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Grand Island Fire Company News 2013

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 2013: 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 Captains Jon Cinelli & Jeremy Pullano; Fire Police Captain Don Portik

Administrative Officers 2013: President Tammy Jo Gorman; Vice President Charles Picone; Treasurer Anthony Mastantuono; Financial Secretary Nicole Gerber; Line Secretary Laurie Berry; Recording Secretary Edith Racz and Sgt.-at-Arms David Khreis.

Board of Directors 2013: Gregory J. Butcher, David C. Tolejko, Paul D. Gorman, Stephen M. Stouter, Jeremy Pullano, Pete A. McMahon, Peter Sukmanowski





Island Spared Worst of Ice Storm Damage - December 2013


Mary Stewart Photos

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
    Fire Chief Kevin Koch reports that Grand Island firefighters responded to twelve storm related incidents during a seven hour period on Sunday, December 22nd. Most of these early morning calls involved instances of flooding, power lines down, and transformer failure, but no major structural damage.
Emergency responses began at 3:58 a.m. with a Staley Rd. flooded basement call. Other responses were:.
4:17 a.m. at West Park Rd. for a blown transformer which caused a local power outage.
5:03 a.m. at East River Rd. for a fire alarm which was accidental in nature.
5:17 a.m. at Baseline Rd. for a tree limb on a power line which caused arcing – National Grid notified.
5:57 a.m. at Kirkwood Dr. for primary lines down – National Grid notified..
6:18 a.m. at Whitetail Run for flooded basement.
7:09 a.m. at Baseline Rd. for a second call at this location for arcing power lines - National Grid notified.
8:07 a.m. at West River Rd. for wires down – phone and cable companies notified.
8:30 a.m. at Whitehaven Rd. for power lines down – notify National Grid.
9:03 a.m. at Carl Rd. for CO detector call – no hazard found.
9:30 a.m. at Baseline Rd. for a tree branch on power lines National Grid notified.
11:08 a.m. at The Commons for a CO detector alarm found to be a low non hazardous PPM reading.




Island ATV Operator Seriously Injured in Off Road Accident - December 2013

The Special Operations Unit crew after completion of successful rescue efforts.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
    At 2:23 p.m. on Saturday, December 14th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a reported ATV accident in a wooded area approximately ¾ miles north west of 1700 Whitehaven Road near the National Grid power line right of way. The victim, 19 year-old Greg Van Norman of Grand Island, was located by GIFC Ass’t Chief Chris Soluri about 10 minuets later. He had reportedly crossed a creek bed when his ATV overturned and fell on him. causing serious traumatic injury to his lower extremities. Shortly thereafter, he was stabilized and moved to a waiting ambulance by a GIFC Special Operations Unit crew, and then to ECMC for medical treatment.
    Deputy Fire Chief Matt Osinski noted that Buffalo 911 operators assisted the GIFC in locating the victim of “pinging” off his cell phone. Fire officials concluded that if not for the phone, Greg probably would not have survived the extreme weather conditions (wind chill factor near zero), since he was alone and there were no other travelers in the immediate area. All GIFC units returned in service at 3:28 p.m.
   GIFC Ass’t Chief Chris Soluri was initially alerted to this emergency ATRV accident during his assignment as an Erie County Sheriffs Deputy and continued to work closely with law enforcemenft officers and members of the GIFC until there was a successful conclusion.




Island Driver Uninjured After Collision with Utility Pole - December 2013

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   At 3:11 a.m. on Monday, December 9th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a one car MVA in the vicinity of 2068 Whitehaven Rd. near Center Terrace. GIFC Capt. Omar Sortino reports that the driver, Joseph Galante, a 23 year old Grand Island resident, claimed no injuries, although the force of impact broke the pole into four separate pieces. A transformer was hanging in mid air, suspended by power lines. A safety zone was established to divert traffic until the National Grid repair crew arrived on scene. A repairman later stated that nearby residents encountered only a brief localized power disruption. All GIFC units returned in service by 8:34 a.m.




Osinski Elected 2014 Fire Chief - December 2013

From left: new Fire Chief Matt Osinski with outgoing Chief Kevin Koch.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   Grand Island firefighters chose 2014 firematic and administrative officers during annual elections held on Wednesday, December 4th at fire headquarters, 2275 Baseline Road.
   Matt Osinski ran unopposed for his first term as Fire Chief and will be joined by Deputy Chief Chris Soluri, 1st Ass't Chief Mark Sadkowski, 2nd Ass't Chief Omar Sortino; Fire Captains John Podlucky, Shawn Kephart, Dan Mathes, and Fire Police Capt. Don Portik.
   Chuck Picone starts his first term as President after serving in the position of Vice-President the previous year. Other administrative officers are Financial Secretary Nicole Gerber and Sgt At Arms Dave Khreis. Several vacant positions will be filled by appointment at a later date. Jourdain Benoit begins his first term on the Board of Review, while Norm Mrkall and Kevin Koch will serve as Benevolent Assoc. Trustees. Greg Butcher returns to another three year term on the Board of Directors, while Pete Coppola was newly elected. Congratulations and good luck to these members who have joined the GIFC leadership team!




Driver Sustains Minor Injuries in Island MVA - December 2013

Captain John Podlucky checks damage.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   Shortly before 1:00 p.m. on Monday, December 2nd, Grand Island firefighters responded to a one car traffic accident on Alvin Rd. near Fuccillo Chevrolet. Fire Chief Kevin Koch reports that 17 year old Julie Shipman of Fix Rd. lost control of her vehicle, which left the roadway and careened into a 6' deep drainage ditch, just missing a nearby utility pole. Despite heavy front end damage to the auto, the driver sustained minor injuries only and declined hospitalization. GIFC units returned to service by 1:36 p.m. after the wreckage was removed and normal traffic was restored.




Island Firefighters Embrace Wag'N 02 Fur Life Program - December 2013

Center of photo Fire Chief Kevin Koch and Deputy Chief Matt Osinski with Mayer, Kozlowski and Maddi families

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   Fire Chief Kevin Koch reports that a group of concerned citizens recently domated several life saving rescue breathing units for family pets that have been overcome by smoke/noxious fumes during a fire emergency. These units will be placed on rescue and chief's vehicles along with other EMS equipment that is readily available to on scene responders. Members of the Mayer, Kozlowski and Maddi families took money out of their own pockets to purchase this specialized equipment for the Grand Island Fire Company so that "furry" family members would have that extra chance for survival in any fire related threat. Their exceptional personal motivation was inspired by the Wag'N 02 Fur Life L.L.C., an educational and public safety organization dedicated to providing pet oxygen masks to first responders across North America to help them save animal lives following structural fires. Thanks again to these community minded individuals for their life saving assistance to their GIFC.




Island Firefighters Receive Helping Hand from Allstate - December 2013

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
    Fire Chief Kevin Koch reports that the Grand Island Fire Company has been awarded a 2013 “Hands in the Community” contribution through the Mastantuono Allstate Agency. The $1000 grant will be used to purchase a new Drager multigas meter, to replace an eight year old unit which measures carbon monoxide, oxygen, and hydrogen sulfide levels in the atmosphere. He noted that the GIFC has responded to 22 CO calls during September, October and November 2013, although this “silent killer” has caused no serious incapacities or fatalities during that time. Chief Koch commends the Mastantuono Agency for its long standing commitment to the GIFC and its community protection goals. Anthony Mastantuono.


Country Glen Apartment Fire Causes No Damage - November 2013

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
    Shortly after midnight on Sunday, November 3rd, Grand Island firefighters responded to a report of "light smoke" in the Country Glen Apartment complex on Bedell Road. A tenant smelled something like burning plastic coming from an apartment below and immediately called 911 for emergency GIFC assistance. Deputy Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that ECSD deputies used forcible entry to the involved apartment where the 26 year-old occupant had retired for the evening after leaving food on the stove. Although fire suppression was unnecessary, ventilation was undertaken to rid the area of smoke and toxic fumes, and no damage was reported to the stove or surrounding structure. All GIFC units returned in service at 12:24 a.m.




GIFC Dispatchers Receive “Active Shooter Incident” Training - October 2013

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
    On October 15th, the Genesee County Sheriffs Department hosted a special APCO (Association of Public Safety Communications Officials) training session dealing with active shooter incidents, which have become a major cause for concern in our contemporary society. An active shooter is defined as “an armed person who has used deadly force on other persons and continues to do so while having unrestricted access to additional victims.”
   Attendees, Grand Island Fire Company Communication Supervisor Steve Morgan and Ass’t Comm. Super. Dave Dombrowski agreed that dispatchers are a critical link in the chain of events that require first responder and law enforcement presence at the scene. They must glean enough accurate information from the caller to determine the extent of scene safety – is shooting still taking place?, how many shooters are there?, how many are injured?, what is the location of shooters and injured as best known? etc. Keeping open lines of communication with the caller, responding units and incident command when established will facilitate the application of necessary resources while eliminating confusion and/or uniformed decision making. In addition to injured victims, there is also the ever present danger of perpetrators setting fires or planting explosives. As a result, scene safety will continue as a top priority for responding firefighters, as well as EMS personnel.
   The media can also play an important role in warning the public to stay away from the affected areas such as school grounds or a public shopping mall. The dispatcher can function as an important asset in dispelling false rumors of inaccurate information by working closely with his company OIC and PIO. It was pointed out that “critical incident stress” can affect trained professionals as well as private citizens who may be involved. Stress debriefing procedures should be in place to deal with such eventualities. It is therefore essential that the dispatcher or “telecommunicator” be positive and competent in his role as a trained professional and future GIFC training will concentrate on these objectives.




Fire Company 2nd Annual Halloween BBQ - October 2013

    The Grand Island Volunteer Fire Company is hosting its 2nd Annual Halloween Chiavetta's Chicken Barbecue dinner fundraiser on Thursday, October 31st from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the fire hall, 2275 Baseline Road. Tickets are $9 and include ½ chicken, macaroni salad, green salad and roll & butter. Proceeds will be used to build a GI Fire Company Training Maze See flyer.




Grand Island Fire Company Annual Open House - October 2013


Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
    Slideshow
   Over 2000 Sidway Elementary School students and Open House visitors came to Fire headquarters on Thursday, October 10, 2013. They learned about the GI Fire Company volunteers, equipment and operational Capabilities.
   In a spectacular live demo, amazed onlookers watched as a simulation bedroom fire erupted into a blazing inferno a few scant minutes after ignition. A stark reminder of the urgency in exiting a burning home. In addition, a hose practice for kids, safety exercises such as "Stop, Drop and Roll", and many agencies contributed to the overall program. Among participants were the Erie County Sheriff Office Mounted Division, Bomb Squad and Air One Helicopter. Also, the New York State Police, GI Police, Twin City Ambulance, Homeland Security Special Response Team, GI CERT Team, Masonic Lodge and Sheriff Office child identity units, Wendleville Volunteer Fire Department Smoke House Trailer, Getzville Volunteer Fire Department Water Rescue and the Sheridan Park ladder truck.

   Ride to School in Firetruck Winners
Huth Road - Tuesday 10/15 9:00 a.m.
Thomas Dworak, Tyler Dworak, Jillian Manus, Angelina Beyer, Samuel May, Ethan Szaflarski, Gurkirat Gill, Ashley Maras

Sidway - Wednesday 10/16 9:00 a.m.
Zachary Vinkle, Melaina Taylor, Kaityn Stedman-Pate, George Woloszyn, Omar Shaibi, Hannah Hiscock, Alper Celik, Judah Chapman

St. Stephens Thursday 10/17 8:45 a.m.
Tyler Gardner, Robert Meinhold, Chase Luthringer, Blake Pyc, Kelly Coghlan, Maria Pawelczyk, Victoria Garland

Kaegebein Friday 10/18 9:00 a.m.
Ryan Michki, Brady Fitzsimmons, Natalle Martineck, Ella Rudney, Nikolas Massaro, Madison Phinney, Reese Weigel

Model Fire Truck winners are Alivia Manzo, Colin Hurley and Sean Nemeth.

   

Left: Fire Chief Kevin Koch with Legislator Hardwick
Right: Chief Koch with Kiersten Winstel and her mom.

    At the Open House, Fire Chief Kevin Koch received a special fire prevention week proclamation from Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick, "in honor of all local fire companies." A 2013 Fire Prevention commendation was presented to hometown hero, 8-year-old Kiersten Winstel. For her "cool headed actions on November 20, 2012, when she called 911 for assistance for her mother who had collapsed during a medical emergency. A testament to her ability to take on grown up responsibilities, in service to others."




Grand Island Fire Company Annual Inspection - October 2013

   

Right: Fire Chief Kevin Koch inspects the ranks.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   On Saturday, October 5th, Grand Island Fire Company firefighters, medics, EMT’s and cadets reported to fire headquarters for their 2013 “state of readiness” inspection by Fire Chief Kevin Koch, assisted by line officers and Town Supervisor Mary Cooke. Chief Koch praised his volunteers for their unwavering dedication in handling over 1100 emergency incidents to date. Supervisor Cooke echoed these sentiments by expressing the gratitude of Town officials and residents for having “one of the finest” groups of emergency responders in western New York. Thanks again to all our GIFC volunteers for their exceptional accomplishments up to the present and good luck in fulfilling future community protection responsibilities.




Kaegebein Student Receives Fire Prevention Award - October 2013

Mrs. Winstel, Kiersten Winstel and Fire Chief Kevin Koch.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   Grand Island Fire Chief Kevin Koch reports that a 4th grade student at Kaegebein Elementary School will receive this year's Fire Prevention commendation during a special award ceremony at the October 10th Open House. Eight-year-old Kiersten Winstel sprang into action and called 911 for help when her mother collapsed during a medical emergency on November 20, 2012. Kiersten is being recognized for her quick thinking response in a life threatening situation when she calmly and coolly summoned GIFC EMS personnel to assist her mother. Her level headed actions reflect an ability to take on grown-up responsibilities in service to others, a testament to the true spirit of fire prevention volunteerism at its very best.




Stony Point House Fire - September 2013

   

Interior shot of bed. - Click photos for larger view.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   Shortly before 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 25th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a reported "structure fire" at the Surdi Residence on Stony Point Road near Broadway. A neighbor, Jim Olmstead had been working in his yard and notice smoke and flames venting from the upper portion of the next door home. He immediately called 911 for emergency GIFC assistance. The owner, Shari Surdi gathered up her two dogs and escaped from the burning home.
   When GIFC firefighting crews, Engines #2, #3, #4, #5, and LT 6 arrived on location, the second floor of the building appeared "fully involved" according to Fire Chief Kevin Koch. An interior attack team had the fire under control eight minutes after equipment arrived on scene. Chief Koch identified the cause as electrical and occurred in a second floor bedroom. Damage was estimated at $30,000 to the contents and $15,000 to the structure, mostly confined to the bedroom area. Sheridan Park VFD and City of Tonawanda Fire Department provided mutual aid standby assistance. All units were back in service by 12:28 p.m. and there were no injuries.




Grand Island Fire Prevention Open House - September 2013

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   Grand Island Fire Chief Kevin Koch announced that this year’s Open House will take place on Thursday, October 10th from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. at fire headquarters, 2275 Baseline Rd. Program Director and Ass’t Fire Chief Chris Soluri, has arranged for multi agency participation, to include firefighting and EMS equipment from the GIFC and western New York fire service, as well as area law enforcement contributions. During the week, firefighter/EMS teams will visit Grand Island elementary schools to offer fire safety tips for home, school and workplace. Students will also receive entry blanks for the popular “Ride to School in a Fire Truck” contest. Eight youths from each school will be selected for this thrilling event. Another highlight of the program will be a “live fire” demo to show visitors how fast and hot a blaze can develop after ignition in a household setting. The GIFC Ladies Auxiliary will provide refreshments, including a hot dog roast at a nominal cost. They will also have a special basket raffle. Come out and meet your GIFC firefighters and medics.




2013 Fire Prevention Theme "Prevent Kitchen Fires" - September 2013

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   According to Lorraine Carli, National Fire Protection Association vice president of communications, "cooking is the number one cause of household fires," which makes prevention of kitchen fires a top priority. Carli noted that firefighters respond to over 400 kitchen fires every day in the U.S. "By making kitchen fire safety the theme for 2013 fire prevention week, October 6 – 12, we can raise the awareness of the leading cause of fires, unattended cooking, and provide life saving safety tips to improve the safety of everyone in the home." Never leave the room when cooking, keep children and pets at a safe distance from hot stoves, keep pot handles turned away from the stove’s edge and don’t use water to put out a sudden fire as it will spread. GIFC fire officials will stress these recommendations during fire prevention week and at the Thursday, October 10th Open House at fire headquarters, 2275 Baseline.




Basement Fire Contained - September 2013

Fire Investigator Chuck Berlinger inspects dehumidifier.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   At 5:46 p.m. on Sunday, September 15th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a reported "structure fire" at the Kahanic residence on Baseline Rd. near Bush Rd. The family had already made their way outside to safety prior to the arrival of GIFC Chief Kevin Koch, apparatus, and fire suppression crews which encountered heavy smoke conditions in the basement area. Interior attack crews extinguished the fire within 10 minutes and began smoke ventilation and overhaul operations.
   Chief Koch identified the cause as a malfunctioning dehumidifier which caught fire and extended to nearby walls. Damage was estimated at $250 to contents and $3000 to the structure. Chief Koch also noted that dehumidifier product alerts have recently been issued and he suggests that owners check with manufacturers or local distributors to determine whether they are in possession of a potentially hazardous item.




Island Firefighters Face Heavy Saturday Workload - September 2013

Firefighter Ambria Time and father Gary Tim stand behind lawnmower from fire.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   Fire Chief Kevin Koch reports that Grand Island Firefighters and medics handled a busy schedule on Saturday, September 7th, starting with a 9:00 a.m. Marine Unit drill, a G.I. High School football standby, a Buffalo Launch Club antique boat show standby, and a funeral breakfast at fire headquarters for longtime school employee Billie Jean Harper.
   Meanwhile, firefighters and EMS personnel covered four simultaneous emergency incidents, including a reported structure fire on Whitehaven Rd. A neighbor, Gary Tim, noticed smoke coming from the next door garage. He then alerted his daughter Ambria Tim, a Grand Island firefighter and finally gained access to the garage where a burning riding lawn mower was discovered and pushed outside. The blaze was extinguished within 5 minutes of the arrival of Engines #3 and #4 and fire suppression crews. Fire Chief Koch estimated damage at $500 to the structure and $1400 to the contents. He commented that but for the quick action of firefighter Tim and her father, damage probably would have been much greater and the entire unattached garage could have been lost. A subsequent fire alarm on Grand Island Blvd. was found to be a false alarm.




Homeowner Injured in Freak Accident - September 2013

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   At 9:39 a.m. on Sunday, August 25th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a report of a “traumatic bodily injury” incident on Autumnwood Dr. Ass’t. Chief Chris Soluri of the GIFC stated the 50 year-old Jay Farquharson was pinned between his car bumper and garage wall, when the vehicle unexpectedly shifted position while he was working on it. He freed himself and crawled to the house where he called 911 for emergency assistance. He was treated by GIFC medics and transported to ECMC for further medical attention.




Four MVA’s Within Eight Days - September 2013

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   Fire Chief Kevin Koch reports that GIFC emergency responders covered 34 incidents during the period of August 15th through August 22nd, which included four MVA’s.
    At 3:28 p.m. on august 15th, GIFC rescue personnel responded to an MVA call involving two autos and a medical transport van, occurring at the intersection of Love Rd. and South State Pkwy. 57 year-old Shaun Silverwood of Getzville was evaluated by GIFC medics but refused treatment. 56 year-old Barbara Walker of Grand Island declined hospitalization and family was to arrange follow up treatment if necessary. 49 year-old Ronald Montesano of Grand Island is to consult his family physician for a minor injury. 30 year-old Tanika Mack of Buffalo also refused treatment.
    Subsequently, at 4:01 p.m., a two car MVA occurred at Fix and East River Rds. Three persons were evaluated, 64 year-old Sharon Spano and 67 year-old James Spano of Grand Island, as well as 21 year-old Kayla Bajak of Lancaster, but no injuries were sustained and ECSD Deputies initiated an investigation.
    Shortly before 10 p.m on Tuesday, August 20th, GIFC rescue personnel responded to the I-190 toll booth area where a driver reportedly struck a protective barrier when his brakes “failed”. 65 year-old John Sandstrom of North Dakota was treated by GIFC medics for a head injury and transported to ECMC for additional medical attention.
    Finally at 9:02 a.m. on Thursday, August 22nd, GIFC rescue personnel responded to an MVA on the South Grand Island Bridge, where a passenger vehicle collided with a truck. 53 year-old Carol Scofield of Niagara Falls was treated for minor injuries and transported to KMH for precautionary follow-up. Fire officials note that a few seconds of driver inattention can lead to dire consequences, including property damage and serious physical injury. They stress that operators must be alert at all times while practicing defensive driving habits that can eliminate irreversible driver error.




Three Hospitalized in Island I-190 Collision - August 2013

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   Shortly before 9:00 a.m. on Monday, August 26th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a two car MVA occurring on the southbound I-190 near the Staley Rd. overpass. Fire Chief Kevin Koch reported that 70-year-old Don Tranter of Grand Island was extricated from his vehicle, stabilized and transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for follow-up medical attention. Michael Cutini, 65, of Grand Island was treated by GIFC medics for non life threatening injuries and transported to KMH for additional medical attention. 55-year-old Karen Mayes of Niagara Falls was treated at the scene and transported to Buffalo General Hospital for precautionary follow-up. Two other Niagara Falls residents denied injuries.




Driver Hospitalized in Two Car Collision - July 2013

MVA victim being evaluated and treated by GIFC medic Rick Pelham.
Click for larger view.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   Shortly before 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 1st, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a two car MVA at the intersection of Whitehaven and Stony Point Roads. Fire Captain Sean Kephart reported that one driver, 34-year-old Joseph Magliazzo of Niagara Falls was treated by GIFC medics for non life threatening injuries and transported to Niagara Falls Medical Center for additional medical attention. A passenger, 34-year-old Sheri Kilmer of Niagara Falls claimed no injuries. The other driver, 34-year-old David Loos of Grand Island also denied injuries.




GIFC Marine Unit River Rescue - July 2013

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
    At 10:31 p.m. on Saturday, July 20th, the City of Tonawanda requested mutual aid assistance from the GIFC for a “watercraft in distress” incident. Two boaters reportedly collided in the Niagara River in the vicinity of Niawanda Park. GI Deputy Fire Chief Matt Osinski stated that one of the involved boats had run aground into overhanging trees on shore near the Byblos Resort Center and Spa (formerly Holiday Inn).
   A City of Tonawanda emergency boat crew and Johns Towing boat reached the scene and helped GIFC responders extricate the unconscious victim, 40-year-old Doug Fox of Falconer, NY. Fox was immobilized, resuscitated by GIFC medics, and transported to ECMC for follow-up medical attention. A female victim from the second boat was reportedly taken to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for precautionary treatment. Meanwhile, GIFC MU-1 engaged in a joint search off the Tonawanda shore line to determine whether any person might have been ejected from either boat. The results were negative.




GIFC & Sheriff Dept. Search & Rescue - July 2013

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   At 2:37 p.m. on Sunday, July 21st, the Erie County Sheriffs Department requested the assistance of the Grand Island Fire Company in a search & rescue operation to locate a missing Staley Rd. resident. Earlier in the day, 61-year-old Walter Manijak had driven a tractor into a heavily wooded area behind his home. When he failed to return, his tractor was found abandoned by family members who then sought emergency 911 assistance.
   A command center was established at 2476 Staley Road by Ass’t Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski, who directed a search party of 20 firefighters using several ATV’s. Shortly thereafter, Walter was located by Greg Butcher, of the Erie County Emergency Services and GIFC, after he had stumbled out to the side of the road. Although he stated he had fallen “a few times”, he sustained no serious injuries and declined hospitalization.




Island Homeowner Flees Basement Fire- July 2013

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
    At 4:27 a.m. on Tuesday, July 16th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a possible structure fire at a Dolphin Dr. residence. The occupant, Trisha Harpster, was unable to sleep, smelled smoke, quickly left the house and called 911 for emergency GIFC assistance. With 5 minutes, fire suppression crews and apparatus began to arrive on location and encountered “heavy” smoke conditions in the basement area according to Fire Chief Kevin Koch. Accidental ignition of items of clothing left on an electric stove spread the ensuing fire to the nearby walls and ceiling. However, the fire was extinguished within 12 minutes and damage was estimated at $3500 to the structure and $1500 to contents. Mrs. Harpster, whose two sons are firefighters in other jurisdictions, praised the “great job” by the GIFC which kept damage to a minimum.




Bicyclist & Jet Skier Hospitalized - July 2013

Click for larger view.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
Bicyclist Hospitalized after Collision with Car
    Shortly after 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 13th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a call of an injured bicyclist who had been struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Ferry and East River Roads. Ass’t Fire Chief Chris Soluri states that the victim, 56-year-old Berhhard Rohrbacher of Buffalo was lying in the roadway when responders arrived on location. He was immobilized by GIFC medics and EMT’s and transported to ECMC for additional medical evaluation. Rohrbacher, an orthopedic surgeon at a local hospital, was impressed with the “excellent” treatment he received at the scene, and stated that his helmet probably saved him from more serious head injuries.
Sixteen Year Old Islander Hospitalized in Jet Ski Accident
   At 6:27 p.m. on Monday, July 15th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a reported collision of two jet skis in the Niagara River near Navy Island. Deputy Fire Chief Matt Osinski reports that Marine Unit 2 reached the 16-year-old victim within 12 minutes where he had been picked up by a nearby boater. He was immediately immobilized and taken to shore for transport to ECMC for further medical attention. The second jet ski operator reportedly sustained no injuries.




Marine Unit Continues Joint Training Exercises - July 2013

Marine Unit #1 with U.S. Coast Guard Cutter. - click for larger view.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
    On Saturday, June 29th the Grand Island Fire Company Marine Unit #1 proceeded to the U.S. Coast Guard Station for a joint training exercise in order to improve state of readiness crewmanship skills. EMS Capt. Jon Cinelli, Lts. Jourdain Benoit, Dan Mathes, and FF Sean O'Donnell brushed up on seamanship tactics, vessel handling, as well as victim rescue extraction, "packaging", and safe transfer to an on shore triage/treatment area. Thanks to these volunteers for giving up family time weekends to better serve their community.




Ferry Village Inundated By Flood Stage Downpour - July 2013

Flooded home on Ferry Rd. Sam Pauley Photo - click for larger view.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   At 5:34 p.m. on Friday, June 28th, the Grand Island Fire Company received a call to investigate extensive flooding in the Ferry Village area. Deputy Fire Chief Matt Osinski discovered flood waters rushing across Elmwood Ave. and contacted the Grand Island Highway Department, which barricaded the roadway at the 365 residence location. In addition, a home at 1473 Ferry Rd. was completely isolated by waters that rose to an estimated two foot level. No life hazards existed at either location. Beaver Island State Park also experienced widespread flooding in many picnic areas which placed restrictions on recreational activities.




Fire Company Marine Unit Attends Alert Exercise

   

Capt. John Podlucky Photos - click for larger view.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   On Sunday morning, June 23rd, Fire Chief Kevin Koch led Grand Island Fire Company Marine Unit 1 to a simulated water rescue emergency occurring in Lake Erie outside Evangola State Park. GIFC's four man crew consisted of Chief Koch, Capt. John Podlucky, FF Dan Mathes and FF Sean O'Donnell. They were part of a larger WNY ALERT (Advanced Local Emergency Response Team) team which included Lake Erie Beach VFD, Fort Erie FD, Hamburg FD, Angola VFD, and the ECSD Air One Unit. Upon Arriving on the scene, the GIFC Marine crew participated in several water rescue scenarios where "victims" were plucked out of Lake Erie and brought safely to shore. One such stranded "victim" was spotted by Capt. Kevin Caffrey, Air One pilot, scooped up in a stokes basket for an airborne trip to a designated pickup/triage/treatment zone. By the time Chief Koch and his crew concluded their duties in this special drill and returned home to base, six hours had elapsed and these "volunteers" are now much better prepared to deal with future water rescue challenges.




Dramatic Increase In Highway Use - June 2013

Information & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Grand Island Fire Company Chief Kevin Koch notes that summer like weather has caused a dramatic increase in highway use by motorcycles, bicyclists, rollerbladers, joggers, etc. In a few short weeks, hundreds of Island youngsters will finish their school year, adding burdensome traffic hazards at times.
   The GIFC has already encountered an upsurge in related emergency incidents. On Wednesday, May 29th, GIFC rescue personnel handled two separate incidents involving bicyclists within a half our period. At 6:36 p.m., a 13-year-old Island youth ran into a vehicle at the intersection of Baseline and Grand Island Blvd. He was treated by GIFC medics for non life threatening injuries and transported to Women and Children's Hospital for additional medical evaluation. Shortly thereafter, at 7:04 p.m., 55-year-old Louis Panzica of Grand Island, experienced a bicycle malfunction, flew over the handlebars and onto the pavement at East River Rd. neat River Oaks Drive. He was treated for minor extremity injuries and transported to Erie County Medical Center for precautionary follow-up. Mr. Panzica stated that his helmet, which cracked upon impact, "probably saved me from more serious injury." Chief Koch noted that motorists must share the roadways with all other users and must be constantly alert to hazards that might be encountered. Common sense defensive driving habits could prevent serious injury or save lives.




Fire Company Accepts Donations - May 2013

Fire Chief Kevin Koch, Tops Employee and firefighter Kristina Waz, Tops Manager Patty Binaco.

Lawnmower Race Committee Gary Roesch, Pete Marston & Mary Dunbar Daluisio, Fire Chief Kevin Koch.
Information by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   Fire Chief Kevin Koch reports that Tops Markets recent "Grand Re-Opening" also involved a generous $500 corporate donation to the Grand Island Fire Company. The Fire Company also received a $200 donation from the "Kickin Grass" Lawn Mower Race, Classic Car and Kevin Doring 5K Run Committee in appreciation for their assistance during their event. This year's event will take place on Father's Day, June 16th.




Fire Company Celebrates 75 Years of Service - May 2013

Board Chairman Greg Butcher, Fire Chief Kevin Koch and Kevin Rustowicz

Supervisor Mary Cooke and President Tammy Gorman
Information and photos by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   The Grand Island Fire Company celebrated its 75th Anniversary on Saturday, May 18, 2013 at Asbury Hall in Buffalo. On hand to commend the Fire Company were NYS Assemblyman John Ceretto, Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick and Grand Island Supervisor Mary Cooke. Proclamations were presented by Assemblyman Ceretto and Supervisor Mary Cooke.
   Board Chairman Greg Butcher noted that since the Fire Company’s humble beginning in 1938, when the town donated land for a fire station and a pumper was purchased, the GIFC has expanded its fleet to 22 pieces of apparatus, with a new Marine Unit, a high level Paramedic Program and a “state of the art” Dispatch Center.
   President Tammy Gorman, Fire Chief Kevin Koch and Board Chairman Greg Butcher presented years of service awards to many with notables being 50 years of service to Ray Pauley and Jim Linenfelser and 59 years of service to Norm Mrkall. Mr. Mrkall was also recognized for his valuable historical documentation of the Fire Company over the years. The 2013 Rookie class was introduced, they are; Chris Caruan, Bob Dailey, Lena Dombrowski, Michele Jones and Russ Perez.




Fire Company Marine Unit Dedicates New Craft - May 2013


Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   Fire Chief Kevin Koch reports that trained Grand Island Fire Company personnel are now fully prepared to handle water rescue and/or firefighting incidents while utilizing the new 24' Lake Assault Craft which was officially dedicated as Marine Unit 1 on October 6, 2012.
   The Sandy Beach Park Club Board of Directors has generously provided the GIFC with a docking/launching boat slip to facilitate emergency operations in the Niagara River.
   Ass't Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski notes that the fireboat recently passed a shakedown training cruise "with flying colors". Since MU-1 is equipped with twin 150 HP outboard engines and a 500 GPM deck gun for firefighting purposes, Grand Island waterways protection has been greatly enhanced.




Cell Phones Need Direct Number - May 2013

Steve Morgan, Communications Supervisor

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
    Fire Chief Kevin Koch reminds all those who use a cell phone to report a fire or EMS incident on Grand Island to use the GIFC Dispatch Center emergency number 773-7508. Communications Supervisor Steve Morgan points out that potential routing delays can be avoided by programming 773-7508 into your cell phone so that direct contact can be made with GIFC emergency responders. He noted that cell phone use of 911 would likely connect the caller with Eric County Emergency Services in Buffalo, NY and the Niagara County Sheriff's Dept., or even Canadian authorities, depending upon their exact location. Because this call would then have to be rerouted to the GIFC dispatchers, any resulting delay could impact upon delivery of the critical services needed.




Two Hospitalized In Five Car MVA - April 2013

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
    At 6:39 a.m. on Tuesday, April 30th, Grand Island Fire Company Rescue Personnel responded to a five car "chain reaction" collision in the southbound lane of the North Grand Island Bridge. The accident was apparently caused by motorists attempting to avoid a vehicle breakdown in one lane of traffic.
    Fire Chief Kevin Koch reports that six occupants were evaluated and one driver, 46-year-old Pamala Vesci of Niagara Falls was extricated from her heavily damaged vehicle, stabilized and transported to Niagara Falls Medical Center as a precautionary measure. Cindy Maurer, 47 of Niagara Falls also sustained non life threatening injuries and was transported to Mt. St. Mary’s Hospital for follow up. Four others, 26- year-old Ken Mayes of Youngstown, 32-year-old Bryan Frey, also of Youngstown, 57-year-old Norman Fiorick of Niagara Falls and a 15-year-old family member claimed no injuries and declined hospitalization. All GIFC units returned in service by 7:28 a.m.




Apartment Fire Causes No Structural Damage - April 2013

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   Shortly before 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a reported structure fire at the Grant Court Apartments, 2460 Baseline Road. Fire Chief Kevin Koch found "smoke in the building" when he arrived on location along with Engines #2, 3, 4, Rescue 1, and fire suppression crews. Forcible entry had to be used to gain access to Apt. #2, and it was discovered that a stove broiler had overheated when left unattended. The unit was shut down and the apartment ventilated. Chief Koch noted that there was no fire damage, and no extension to surrounding storage cabinets, furniture or kitchen walls.
All GIFC units returned in service by 2:15 p.m.




Fire Company Scholarship Winners - April 2013

From left: GIFC President and Cadet coordinator Tammy Gorman, James Rustowicz, Matt Osinski and Chief Kevin Koch.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
    Grand Island Fire Chief Kevin Koch reports that since the inception of the Cadet Program in 2007, 30 young individuals have actively participated. Many of these have already advanced to Senior Cadet status as well as "rookie" membership. Throughout this learning process, organizations such as the Erie County Fire District Officers Association have rewarded personal accomplishment with scholarships for deserving high school seniors involved in fire or EMS emergency services work and who have been accepted into a college program. Two GIFC Cadets were fortunate enough to have been selected as 2013 scholarship recipients. James Rustowicz received the $1000 Arthur Blachowski Memorial Scholarship award, in recognition of the latter's service as Past President of the Association prior to his demise in 2011. James' father, Kevin is a former member of the GIFC Board of Directors. The second Cadet, Matt "Mo" Osinski, received the $1000 Norman F. Locher Memorial Scholarship award, in honor of another Past President who passed away in 2003. Matt’s' father is the GIFC Deputy Fire Chief Matt Osinski. Both of the Cadets are striving to follow the paternal pathway to success. Good luck to these aspiring community service volunteers who have demonstrated exceptional initiative and perseverance in pursuing their goals.




Busy Two Days For Island Firefighters - March 2013

   

Left: Chimney cap removed by rooftop crew on Fix Rd.
Right: Firefighters return equipment to Engine #3 after Huth Rd. operations were concluded.
Ray Pauley photos .

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
    Fire Chief Kevin Koch reports that Grand Island Firefighters/Medics handled a mutual aid call for assistance; two fire related emergencies, and two EMS calls on Tuesday, March 12th, as well as a dryer fire on Wednesday, March 13th.
    Engine #3, Deputy Matt Osinski, Capt. John Podlucky, and a five man crew responded to a Niagara County mutual aid request at 2:20 p.m. on Tuesday when a fire broke out in an eight unit complex at the Royal Apartments on Porter Road, Niagara Falls. The GIFC provided a FAST team and also assisted with a rooftop "trenching" ventilation operation until relieved of duty at 4:36 p.m.
    Meanwhile, at 12:00, GIFC firefighters responded to a commercial fire alarm at Say Cheese Pizza, 1771 Love Rd. which was later determined to be an accidental activation caused by workmen.
    Subsequently, at 6:02 p.m., firefighters responded to a "chimney fire" at a Fix Rd. location. When the offending stove insert was removed, chimfex flares were used to extinguish residual burning within the chimney itself. Chief Koch stated that all GIFC units returned in service by 6:49 p.m. with no structural damage to the home.
    Shortly after 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 13th, GIFC firefighters responded to a "dryer fire" at a Huth Rd. residence. Fire Capt. John Podlucky reported that the fire was confined to the basement dryer appliance, with no extension to the structure. Damage was estimated at $1,000, and GIFC units returned in service at 11:47 a.m. after ventilation was completed.




Driver Crashes Through Credit Union Entrance - March 2013

   

Ray Pauley Photos - click for larger view.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
    At 9:08 a.m. on Thursday, March 7th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a report of a vehicle striking the Grand Island Central Federal Credit Union building at 2014 Grand Island Blvd. When the GIFC Fire Police Capt. Don Portik arrived on location one minute later, he reported "victim entrapment" and established Incident Command for operational control, rescue, and patient treatment, pending arrival of additional fire company resources. Erie County Sheriff's Deputies assisted with extrication of two victims who were trapped in debris from a counter and office furnishings.
    Fire Chief Kevin Koch stated that a customer, Ellen DeNorman, 46-years-old of Grand Island, was struck in the back by the vehicle which had traveled about 12 feet into the front office and waiting area. She was treated by GIFC medics and transported to ECMC for further medical attention. An employee, who was behind the counter at the time, 29-year-old LuAnne Lucinski of Niagara Falls, was also treated by GIFC medics for non-critical injuries and transported to Mt. St. Mary's Hospital for additional evalutation. The driver, 76 year old Joan Allen of Grand Island, who drove through the front entranceway double doors, could not remember what happened, and was transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital as a precautionary measure. Her passenger, 76-year-old Joan Droit, also of Grand Island, was likewise taken to Kenmore Mercy Hospital with no reported injuries.




Multi Agency Search For Drowning Victim - March 2013

   

Ray Pauley photos .

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   At 9:41 a.m. on Friday, March 1st, Grand Island Fire company rescue personnel responded to a report of a person "jumping off the South Grand Island Bridge." Several cell phone calls by witnesses were received by Buffalo 911 and passed on to law enforcement agencies as well as the GI Fire Company which initiated emergency dispatch procedures.
   GI Fire Company Capt. John Podlucky reported that Marine Unit 2 proceded to a launch site at East River and Harvey Roads and began a Niagara River search pattern between the South Bridge and Holiday Inn. The U.S. Coast Guard, Border Patrol, and City of Tonawanda assisted with additional water craft and a helicopter. The Erie County Sheriff's Department, NY State Police, Tonawanda Police Department and the Grand Island Town Police also had ground units in place for shoreline duty. TCA was stationed at the launch site while the Sheridan Park VFD remained on standby at the GI Fire Company fire headquarters during search operations. Meanwhile, a unified command center was established at Collins Marine in Tonawanda. Fire Chief Kevin Koch terminated GI Fire Company efforts at 12:17 p.m. when the reported victim could not be located.




Five New Members Join GI Fire Company - February 2013


From left: Instructor Mark Sadkowski, Lena Dombrowski, Robert Dailey, Russell Perez, Michele Jones and Chris Caruana.
Ray Pauley photo - Click for larger view.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   Fire Chief Kevin Koch is pleased to report that the Grand Island Fire Company has accepted five new members as 2013 recruit/trainees. He also noted that these individuals bring with them "a wealth of experience and training" that will provide a firm foundation for their future advancement in the fire service.
   Lena Dombrowski is an EMT, has Firefighter I Training, and an extensive nursing background. Michele Jones is also pursuing a nursing career and has finished an advanced collegiate program. Russel Perez has several years experience in another WNY fire company. Robert Dailey has former experience as a fire cadet. Christopher Caruana is a licensed pilot who, like the others, has expressed a strong desire to pursue new challenges in community protection.
   According to Ass't Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski, their lead instructor, these "rookies" will now undergo intensive EMS and firefighting training until they sharpen their skills as confident and capable emergency responders. Congratulations and good luck to these new GIFC "volunteers" who have chosen a truly rewarding lifetime of community service.








McDonald's Smoke Scare - February 2013

Ray Pauley photo

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   Shortly before 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 2nd, Grand Island firefighters responded to a report of "smoke in the building" at McDonald's restaurant, 2231 Grand Island Blvd.
   Ass't Fire Chief Chris Soluri reported that patrons and employees had been evacuated from the building when GIFC Engines #2, #4, #5, Ladder Truck 6 and Rescue 7-1 arrived on location. Light smoke was encountered in the dining area and a fire suppression crew discovered that a rooftop heating unit had a burned out drive belt which was responsible for resulting smokey conditions. Power was cut off to the offending unit and there was no other damage. All units returned to service at 8:25 p.m.




Many MVA's Over Last Weekend - January 2013


Baseline & Whitehaven Road accident. Ray Pauley photo - Click for larger view.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   Following three MVA incidents on Friday, January 25th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel again had to contend with two separate MVA's on Sunday, January 27th.
   Shortly after 10:30 a.m., Grand Island Firefighters/Medics responded to a three car MVA at the intersection of Grand Island Blvd. and Whitehaven Rd. According to Ass't Fire Chief Chris Soluri, 68 year-old Donald Sparrow of Grand Island, 55 year-old Donald Davis of Lockport and 25 year-old Nathan Attaro of Buffalo were evaluated at the scene but denied injuries and declined hospitalization.
   Subsequently, at 4:00 p.m. Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a two car MVA which occurred at Baseline & Whitehaven Rds. Ass't Fire Chief Chris Soluri reported that one driver, 81 year-old Bruce Sims of Grand Island denied injuries and declined hospitalization. The second vehicle contained the Matt Linenfelser family, which included four children ages 10, 8, 6 and 5 years-old. All were evaluated by GIFC medics and sustained no injuries, having bee safely restrained by seat belts. All GIFC units returned to service at 4:35 p.m.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   Shortly before 1:00 a.m. on Friday, January 25th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to an MVA incident which occurred on Schwegler Rd. Ass't Fire Chief Chris Soluri reported that the driver, 22 year-old Jesse Carpenter of Grand Island left the roadway and traveled between two home at 83 and 89 Schwegler, striking a gas meter and fence. Carpenter declined treatment at the scene while an investigation was being conducted by the Erie County Sheriff's Department.
   Subsequently, at 7:15 a.m., the GIFC responded to another one car MVA on the I-190. southbound, near Bedell Rd. overpass. 37 year-old Michael Redfern of Grand Island, ran off the roadway and was evaluated at the scene but refused treatment.
   Finally, at 7:34 a.m., GIFC rescue personnel responded to a report of a vehicle crashing into a tree in the 2400 block of Stony Point Rd. Fire Chief Kevin Koch reported that the 16 year-old driver of Grand Island was evaluated and released to a parent. A 13 year-old passenger was treated at the scene for traumatic injuries and transported to Women & Children's Hospital. All units were back in service at 8:04 a.m.




Grand Island Fire Company Installs 2013 Officers - January 2013


Above from left: Firematic officers, top - Jon Cinelli, Mark Sadkowski, Chris Soluri, Chief Kevin Koch, Matthew Oskinski, Donald Portik, Jeremy Pullano.
Lower: Omar Sortino, John Podlucky and Shawn Kephart.

Above from left: 2013 Board of Directors - Paul Gorman, Stephen Stouter, Peter McMahon, Greg Butcher, David Tolejko, Jeremy Pullano and Peter Sukmanowski.
Ray Pauley photos - Click for larger view.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard administered the oath of office to newly elected GIFC officers on Saturday, January 12th at fire headquarters, 2275 Baseline Road. Both Firematic and Administrative Officers were sworn to uphold their 2013 community protection duties. Sheriff Howard was joined by Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick, NYS Assemblyman John Ceretto, NYS Senator Mark Grisanti's staff member Ron Descenes, Supervisor Mary Cooke and other town officials, in praising the selfless dedication of our "hometown heroes", the GIFC volunteers.
   Board of Directors Chairman Greg Butcher noted that Sheriff Howard's distinguished law enforcement career involved considerable interaction and support of the fire service.
   Fire Chief Kevin Koch begins his third term and is joined by Deputy Chief Matt Osinski, Ass't Chiefs Chris Soluri and Mark Sadkowski, Fire Captains Shawn Kephart, Omar Sortino and John Podlucky, Fire Captain Don Portik and EMS Captains Jon Cinelli and Jeremy Pullano.
   Administrative Company President Tammy Gorman will be assisted by Vice Pres. Dale Mock, Secretary Edith Racz, Line Secretary Laurie Barrie, Financial Secretary Nicole Gerber, Treasurer Anthony Mastantuono, and Sgt-at-Arms Dave Khreis. Nicole Gerber was also re-elected to the Board of Review.
   Past Chief Peter McMahon and Pete Sukmanowski were elected to three year terms on the Board of Directors.
   President of the Ladies Auxiliary Nicole Butcher introduced her officers as follows: Vice President Julie Meyer, Secretary Heidi McCormick, Treasurer Nancy Amato, Sgt-at-Arms Elaine Clark, Chaplain Teddy Linenfelser, and Trustees Mary Becker, Darcy Golde and Barbara Wilson.
   A special Chief's Award was presented to Robert "Butch" Meyer for his 49 years of active service. The President's Award was presented to Don Portik by President Tammy Gorman because "he is always there to lend a hand" and exemplifies the meaning of volunteer.
   Four individuals were singled out for their extra effort in covering many GIFC public relations events within the community along with their regular duties. They are Jourdain Benoit, Dan Mathes, Sean O'Donnell and Ambria Tim.
   Five "rookie" firefighters also completed an extensive training program in 2012 and are now attending weekly EMT classes in addition to responding to emergency incidents. The rookies are Rich Nichols, Sean O'Donnell, Dan Olzewski, Ambria Tim and Kristina Waz. "Rookie of the Year" is Ambria Tim, a full time college student who attended 43 drills, NYS Firefighter 1, NYS FAST Class and NYS Firefighter Survival courses totaling 263 hours of training during 2012.
   Four new paramedics were introduced, Rob Cieri, Scott McCormick, Adrian Pilliod and Don Turner. EMS commendations were presented to Skip Mrkall for a January 27th CO poisoning rescue, to Peter Coppola, Tim Krecisz, Saed Shafie and Rob Soluri for a successful cardiac resuscitation on February 25th. Another successful cardiac resuscitation was performed on March 2nd by Jourdain Benoit, Mike Braun, Nicole Gerber, Rich Nichols, Rob Soluri and Pete Sukmanski.
   The "Top Ten" responders for 2012 were again led by Ray Pauley with 842 calls, followed by Rick Pelham, Skip Mrkall, Chief Kevin Koch, Asst Chief's Matt Sadkowski and Chris Soluri, Pete Coppola, Jourdain Benoit, Dan Mathes and Deputy Chief Matt Osinski.




Vehicle Heavily Damaged By Fire - January 2013

   

Christopher Russell photos
Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer

   At 1:33 p.m. on Friday, January 11th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a vehicle fire on the I-190, just north of the Long Road interchange. Fire Chief Kevin Koch reported that a 2003 Chrysler concord was "fully involved" when Engines #4, #2 and fire suppression crews arrived on location. The driver, Tonja Pierson of Buffalo, related that she heard a "popping" noice from the engine compartment and pulled over to the center median when smoke and flames started pouring out from under the hood. The fire was extinguished within 6 minutes and damage was estimated at $2500.
   A northbound traffic jam was alleviated when the burned out vehicle was towed away and GIFC units returned to service at 2:15 p.m.




Island Homeowner Hospitalized Following Snowblower Accident - Jan. 2013

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   At 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 5th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a report of a snowblower accident at a West River Rd. residence. When Firefighters/Medics arrived on location within five minutes, they found 51 year-old Ronald Sutton with his hand trapped in the discharge chute of a snowblower he had been operating. According to Fire Chief Kevin Koch, he reportedly reached into clear some blockage when his hand was unexpectedly ensnared by the mechanism. Firefighters had to disengage and remove the auger to release him. He was then treated at the scene for traumatic injuries and transported to ECMC for further medical attention.
    Fire officials caution snowblower operators to NEVER reach into a machine under any circumstances, even when it is turned off because sudden recoil action can occur and cause severe extremity injuries. All GIFC units returned in service at 3:59 p.m. according to Chief Koch.





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