers who deal with pre-hospital victims and their families.
   Consequently, Nick proceeded to collect over 700 new and slightly used "stuffed companions" (animals), which were, in turn, given to those youngsters in need of comfort and support to help to overcome anxious situations.
   Fire Chief Kevin Koch enthusiastically accepted a generous donation of 100 of these "morale boosters," which will be carried on all GIFC rescue vehicles.
   Thanks again to Nick for his caring and thoughtfull plan of action - a truly commendable community service endeavor.




Fire Prevention Program - October 2012


(#1)Blazing couch fire 46 seconds after ignition
(#2) Firefighter Scott Shaw instructs Trevor Palamuso in proper nozzleman technique
(#3) Fire Cadet 'Frankie' Koch introduces two-year-old Isabella Anderson to 'Sparky' the fire dog
(#4) Fire Chief Koch presents 2012 Fire Prevention award to Tony Mastantuono while Board Chairman Greg Butcher and President Tammy Gorman look on.
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Over 2000 Sidway School students and other Fire Prevention Open House visitors came to Grand Island Fire Headquarters on Friday, October 12, 2012 to learn more about their GIFC volunteers, equipment, and operational capabilities.
   Onlookers were amazed to watch a simple living room couch fire erupt into a "blazing inferno" within 46 seconds of ignition, a stark example of the urgency in exiting a burning home. In addition to hose practice for kids, displays of EMS lifesaving equipment, firefighting apparatus, the NYSP, ECSD, and others contributed their expertise.
   Fire Chief Kevin Koch made a special presentation of the 2012 Fire Prevention Commendation to the (Tony) Mastantuono Agency of the Allstate Insurance Company for its "continuing support in the form of outreach grants, which enhance special GIFC Cadet programs and other worthwhile aspects of the fire service" which represent exceptional acts of community service.
   Those students who completed fire safety quizzes became eligible for a Wendy's Restaurant French fry treat. Also, lucky winners of the Ride To School In a Fire Truck drawing will soon be contacted.
   Meanwhile, the GIFC Ladies Auxiliary basket raffle and cookout proved to be a resounding success.
   Thanks to all those who set aside some quality time to meet with their GIFC volunteers and friends.




Buses Collide, No Injuries - October 2012

    Grand Island Fire Company volunteers responded immediately to a report of two Grand Island School District school busses colliding at Whitehaven and Baseline roads at approximately 3:30 p.m.Tuesday, October 9, 2012. GIFC medics reported no injuries to drivers or students. Cause of the crash was not immediately available.




Fire Co. Inspection - Oct. 2012


(left) F.F. Chuck Berlinger commands MU 1 fireboat during a training exercise on the Niagara River.
(right) Supervisor Cooke congratulates Chief Koch in front of newly purchased fireboat MU 1, while Deputy Chief Matt Osinski and Ass't Chief Mark Sadkowski look on

GIFC membership assembled for 2012 annual inspection

Click photos for larger view
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island firefighters, medics, and cadets reported to fire headquarters on Saturday, October 6, 2012 for their annual 'state of readiness' inspection by Fire Chief Kevin Koch, who was assisted by line officers as well as Town Supervisor Mary Cooke.
   Chief Koch praised his volunteers for their outstanding 24-7 commitment in handling 1100 emergency incidents to date. Supervisor Cooke echoed these sentiments by stressing the time and effort expended in providing first rate fire and EMS protection for the community.
   Meanwhile, Supervisor Cooke also congratulated Chief Koch for the recent acquisition of a new 24' Lake Assault Craft which has greatly improved firefighting and water rescue capabilities. This 'state of the art' fireboat is equipped with twin 150 HP outboard engines, a 500 GPM fire pump with deck gun, and front load ramp for water rescue purposes.
   Thanks to all of our GIFC volunteers for their exceptional accomplished to date and good luck in fulfilling future community protection responsibilities.




Damage Limited In Kitchen Fire - October 2012


   Grand Island firefighters responded to a call shortly before 1 p.m. Friday, September 28, 2012 of "smoke in a residence" which was discovered by the Love Road occupant who had returned home from a shopping trip.
   When Engine #5 and firefighting crews arrived on location within two minutes, heavy smoke was encountered throughout the interior of the home. GIFC Deputy Chief Matt Osinski stated that "unattended cooking" caused overheating which shattered the glass on a countertop electric stove. Although the fire was out upon arrival, damage was estimated at approximately $1000.
   A thermal imager was also used to rule out fire extension into nearby walls, flooring, etc. This valuable device permits firefighters to "see" into enclosed spaces to spot hidden fire and will be demonstrated at the GIFC Fire Prevention Open House on October 12th.
   All GIFC units returned in service at 1:21 p.m.




GI Fire Company Open House - October 2012


    The Grand Island Fire Company annual Open House is planned for Friday, October 12th from 5pm - 8pm at headquarters, 2275 Baseline Road. 'Sparky' the fire dog and 'Pluggie' the fire hydrant will be on hand to greet visitors. There will be "live" fire demos, hose practice for kids, and fire equipment on display. Firefighter education/safety teams will also visit elementary schools as well as pre-schools during fire prevention week October 8th-12th. Students will receive tips on how to recognize and handle various life threatening emergencies. Meanwhile, Sidway Elementary School students will travel directly to fire headquarters during the week to participate in special fire prevention exercises. The ever popular 'Ride To School In A Fire Truck' drawing will also be repeated this year, with six winners from the following schools: St. Stephen, Huth Road, Kaegebein, and Sidway. Don't forget to set aside some quality time on Friday, October 12th to meet your Grand Island firefighters/medics and their many friends.




Fire Company's Fireboat Dedication - October 2012

   The dedication of a Fireboat will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday, October 6th at Grand Island Fire Company Headquarters. This precedes the annual inspection of membership for the Fire Company state of readiness. The boat is a 24' metal hull Lake Assault Craft with twin 150 HP outboard engines, 500 GPM firefighting pump and deck gun, state of the art electronic equipment, front load ramp for water rescue capabilities, etc.




GIFC Hosts Chiavetta's Chicken BBQ - October 2012

   The Grand Island Fire Company invites the community to come celebrate and support us on our upcoming 75th anniversary. The members will host a Chiavetta's Chicken BBQ sale at 2275 Baseline Road, Grand Island Fire Headquarters from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 Thank you Grand Island, for supporting this company for 75 years.




Fire Chief Reports No Letup In Island MVAs - Sept. 2012


Grand Island firefighters work to stabilize Whitfield vehicle where it came to rest against a telephone pole it had struck.
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Fire Chief Kevin Koch reports that Grand Island firefighters/medics have had to contend with five MVA related incidents within a three-day period from August 30 through September 1. He noted that this disturbing pattern has persisted since a July 9 triple fatality on the I-190.
   At 3:40 p.m. on Thursday, August 30th, Michael Whitfield, 44, of Grand Island was treated by GIFC medics for non life threatening injuries when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a utility pole on Baseline Road across from fire headquarters. He was transported to Mt. St. Mary's Hospital for precautionary follow-up.
   Shortly before 3 p.m. Friday, August 31, firefighter/medics responded to a multi-vehicle accident on the south Grand Island Bridge, southbound, which involved three cars and a motorcycle. The cyclist, Edward Handy, 49, of Grand Island was treated by GIFC medics for serious traumatic injuries and transported to ECMC for further medical attention. A car passenger, Martin Antonio, 40, of Buffalo was treated for non life threatening injuries and also transported to ECMC for follow-up. A driver, Sheila Held, 68, of St. Catherines, Ont. was evaluated by GIFC medics and transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital as a precaution.
   Later, at 5:38 p.m. GIFC rescue personnel responded to a two-car collision on the I-190, northbound, near the Long Road exit ramp. A one-year-old child was evaluated by medics and transported to Women's and Children's Hospital along with her mother, Shenea Richie, 21, of Buffalo, for additional follow-up. The other driver, Robert Weinstock, 71 of Los Angeles denied injuries.
   At 4:10 a.m. on Saturday, September 1, Greg Golde, 28, of Grand Island, lost control of his vehicle which veered off Bush Road and damaged a nearby home. He was treated by GIFC medics for upper body injuries and transported to the Erie County Medical Center for follow-up.
   Finally, at 11:56 p.m. Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a "person in distress" and found Hemangini Desai, 58, of Alexandria, LA outside of her vehicle on the I-190 south, where she was treated by medics for a medical emergency.




Fire Company Bolsters Ranks with Four New Paramedics - August 2012


(left)Chief Koch (center) congratulates (l to R) McCormick, Turner, Cieri and Pilliod
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Fire Chief Kevin Koch is pleased to report that four Grand Island Fire Company members have completed New York State certification as paramedics, which will greatly enhance BLS/ALS community protection capabilities.
   Scott McCormick, Bob Cieri, Adrian Pilliod, and Don Turner successfully passed their NYS certification exam on August 16 after extensive academic and clinical training through an Erie Community College program.
   Good luck to these new members of the GIFC 'medic' team who are embarking on a heightened level of lifesaving community service.




Island Firefighters Prepare For School Bus Incidents - August 2012


(left) Chief Mark Sadkowski, Lt. Jeremiah Anderson, Lt. John Podlucky, Truck House Assistant Tim Krecisz and EmS Capt. Jon Cinelli.
Click photo for larger view
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Fire Chief Kevin Koch reports that several Grand Island firefighters recently completed a special school bus extrication course which better prepared responders facing an MCI (Mass Casualty Incident) involving children and their support staff - drivers, monitors, etc.
   He noted that the Grand Island School District generously donated a bus for 'hands on' training at the Sheridan Park VFD where approximately thirty western New York volunteers learned technical aspects of unique school bus construction, escape mechanisms, etc.
    Jeremiah Anderson, Jon Cinelli, Tim Krecisz, John Podlucky, and Mark Sadkowski successfully completed this two-day program on August 1.
    Congratulations to these GIFC volunteers who chose to set aside their personal lives to further expand individual as well as fire company capabilities.




Storage Barn Lost In Fast Moving Fire - August 2012


Various stages of advancing fire and fire suppression operations
Click photos for larger view
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island Firefighters responded shortly after 7 a.m. Monday, August 20, 2012 to a large storage barn on fire behind a residence at 2682 Love Road, which had been discovered by a neighbor.
   When Engine #4, Ladder Truck #6 and Engine #5 arrived on location minutes later, the barn was fully engulfed in flames which extended 20-30 feet above the structure, according to GIFC Fire Chief Kevin Koch. Despite intensive fire suppression efforts, the building sustained major damage amounting to approximately $40,000.
   Mutual aid volunteers from Sheridan Park VFD and the City of Tonawanda assisted at the scene while Brighton engine crews remained on standby at GIFC headquarters. Brighton handled an EMS emergency during firefighting operations.
   The exact cause of the fire remains under investigation by GIFC Fire Invest. Chuck Berlinger and his ECSD counterparts.
   There was no fire extension to the family home and no injuries were reported.
   All participating units returned in service by 9:18 a.m.




Bush Road/Beaver Island Parkway MVA - August 2012


Click photo for larger view
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded shortly after 3 p.m. Friday, August 10, 2012 to an MVA involving a tractor trailer and passenger vehicle at the intersection of the Beaver Island Parkway and Bush Road.
   Fire Chief Kevin Koch reported that Brandon Adcock, 24, of Suffolk, VA was pinned in the wreckage of the car he was driving and had to be extricated using "Jaws of Life" equipment. He was treated by GIFC medics for traumatic injuries and transported to Erie County Medical Center by Mercy Flight. Three other occupants, Brett Adcock, 25, of Suffolk, VA; Jeremy Selan, 25, of Charlotte, NC; and Brittany Munden, 22, of Chesapeake, VA had escaped from the damaged vehicle prior to the arrival of GIFC responders. They were stabilized and transported to ECMC for precautionary follow-up. The driver of the semi-trailer, Steven Huislzer, 41, of Niagara Falls, claimed no injuries.
   All GIFC units returned in service by 3:57 p.m. when the scene was turned over to the Erie County Sheriff's Department.




Baseline/Love Road MVA - August 2012


Click photo for larger view
GIFC rescue vehicles on standby behind overturned vehicles
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a three-car MVA at the intersection of Baseline and Love roads at 8:36 a.m. Wednesday, August 15, 2012. The force of impact caused a "rollover" of two of the vehicles according to Deputy Fire Chief Matt Osinski.
   When GIFC firefighter/medics arrived on location minutes later, all occupants had managed to escape from their damaged autos. Sherry Walsh, 65, of Grand Island sustained traumatic injuries when her car flipped over onto its roof. She was stabilized and transported to Erie County Medical Center for further medical attention. Kristen Shea, 39, of Grand Island was also treated at the scene for traumatic injuries after her vehicle had also landed upside down. She was likewise transported to ECMC for follow-up treatment. The third driver, Paul Ormsby, 59, of Grand Island, sustained minor injuries and declined hospitalization.
   Although one of the drivers' pets (dog) was lost in this horrendous crash, fire officials felt that it was miraculous that the drivers themselves avoided critical injuries or worse.
   All GIFC units returned in service at 9:47 a.m. while ECSD investigators attempted to determine the cause of this MVA.




Car/Tractor Trailer Crash on Beaver Island Parkway - August 2012

   The Grand Island Fire Company responded to a motor vehicle crash involving a car and a tractor trailer at 3:07 p.m. Friday, August 10, 2012. One patient, a 25-year-old male, required extrication. A total of five patients were evaluated with four treated, three transported to the hospital by Twin City Ambulance and one by Mercy Flight. The GIFC returned in service at 3:56 p.m. A complete story will follow.




Drivers Injured in Two-Car Collision - August 2012

   
Click photos for larger view

By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded shortly after 8:15 a.m. Monday, August 6, 2012 to a two-car MVA at the intersection of Baseline Road and Grand Island Blvd.
   Fire Chief Kevin Koch reported that John Yaeger, 67, of Grand Island was treated by GIFC medics for non-life threatening injuries and transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for precautionary follow-up. Joanne Barchus, 56, of Cheektowaga was trapped in her car and had to be extricated, stabilized, and transported to Erie County Medical Center for medical treatment of traumatic injuries.
    All GIFC units returned in service at 9:07 a.m.




Monday A.M. Multiple Car Accident - August 2012

   The Grand Island Fire Company responded to a multiple motor vehicle accident with injuries on Grand Island Blvd. at Baseline Road at 8:19 a.m. Monday, August 6. The Fire Company received the report that included information that one person was trapped in a smoking vehicle and in need of extrication and another was suffering chest pains. Two ambulances were dispatched to the scene. Full story to follow.




No Injuries In Baseline Road MVA - July 2012


One of two vehicles came to rest in ditch on west side of Baseline Road

By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded at 2:23 p.m. Tuesday, July 31, 2012 to a three-car MVA on Baseline Road near the intersection of Alvin Road.
   Although the force of impact caused two of the vehicles to careen into roadside ditches, occupants had safely exited their autos when firefighter/medics arrived on location, according to GIFC Capt. Omar Sortino. Mikael McPartlan, 33, of Cheektowaga and Kevin Kulikowski, 43, of Grand Island claimed no injuries when evaluated by GIFC medics. Jack Thompson, 66, of Grand Island claimed a minor injury and follow-up treatment was recommended.




Three Escape Injury in Head-On Collision - July 2012


GI firefighters take precautions to eliminate roadway hazards after occupants were removed to a nearby rescue vehicle for medical evaluation. Click photo for larger view

By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a two-car MVA on Baseline Road near the intersection of Bedell Road at 3:38 p.m. Wednesday, July 18th.
   Fire Chief Kevin Koch states that although this "head-on" collision caused considerable front end damage to a pickup truck and passenger van, the occupants claimed no injuries during evaluation by GIFC medics. Mary Westlake-Douds, 36, and her one-year-old son who was safely secured in a child car seat, both escaped injury. The other driver, Jacob Kolb, 34, of Buffalo, also claimed no injuries.
   All GIFC units returned in service at 4:03 p.m. when Baseline traffic was also restored.




Fire Co. Rookies Participate in Parade - July 2012


Grand Island Fire Company rookies are shown after the Independence parade. They are from left: Rich Nichols, Kristina Waz, Ambria Tim, Joe Dombrowski, Roy Wallace-Reeves, and Sean O'Donnell.
Click photo for larger view
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer





Head-on Accident causes Three Deaths - July 2012

by Ray Pauley


   Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to an MVA incident in the southbound lane of the I-190 near the Staley Road overpass shortly before 1 a.m. Monday, July 9th.
   The horrendous crash was reportedly caused by a driver who was travelling in the wrong direction and collided "head on" with another vehicle.
    According to Deputy Fire Chief Matt Osinski, this collision resulted in fatal injuries to three of the occupants: 20-year-old Shofiul Alom, 21-year-old Nazim Khan and 21-year-old Rezwan Chowdhury. In addition, Burhanur Ralman, 22, of Hamtrack, Michigan and Richard Hildebrandt, 86, of Kenmore, NY were treated by GIFC medics for traumatic injuries and transported to Erie County Medical Center for further medical attention.
   All GIFC units returned in service by 5:06a.m. after providing on scene support for NYSP accident investigators.




Holiday Inn Fire - July 2012

by Ray Pauley


   Grand Island Fighters responded shortly before 11 a.m. Sunday, July 8th to an "alarm of fire" at the Grand Island Holiday Inn, 100 Whitehaven Road.
   Fire Chief Kevin Koch reported that the entire 4th floor hallway was filled with smoke when GIFC units first arrived on location within two minutes. Holiday Inn maintenance personnel assisted firefighters in pinpointing the origin of the fire as room #455, which had been vacated earlier that morning. Meanwhile, approximately 100 guests and visitors were evacuated from the building while GIFC fire suppression crews and Engines #3, #4 and Ladder Truck #6 utilized an interior stand pipe system to commence firefighting operations. GIFC firefighters were relieved by mutual aid crews from Brighton, Sherican Park, and Kenmore VFDs at the scene. The City of Tonawanda also handled a Long Road EMS incident while on standby at GIFC Fire Headquarters.
   The fire was extinguished at 11:06 a.m. and was confined to the room of origin. Total damage (including water damage to rooms below) was estimated at $35,000 according to Fire Chief Koch. The exact cause remains "undetermined" according to GIFC Fire Investigators Chuck Berlinger and Mike DeMartin and their ECSD counterparts.
   There were no injuries to hotel guests or to the 35 GIFC firefighters and mutual aid contingents responding. All participating companies were returned in service by 12:29 p.m. after extensive overhaul was completed, although Fire Investigators continued their inquiry.




EMS Providers Recognized for Special Contributions - June 2012


(left) EMS Capt. Jon Cinelli receives thanks from Assistant Chief Mark Sadkowski, Chief Kevin Koch, and Board of Directors member Jeremy Pullano for EMS responder accomplishments.

By Ray Pauley
   Fire Chief Kevin Koch reports that over 60 Grand Island Fire Company EMS providers were recently recognized for exceptional life saving contributions to their community. These trained professionals are ready, willing, and able to handle any challenges, no matter how tough, he stressed.
   As noted during National EMS week, "EMS is more than a job, it's a calling to those who provide day to day lifesaving services as medicine's "front line." These emergency responders utilize the latest state of the art equipment to perform their BLS/ALS techniques for those in need.
   Thanks again to those 24-7 "guardians" who will always be there when called to duty.




Family Escapes Injury in Parking Lot Mishap - June 2012


Damaged vehicle came to a stop behind light pole which had been struck

By Ray Pauley
   Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded shortly before 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 19th, to a one-car MVA, which occurred in the Grand Island Plaza at 2391 Grand Island Blvd. The driver, Marie Nobilio, 32, of Grand Island, experienced a "momentary distraction" which caused her to crash into a plaza light pole, according to Deputy Fire Chief Matt Osinski. She claimed no injuries and three young passengers, ages 10, 10 and 8 years were evaluated by GIFC EMS personnel who noted that the respective parents will arrange follow-up treatment if necessary. All GIFC units returned in service at 7:05 p.m.




New EMS Rapid Response Unit Activated for Public Events - June 2012


GIFC Fire Chief Kevin Koch (center) is flanked by special operations standby crew at Relay For Life event

By Ray Pauley
   Grand Island Fire Chief Kevin Koch reports that two new specially equipped EMS 'patrol' bikes have joined GIFC special operations equipment for rapid response during major public events such as parades, block parties, fund raisers, etc. These highly mobile units can provide on the spot BLS treatment while alerting medics as well as transport, if needed.
   Their value was demonstrated at the June 8th Relay For Life event at the Grand Island High School when an 11-year-old Islander was injured by a golf cart and required EMS attention by GIFC standby crews, including the quick response bikers. After evaluation by GIFC medics, the youth was released to her parents for follow-up medical attention at approximately 9:10 p.m.




Island Home Destroyed Despite Major Firefighting Effort - June 2012

     
  

Arriving GIFC firefighters met by intense fire conditions
Nozzle team prepare rooftop attack
Charred remains of fire's aftermnath - garage and partially collapsed roof
Neiboring home damaged
Photos by Ray Pauley and Chuck Berlinger
Story by Ray Pauley


   Grand Island firefighters responded at 6:16 p.m. Monday, June 11, 2012 to a reported "structure fire" at the home of Jeremy and Elizabeth Lange, after multiple calls for GIFC assistance.
   Fire Chief Kevin Koch reported that the fire spread so quickly that the entire (unattached) garage was totally engulfed in flames when the first engine arrived on location within three minutes. Engines #3, 4, 5, and LT 6 commenced a sustained interior and exterior attack but fire suppression crews encountered difficulty in keeping pace with the fire which had penetrated the attic loft area directly beneath the roof. A ventilation crew then opened a section of the roof so that LT #6 could apply an increased volume of water to the core of the burning area. Meanwhile, mutual aid personnel from Kenmore, Ellwood, Sheridan Park and City of Tonawanda VFDs provided standby crews and also relieved exhausted GI firefighters at the scene.
   At 7:50 p.m. the fire was declared under control by Chief Koch and extensive overhaul commenced. Total damage was estimated at $150,000 to the structures and $100,000 to their contents. In addition, the fire was so intense that neighboring homes on both sides sustained siding damage amounting to approximately $16,500. GI Fire Investigators Chuck Berlinger and Mike DeMartin and their ECSD counterparts indicated that the fire started in the garage but the exact cause remains under investigaation.
   Although the homeowners escaped without injury, two Grand Island firefighters were treated at the scene for dehydration/exhaustion related problems, one for a foot injury and were relieved from duty. Additionally, nineteen others underwent rehab precedures.
   All participating units returned in service by 11:05 p.m.




Student Injured in Island School Bus MVA - June 2012

By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded at 4:25 p.m. Wednesday, May 23, 2012 to a collision involving a school bus and passenger vehicle in the driveway at Huth Road Elementary School, 1773 Huth Road.
   Thirteen students were on the bus which reportedly collided with a vehicle backing out of a parking place, and driven by Meredith Sinclair, 34, of East Aurora, who claimed no injuries. The bus driver, Faith Matione, 64, of Grand Island, also denied injuries. One 14-year-old student was treated by GIFC medics for non critical trauma, stabilized, and transported to Womens and Childrens Hospital for further medical evaluation. All other student passengers were released to their parents according to Assistant Fire Chief Chris Soluri.
   GIFC units returned in service by 5:31 p.m.




Island Firefighters Celebrate 74 Years of Community Service - May 2012

   
#1 Jeremy Pullano cradles 20-year award as Deputy Chief Matt Osinski (left), Pres. Gorman and Board Chair Butcher look on.
#2 Greg Butcher receives 20-year Life Memembership certificate from Gail Lazenby as Dep. Chief Osinski and Pres. Gorman look on
#3 Ladies Auxiliary President Nicole Butcher informs audience of special Firefighters Memorial Gift.

By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

    President Tammy Gorman welcomed firefighters, spouses, town officials, and special guests to share in the Grand Island Fire Company's 74th anniversary celebration.
   This year, fourteen members reached personal milestones within the GIFC. Two individuals received prestigious 20-year "Life" memberships. In a surprise move, former board chairman Gail Lazenby, now a Florida EMS specialist, presented Greg Butcher with his special award, noting that he has reached the highest level of leadership within the GIFC, as well as Erie County Emergency Services. In addition, Jeremy Pullano, a paramedic and member of the Board of Directors, was also singled out for his 20-year lifetime achievements.
   Pres. Gorman also introduced the 2012 "rookie" class of new firefighters as follows: Joe Dombrowski, Rich Nichols, Dan Olzewski, Roy Wallace-Reeves, Ambria Tim and Kristen Waz.
   Current Board Chairman Greg Butcher took great pride in noting that the state of the GIFC is better than ever, with unprecedented success in the areas of recruitment, an expanded cadet program, and those dedicated members who unhesitatingly expend "thousands of hours" towards the protection of their community. The 2012 acquisition of a new Marine Unit craft will enhance GIFC's firefighting and rescue capabilities. Such fiscally responsible expansion bodes well for the future of all concerned, he stressed.
   Ladies Auxiliary President Nicole Butcher also presented a special $300 gift to the GIFC Memorial Fund and received thanks for this generous contribution.
   Thanks to all our FIFC "volunteers" for their lifetime of service to their community.
Service Awards
Five Years: Ryan Ayers, Phil Mastantuono, Chris Russell, Saed Shyafie, Don Turner
Ten Years: Ed Krecisz, Tammy Gorman
25 Years - Robert Aronica, Michael DeMartin
30 years: Glenn Pelham
45 years: Gary Roesch, Herbert Kranzmann




Motorists Escape Injury In Beaver Pkwy. MVA - May 2012


"T-boned" Roberts vehicle with driver's side damage

By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded at 11:25 a.m. Sunday, May 13, 2012 to a two-car collision at the intersection of Beaver Island Parkway and Bush Road. Both drivers had safely exited their vehicles prior to the arrival of GIFC medics but claimed no injuries. All GIFC units returned in service at 11:48 a.m.




Early Morning Fire Destroys Beaver Island Golf Pro Shop - May 2012


#1 Frontal view of extent of damage; #2 Attack crew reracking hose lines; #3 GIFC Chiefs conferring at rear access door - Click photo for larger view

By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island firefighters responded at 6:20 a.m. Friday, May 11 to a reported "structure fire at Beaver Island State Park which had been discovered by a jogger who used his cell phone to alert the GIFC.
   When Grand Island Fire Chief Kevin Koch arrived on location within four minutes, a huge volume of smoke and flames had already broken through the roof of building #5 - the golf course pro shop, across from the Beaver Island Club. Despite the sustained efforts of fire suppression crews utilizing Engines ##3, #4, #5 and LT#6, the fire had gotten such a head start that the building could not be saved and was considered a total loss according to Chief Koch.
   GIFC Fire Investigator Chuck Berlinger confirmed that the actual cause remains under investigation by himself and his counterparts from the ECSD and NYSP. Total damage was estimated at $175,000 to the structure and contents.
   A Sheridan Park VFD engine crew also remained on mutual aid standby at GIFC headquarters during firefighting operations.
   All participating units returned in service at 8:46 a.m. except for investigators who remained at the scene indefinitely.
ADDENDUM: Chief Koch later advised TV media that suspicious circumstances prompted him to call in additional law enforcement investigators. Likewise, a golfer at the scene reported that buildings had been vandalized and a cash register dragged out into the nearby woods, leading him to believe that arson was involved.



Driver, Passenger Escape Serious Injury in Island MVA - April 2012


GIFC Assistant Chief Mark Sadkowski directs firefighting crew checking heavily damaged vehicle where it came to rest after striking pole. Click photo for larger view

By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded at shortly before 8 a.m. Saturday, April 28, 2012 to a one-car MVA at the intersection of East River and North Colony roads in front of the Riverstone Grill. The vehicle reportedly failed to negotiate a sharp curve, hit a guardrail and ricocheted across the roadway into a utility pole.
   A passenger, Mariah Jackson, 21, of Ransomville, NY exited the vehicle prior to the arrival of GIFC firefighter/medics and claimed no injuries. Ashley Boys, 23, of West Seneca, NY was also evaluated but denied injuries and refused hospitalization.
   Assistant Fire Chief Chris Soluri reported all GIFC units in service at 8:31 a.m. and the incident was turned over to the Erie County Sheriff's Department for further investigation.




Island Driver Injured In Vehicle Rollover - April 2012


Rollover vehicle after landing off the roadway on its roof

By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
Chuck Berlinger photo - Click for larger view

   Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a two-car collision on the Whitehaven Road/I-190 overpass at 5:41 p.m. Friday, April 20, 2012.
   The force of impact caused one vehicle to roll over at least three times, landing on its roof, according to witnesses. Nevertheless, the driver was able to escape prior to the arrival of Fire Chief Kevin Koch, firefighters, and EMS crews. Joe Knab, 27, of Grand Island was treated by GIFC medics for non life-threatening injuries, stabilized, and transported to the Erie County Medical Center for precautionary medical attention. Two occupants of the other vehicle, Gordon Miller, 75, and Barbara Miller, 78, of Niagara Falls claimed no injuries.
   All GIFC units returned in service at 6:30 p.m. according to Chief Koch.




Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction - An Everpresent Threat - April 2012

By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   On Monday, April 15 at Grand Island Fire Headquarters, instructor Dave Tolejko conducted a special training session on Terrorist activity which has become an ever-present danger in our modern society.
   As a nation, we must now cope with global as well as "home grown" terrorism as evidenced by the 1993 World Trade Center bomb attack, 1995 Oklahoma City Federal Bldg. bombing, 2001 Twin Tower mass destruction by al Quida agents, and most recent 2010 Times Square car bomb incident, to name a few..
   Tolejko emphasized that terrorists seek vulnerable targets of opportunity where maximum damage and causalities will instill fear into the populace. Accordingly, the first responder must be alert for secondary explosive devices as well as other life threatening dangers as associated with chemical, biological, and radiological agents. The incident commander must establish safety perimeters, arrange triage for victims, and decontamination if necessary..
   Interagency coordination/cooperation is essential in a terrorist attack since all available resources will be needed. Such an attack will be treated as a haz mat incident as such and ultimate control will rest with the FBI. Above all, the first responder/firefighter/medic must not risk his/her own personal safety or the rescuer becomes a victim and part of the problem at hand..
   Another valuable lesson learned is that although terrorism can occur in any community, an alert public has been instrumental in defusing many terrorist acts before real damage is done. Such courageous intervention is a formidable and effective aspect of this never-ending war on terror and demonstrates the individualís unshakable faith in our free democratic society.




Grand Island Fire Company Conducts PALS Training - April 2012


GIFC medic "team" of Dave Tolejko (left) and Joe Torregrossa, practice proper CPR techniques on lifelike infant

By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer


   Grand Island Fire Company conducted a special PALS (Pediatric Advance Life Support) recertification course at fire headquarters on Saturday, April 14, 2012. Twenty-four EMS providers including the GIFC, Town of Tonawanda, and Rural Metro Ambulance Service, participated in this 6 1/2-hour session, geared to the latest American Heart Association guidelines, according to lead instructor Patrick 'Sean" Manning, a GIFC paramedic.
   Classroom students learned current techniques used to insure early recognition of circulatory and breathing emergencies in infants. GIFC Medical Advisor Barbara Stouter, M.D. highlighted critical aspects of the treatment process encompassing evaluation, identification, and intervention. Hands-on exercises were calculated to provide effective coronary perfusion pressure in tune with the development of maximum lifesaving skills during CPR. AED application was also utilized as a significant resuscitation tool. As in almost all EMS and firefighting situations, a "teamwork" approach was considered equally valuable in PALS lifesaving efforts.
   Thanks to all these dedicated professionals who give freely of their own time to attain and exceptional "blueprint for success" in fulfilling community protection duties.




Island Drivers Hospitalized in Two-car Collision - April 2012


GIFC EMS personnel in background stabilize victims behind extensively damaged vehicles on Grand Island Blvd. and its adjacent shoulder.

By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
Click photo for larger view


   Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday, April 12, 2012 to a two-car MVA at 2800 Grand Island Blvd. between Bedell Road and Industrial Drive.
   Assistant Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski reported that Brittany Justice, 22, and Sarah Kaifas, 37, both of Grand Island, were treated at the scene by GIFC medics for non life-threatening injuries. Both drivers were transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for precautionary medical attention. A 23-month-old child/passenger secured in a car seat, was evaluated and turned over to her father with no apparent injuries.
   All GIFC units returned in service at 5:52 p.m. when Grand Island Blvd. was reopened to normal traffic.




Island Homeowner Injured in Kitchen Fire - April 2012

By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island firefighters responded at 6:16 p.m. Thursday, April 12, 2012 to a kitchen fire at a Royal Oak Circle residence.
   Fire Chief Kevin Koch stated that Linda Laurendi tried to remove a burning pan of cooking oil from her stove when she sustained second degree burns to the hands. She was treated at the scene by GIFC EMS personnel and transported to the Erie County Medical Center for additional medical follow-up.
   There was no fire extension to the structure itself according to Chief Koch who also reported no damage.
   All GIFC units returned in service at 6:38 p.m.




Two Injured In Head-On Collision - March 2012


GIFC extrication crew using 'Jaws of Life' cutting tools to free Whitford from his vehicle which had been impacted on the driver's side

By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
Click photo for larger view


   Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded at 1:12 p.m. Monday, March 26, 2012 to a two-car MVA on Baseline Road between Love and Staley roads.
   One driver reportedly lost control of her vehicle due to a temporary distraction and crashed into the front end of another auto driven by William Whitford, 87, of Grand Island. He was removed from his badly damaged vehicle by a GIFC extrication crew directed by Deputy Fire Chief Matt Osinski. Whitford was stabilized by GIFC medics and transported by ambulance to Erie County Medical Center for further treatment according to Fire Chief Kevin Koch. The other driver, Diane Pasek of Niagara Falls was treated for non life threatening injuries and also transported to ECMC for precautionary follow-up.
   Baseline Road was reopened to traffic shortly after 2 p.m. when all GIFC units returned in service according to Chief Koch.




Island Firefighters Battle Marshlands Fire For Five Hours - March 2012


Grassland fire approaching firefighter positions


Firefighting nozzle team holding their attack position Storage area threatened by advancing fire


Storage area threatened by advancing fire.

By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
Photos by Firefighters Berlinger, Benoit and O'Donnell - CLICK FOR LARGER VIEW

   Grand Island firefighters responded at shortly before 3 p.m. Friday, March 16, 2012 to a report of "a large outside fire" in Buckhorn State Park near the North Grand Island Bridge.
   When GIFC Assistant Chief Mark Sadkowski arrived on location with Engines #3, #4 and #5, it was discovered that a broken high voltage transmission line had ignited tinder dry marshlands just southeast of Burntship Creek. Wind gusts had caused the fire to spread across the channel which then threatened a construction storage area containing several vehicles, a large propane tank, as well as a sizeable gasoline tank. Because this potential hazard was within 100 feet of the north bridge toll booth and southbound traffic, the first priority was protecting against a dangerous life threatening explosion, stated Sadkowski. GIFC ground attack crews cut off the fire and prevented it from advancing into this critical location.
   Although approximately 10 acres were involved, heavy fog began to drift in to blanket the affected area and this helped to dampen remaining hot spots which were inaccessible and eventually burned themselves out.
   During this extended operation, GIFC medics also responded to an EMS incident, and a Sheridan Park VFD mutual aid crew answered a fire alarm at the Holiday Inn which proved to be an alarm panel malfunction.
   Exhausted GIFC and other participating units finally returned in service at 7:47 p.m.




Construction Worker Injured in Roofing Mishap - March 2012


Accident victim Nigro being stabilized by GIFC EMS personnel prior to transport

By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   The Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded shortly before 1 p.m. Friday, March 9, 2012 to a construction accident at a Gregory Place residence.
   Fire Chief Kevin Koch reported that Chris Nigro, 34, of Cheektowaga, NY had fallen approximately 10 feet off an attached garage where he had been working on a roofing job. Within two minutes, cervical stabilization was initiated and the patient was transported to Erie County Medical Center for further treatment.
   All GIFC units returned in service at 1:13 p.m. according to Chief Koch.




Swimmer Pulled From Niagara River - March 2012

By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   At 11:22 a.m. on Wednesday, March 7th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a report of "a person in the water" in the vicinity of 2196 West Oakfield Rd. which is located between Beaver Island State Park and Bush Rd. A West Oakfield resident was looking out her window when she noticed something bobbing up and down in the Niagara River. She immediately ran to get her binoculars, identified a person in distress, and called 911 for emergency assistance. The GIFC Marine Unit was activated while other rescuers proceeded directly to the scene.
    GIFC Fire Police Capt. Don Portik arrived on location within minutes and found 34-year-old Ben Edelin of Buffalo clinging to a dock and assisted him to shore. Ten minutes earlier, Edelin reportedly decided to go for a swim in water estimated to be 34 degrees, and left his belongings at Beaver Island State Park. Edelin was treated by GIFC medics for hypothermia and minor cuts and bruises and transported to ECMC for precautionary follow-up. Fire officials believe that if Edelin had remained in the water another ten minutes there could have been fatal consequences.




Wastewater Plant Damaged by Trash Fire - March 2012

By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island firefighters responded shortly before 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 1 to a "large fire" in a garage area discovered by Wastewater Plant Operator Ken Kinderman at 3500 Baseline Road, who reported heavy black smoke in the converted filter building.
   Deputy Fire Chief Matt Osinski stated that Engine #4, Engine #5, and Ladder Truck #6 supported fire suppression crews who had the fire under control 11 minutes after initial attack was commenced. The entire operation took approximately 25 minutes from the actual time of alarm until the fire was extinguished and overhaul began.
   GIFC Fire Investigator Chuck Berlinger confirmed that the cause of fire appeared to be improper disposal of refuse, including oily rags, which ignited (possible spontaneous combustion) in a plastic garbage container next to a desk and spread upward to an adjoining wall. Total damage was estimated at $15,000 to the structure and an additional $5000 to the contents. Several parked vehicles escaped fire damage and were later driven out of the damaged building by plant employees. Chief Operator Ian James indicated that plant operations have continued with no major disruption although electrical/bldg. repairs are now underway.
   Meanwhile, a Sheridan Park VFD "FAST" team was dispatched to the scene as a safety precaution, and a City of Tonawanda mutual aid crew remained on standby at GIFC fire headquarters until services were no longer needed.
   All participating units returned in service by 7:19 p.m. according to Deputy Chief Osinski.




Firefighters Handle Simultaneous Incidents - March 2012


GIFC firefighters finishing up fire operations at 1607 Love Road

Don Turner Photo
By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   The Grand Island Fire Company Dispatch Center was contacted at 4:37 p.m. Friday, February 24 by a Love Road homeowner who reported "an electrical odor" which could not be traced to a source.
   Fire Chief Kevin Koch reports that when the first firefighters arrived on location minutes later, flames, fanned by high wind gusts, were shooting out of the front of the structure near the doorway. The occupants had already vacated the house as instructed and were not injured, he noted. Utilizing E-4's available equipment and suppression crews, the fire was extinguished within 16 minutes and was kept from breaking through into the interior. Structural damage to the exterior wall, etc. was estimated at approximately $5000 according to Chief Koch. During the interim, a Sheridan Park VFD mutual aid contingent remained on standby at GIFC headquarters.
   Meanwhile, during overhaul operations at 5:02 p.m., GIFC firefighters received another emergency call of a tree falling on primary power lines in the vicinity of 2045 Bush Road near Baseline Road. E-5 and a standby crew were assisted by ECSD Deputies and Grand Island Town Police in establishing a safety zone and controlling traffic. Shortly after 6 p.m. a National Grid repair crew arrived, shut down power to local residents, and began remedial measures.
   GIFC units finally returned in service at 6:13 p.m.




Fire Co. CPR Skills Shared With Community - March 2012


VFW members learn lifesaving skills by using practice mannequins

By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Fire Chief Kevin Koch confirms that Grand Island Fire Company CPR instructors, in conjunction with the American Heart Association, will continue community outreach efforts to offer lifesaving training to local groups and organizations that have expressed a need.
   Consequently, on February 12, GIFC paramedics Lance Kohn and Dave Tolejko conducted a special training session for members of the VFW Post 9249 and their auxiliary members. Initial training had taken place two years ago when public access AEDs were first put into use at the Post.
   For additional information on future training arrangements, contact the GIFC at 773-4334.
   Meanwhile, new recruits, among others, received intensive CPR training from GIFC State instructors at fire headquarters on Monday, February 20. These "rookies" will receive several months of life saving instruction along with firefighting training in order to more fully join their seasoned teammates in community protection duties.




Three-Car MVA Injuries Two Islanders - February 2012


(left) E-3 in standby position behind one of damaged vehicles - (right) Remaining gas service meter in front of Realty building after damaged one had been removed by National Fuel repair crews

By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday, February 14, 2012 to a three-car collision on Whitehaven Road near the intersection of Baseline Road.
   Fire Chief Kevin Koch determined that one of the vehicles in question had careened off the roadway, rupturing a gas meter at the Town Center Realty building, thereby creating a hazardous explosive threat at the scene. A safety zone was immediately established while Engine #3 and a fire fighting crew stood by with a charged hose line, the gas was shut down and building ventilation was conducted.
   Meanwhile, seven individuals were evaluated by GIFC Medics for non life threatening injuries. Michelle Huff, 46, of Grand Island and a 16-year-old passenger were transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for precautionary follow-up. Sheena Schul, 23, of Niagara Falls claimed no injuries. In addition, Harjinder Singh, 33 and Balwinder Garha, 38, of Toronto, Canada, and two infant children were uninjured and transportation was arranged for this stranded family.
   All GIFC units returned in service at 5:22 p.m. after National Fuel repair crews arrived and assumed control of their damaged natural gas service equipment.




Island Firefighters/Medics Handle Back to Back MVAs - February 2012


MVA victim treated by GIFC medics within safety zone set up adjacent to Grand Island Blvd.

By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded shortly before 4 p.m. Sunday, February 5 to a two-car collision on Grand Island Blvd. across from Tops Market.
   Assistant Fire Chief Chris Soluri reports that Puneet Brar, 27, of Grand Island was treated for non life threatening extremity injuries by GIFC medics and transported to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center for follow-up medical attention. Four other individuals were evaluated but declined hospitalization and all GIFC units returned in service at 4:30 p.m.
   Shortly thereafter at 4:45 p.m. another two-car MVA occurred at Fix Road and Alt Blvd. Deputy Chief Matt Osinski reports that seven persons were evaluated by GIFC medics, including four children, ages 14, 12, 12, and 11. All individuals refused hospitalization, but family physician follow-up was recommended for two of the children who sustained minor "bumps and bruises." All GIFC units returned in service at 5:16 p.m.




Three Islanders Hospitalized After Carbon Monoxide Exposure - January 2012

    Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded at 2:36 a.m. Friday, January 27, 2012 to a third party caller's report of "persons in distress" at 20 River Oaks Drive.
   Firefighters/Medics made repeated attempts to gain access when they arrived on location six minutes later, and were finally admitted by a disoriented occupant. Surya Yadavilli, 36; Chandana, 29; and a 13-month-old child were immediately evacuated from the residence and given life support treatment for exposure to "dangerously high" levels of CO which reached 300 PPM according to GIFC Capt. Shawn Kephart. They were then transported to Mount St. Mary's Hospital for oxygen deprivation treatment in a hyperbaric chamber, according to GIFC Medic Jon Cinelli.
   Fire officials noted that any additional delay could have resulted in tragic (fatal) consequences.
   Grand Island Fire Chief Kevin Koch also points out that the February 2010 Amanda's Law mandates CO detectors for all residences in New York State. Functioning CO detectors would have given this family advance "life saving" warning but were not known to be in use. The cause of such a CO buildup to a life threatening level such as encountered in this instance can usually be attributed to a defective furnace/exhaust system, however National Fuel has not yet made such a determination.
   Fire Chief Koch stressed that having a working CO detector is a small price to pay for your safety or life.
   After the home was completely ventilated, all GIFC units returned in service by 3:48 a.m.


Fire Company Chili Sale - January 2012

   The annual Grand Island Fire Company Chili Sale will take place Saturday, Feb 4th at the hall, located at 2275 Baseline Road. Plenty of Chili will be made and sold in quarts from 11:00 a.m. until ?.




Island Firefighters Install 2012 Officers - January 2012

    
(left) Chief Koch congratulated by Assemblyman Ryan after swearing in ceremony.
New recruits hold Training Certificates of Completion - Scott Shaw, Tim Krecisz, Dan Mathes and Ryan Mock next to Chief Koch and Assistant Chief Sadkowski
Ladies Auxiliary officers (left) Danielle Soluri, Nancy Amato, Barbara Wilson, Darcey Golde, Julie Meyer, Mary Becker, Heidi McCormick and President Nicole Butcher

  
(left) 2012 Firematic Officers Jon Cinelli, Don Portik, Mark Sadkowski, Chief Koch, Matt Osinski, Omar Sortino, Shawn Kephart and Jeremy Pullano
Greg Butcher and Chief Koch look on as President Tammy Gorman presents the President's Award to Jourdain Benoit

By Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan administered the oath of office to newly elected Grand Island Fire Company officers on Saturday, January 14 at fire headquarters, 2275 Baseline Road. Both firematic and administrative officers were sworn to uphold their community protection duties. Assemblyman Ryan was joined by State, County and Town officials, other special guests and family members in praising the 24-7 emergency response commitment of these GIFC volunteers, who represent our special "hometown heroes" that we all have come to depend on so much.
   Ass. Ryan also congratulated GIFC Board of Directors Chairman Greg Butcher, who was recently appointed to the position of Deputy Commissioner of Civil Defense and Disaster Preparedness by Erie County Executive Mark Polancarz.
   It was noted that Kevin Koch begins his second term as Fire Chief and will be joined by Deputy Chief Matt Osinski, 1st, Asst. Chief Chris Soluri, 2nd Asst. Chief Mark Sadkowski, Fire Captains Ed Krecisz, Shawn Kephart, Omar Sortino; Fire Police Capt. Don Portik; EMS Captains Jon Cinelli and Jeremy Pullano.
   President Tammy Gorman will be assisted by Vice President Don Turner, Line Secretary Tony Mastantuono, and Recording Secretary Laurie Berry. Reed Wright was returned to the Board of Review and Robert "Butch" Meyer will continue to serve as a Benevolent Assoc. Trustee. Dave Khreis was also returned to the position of Sgt.-at-Arms.
   Nicole Gerber is serving as Financial Secretary and Communications Supervisor Steve Morgan holds the position of Treasurer.
   Dave Tolejko was returned to another three-year term on the Board of Directors, while Jeremy Pullano begins his first term.
   Ladies Auxiliary President Nicole Butcher introduced her 2012 officers as follows: Vice President Julie Meyer, Secretary Heidi Sue McCormick, Treasurer Danielle Soluri, Sgt.-At-Arms Teddy Linenfelser, Chaplain Mary Becker, and Trustees Nancy Amato, Darcy Golde and Barbara Wilson.
   Chief Koch presented special commendations to firefighters and medics Rick Pelham, Lance Kohn, Dale Mock, Steve LaMarco, Saed Shafie, and John Podlucky for successfully resuscitating an individual in full cardiac arrest on July 27, 2011.
   Chief Koch also commended Greg Butcher, Chuck Berlinger, Mark Sadkowski, Tony Mastantuono and Dave Dombrowski for "setting aside their personal lives" to assist flood victims in Schohaarie, NY on August 28, 2011.
   Capt. Omar Sortino received a "Training Excellence Award" for his exceptional training contributions throughout 2011, which included his participation in 44 drills and response to over 300 emergency incidents.
   In addition, Sortino and Tony Mastantuono were commended for their invaluable training efforts in implementing a mandatory safety escape system for all interior firefighters.
   "Top Ten" responders for 2011 were led by Ray Pauley with 740 calls. Others in sequential order are Rick Pelham, Peter McMahon, Skip Mrkall, Greg Butcher, Mark Sadkowski, Kevin Koch, Pete Coppola, Jourdain Benoit and Dan Mathes.
   Benoit also received a special President's Award for his outstanding administrative assistance which extended "well beyond" normal duties.
   New recruits who completed intensive 2011 "rookie" training requirements are Dan Mathes, Ryan Mock, Tim Krecisz and Scott Shaw.
   Congratulations to all those who have accomplished so much during 2011, and good luck to the 2012 GIFC leadershp team.


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