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Grand Island Fire Company News 2015

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 2016: Fire Chief Matthew Osinski; Deputy Chief Christopher Soluri; 1st Assistant Chief Mark Sadkowski; 2nd Assistant Chief Omar Sortino; Captains Daniel Mathes,Tim Krecisz, Jon Cinelli; EMS Captain Don Turner; Fire Police Captain Don Portik.

Administrative Officers 2015: President John Podlucky, Vice President Scott Shaw; and Sgt.-at-Arms David Khreis.

Board of Directors 2015: Gregory J. Butcher, Chairman, Jeremy Pullano, Vice Chairman, Peter Sukmanowski, Paul D. Gorman, Peter R. Coppola, Kevin Koch, and Saed Shafie








Island Firefighters Cover Simultaneous Fire Calls - December 2015

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 8:40 a.m. on Thursday, December 24th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a car fire in the northbound lane of the I-190. The fire was reported by a passerby, who noticed smoke coming from a vehicle parked under the Whitehaven Road overpass. Fire Captain Dan Mathes stated that a 1999 Toyota Camry owned by Dave Spiez of Grand Island was fully involved when firefighters arrived on location. Damage was estimated at $5000 after extinguishment 20 minutes later.
    A short time later at 8:52 a.m., firefighters responded to a stove/oven fire at the Countryside residence of McKenzie Hassan. Fortunately, the fire was extinguished by the homeowner prior to the arrival of Engine #3 and fire suppression crews. There was no damage to the appliance or surrounding area.



No Injury in One Car MVA- December 2015


Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly before 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 17th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a one car MVA at 3159 Staley Road. Fire Captain Kevin Koch indicated that 20 year-old Kaley McNaney of Tonawanda, NY apparently lost control of her vehicle which left the roadway and hit trees near the entrance of Frasenius Kabi Corp. After an initial evaluation, the driver declined treatment.




Fire Company Election Results - December 2015

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Grand Island firefighters chose 2016 firematic and administrative officers during elections held on Wednesday, December 2nd at fire headquarters. Matt Osinski ran unapposed for his third 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 Capts. Jon Cinelli, Dan Mathes, Tim Krecisz, Fire Police Capt. Don Portik and EMS Capt. Don Turner.
   John Podlucky commences his second term as President, Scott Shaw has been chosen Vice President and Dave Khreis returns as Sgt-at-Arms. Several vacant positions will be filled at a later date. Kevin Koch and Pete Sukmanowski return to three year terms on the Board of Directors and Dave Khreis was newly elected to his first term. Chris Caruana was elected to the Board of Review, while Dave Cole and Bill Wilson will become trustees on the Benevolent Assoc.




New Rescue Vehicle at GI Fire Company - December 2015

Chief Matt Osinski receives rescue vehicle keys from Board Chairman Greg Butcher.

Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Fire Chief Matt Osinski reports that a new 2015 rescue vehicle #7-1 was recently placed in service to replace a 1987 rig which had previously received a body "remount" in 2001. This 2015 Ford F550 vehicle is 4WD equipped and has an extended cab which can accomodate 6 firefighters or EMS personnel as needed. The rescue body itself consists of a 12' walk-in box for patient treatment and shelter. Chief Osinski noted that firematic officers worked closely with the Board of Directors for several months so that financial considerations for such a critical upgrade matched the need for insuring first rate EMS protection for the community.




Fire Company ACLS Class Has Special Visitor - December 2015

From left: medics Bob Cleveland, Don Turner, Dr. Rayhill, Paul Gorman, Joe Torregrossa and Jeremy Pullano.

Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   A recent Saturday morning ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) training session at fire headquarters had a special visitor stop in for an informative discussion of ALS procedures. Edward "Ted" Rayhill, M.D. was the first medical director of the Grand Island Fire Company and is recognized as the driving force behind establishment of one of the finest BLS/ALS units of any volunteer fire company in New York. The benefits of his invaluable stewardship hit home in a big way on October 6th of this year, when Ted received successful life saving cardiac treatment from the GIFC medics. In expressing his eternal gratitude, he commented "you've come a long way, keep up the good work."




Revised Spinal Injury Guidelines - October 2015

From left Medic Paul Gorman and Jeremy Pullano apply KED stabilization to Fire Fighter Evan Shaw as part of training.

Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Fire Chief Matt Osinski reports that Grand Island Fire Company medics and EMT's have recently completed BLS training for pre-hospital spinal injury treatment in accordance with revised national and regional guidelines. The NYS Department of Health, Bureau of EMS has adopted these new standards as developed by the NYS EMS Council and State Emergency Medical Advisory Committee, with recommended training completion date of October 31, 2015. No longer will rigid backboards be utilized exclusively for head/neck/spinal injuries, in order to avoid unnecessary complications. The cervical collar, stretcher, and KED will now be the preferred methods of stabilization. Backboards will still serve a limited useful purpose for extrication of MVA victims.




Minor Injuries in Motorcycle Crash - October 2015

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 5:31 p.m. on Monday, October 26th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to an MVA on the southbound I-190 between the Burnt Ship Creek bridge and Long Road exit. Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that the operator of a motorcycle, 31-year-old Jason Gamter of Rochester, NY, had apparently bumped into a passenger vehicle, lost control and fell to the roadway. After evaluation by Grand Island Fire Company and TCA medics, Jason was trasported to Degraff Memorial Hospital.




Mercy Flight Used for Transport - October 2015

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly before 8:00 p.m. on Monday, October 19th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a traffic/transportation incident on Ransom Rd. Fire Chief Matt Osinski stated that 45 year-old Amy Lou Taylor was going to tend to her horses at a neighbors barn at 394 Ransom Rd., when the barn door collapsed on her and the ATV she was riding. Erie County Deputy Sheriff Chris Soluri was first on location and extricated the victim with the assistance of another person on scene. It was estimated that she had been trapped for at least one half hour before being discovered.
    GIFC and Twin City Ambulance medics worked to stabilize the victim who sustained serious upper body traumatic injuries. Mercy Flight arrived on location at 8:22 p.m. and transported Taylor to ECMC. Taylor was treated for upper body injuries and discharged Tuesday from Erie County Medical Center.




Open House Gets Awesome Reviews - October 2015

Six year old Emily Goss & fire fighter Scott Shaw at fire hose practice.

Simulated Bedroom Fire.

From left: Fire Chief Matt Osinski, commendation recipient Brian Will and Ass't. Chief Omar Sortino.

Story and photos by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Several hundred Sidway Elementary School students and Fire Prevention Open House visitors streamed into fire headquarters on Friday, October 9th to learn more about the GI Fire Company. They looked at fire and EMS equipment, spoke with volunteers and viewed operating procedures including 911 emergency dispatching. The Sidway daytime student sessions emphasized "Stop, Drop & Roll" practice, use of fire fighter protective gear, EMS lifesaving demonstrations, specialized fire truck tools, equipment displays and a lesson in how 911 calls are handled.
    The evening Open House visitors viewed an "awesome" live fire demo, as a simulated bedroom fire erupted into a blazing inferno. Within minutes, the blaze reached temperatures of 1000 degrees. The kids got to experience hose practice and view vehicles and personnel from the NY State Police, Erie County Sheriff's Dept., Erie County Haz Mat Team & Bomb Squad, helicopters from the Erie County Sheriff's Dept. and Border Patrol. Also in attendance were the Coast Guard Marine Unit, City of Tonawanda Fire Department, Brighton Volunteer Fire Department, Sheridan Park Volunteer Fire Department, Red Cross Disaster Relief Unit, GI CERT Team and Twin City Ambulance.
   Fire Chief Matt Osinski presented a special 2015 Fire Prevention commendation to Getzville fire fighter Brian Will, for his quick actions on May 5, 2015, when he began initial fire suppression after discovering a backyard fire on Blackmon Road. Ass't. Fire Chief and program coordinator Omar Sortino reported that winners of the "Ride to School in a Fire Truck" drawing will be picked up the week of October 19th.




Five Car Collision at Roundabout - October 2015

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 7:17 a.m. on Tuesday, October 6th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a multi-vehicle pileup at the Grand Island Blvd./Staley Rd. roundabout. Fire Chief Matt Osinski stated that a driver reportedly caused a chain reaction MVA when he entered the circle and struck the car in front of him, which then involved several other cars that had slowed down. Tony Worth, 32 and Austin Aheke, 56, both of Buffalo, were treated for non-life threatening injuries and transported by ambulance to ECMC as a precaution. According to Chief Osinski, the roundabout has been in use since August of 2010 and has been relatively safe since then.




Fire Company Annual Inspection - October 2015

Photo by Karen DeMartin-Click for larger view.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    On Saturday, October 3rd, Grand Island firefighters, medics, EMT's and cadets reported to fire headquarters for their 2015 State of Readiness Inspection by Fire Chief Matt Osinski. Despite a workload of 1265 emergency responses to date, Chief Osinski pointed out that individual members have never faltered in fulfilling their sworn community protection duties. They ""are the heart and soul of this fine organization" stated Osinski.
   Town Supervisor Mary Cooke also expressed the heartfelt gratitude of town officials and town residents for the exceptional firefighting and EMS services provided. Cooke also noted that the GIFC has set the tone for improved lifesaving techniques. A successful cardiac resuscitation at Grand Island High School demonstrated the critical value of CPR and AED useage. Thanks again for the 24-7 readiness of our GIFC volunteers.




Damage Limited in Residential Fire - October 2015

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    At 6:47 a.m. on Sunday, October 4th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a reported structure fire at the Colonial Drive residence of Gary Dixon. The family escaped from their burning home after their 20 year-old son discovered smoke while studying, and alerted his parents and brother to the danger. Ass't Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski stated that Engines #2,3,4,5, LT 6 and fire suppression crews arrived on location and found smoke billowing up from the basement. A fire in the laundry area was extinguished within 10 minutes and confined to the area of origin. Total damage was estimated at $10,000 to the structure and $5000 to the contents. The cause appeared to be electrical in nature.
   Grand Island fire officials noted that there were no working smoke detectors in use at the time of this incident to provide early warning. They urge all residents to check and/or replace detector batteries during this coming fire prevention week.




2015 Fire Prevention Open House - October 2015

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Grand Island Fire Chief Matt Osinski announced this years Fire Prevention Open House will take place on Friday, October 9th, from 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at fire headquarters, 2275 Baseline Road. Assistant Fire Chief and program director Omar Sortino has arranged for multi agency participation to include firefighting and EMS displays and demos by the Grand Island Fire Company, WNY Fire Service and local law enforcement agencies.
   Firefighter and EMS teams will visit Grand Island elementary schools next week to conduct Q & A safety sessions. On Friday, October 9th, Sidway students will make their annual visit to fire headquarters for a "birds eye" view of fire company operations. All students receive an entry for the popular "Ride to School in a Fire Truck" contest held during the open house. A "live fire" demo will show how fast and hot a small blaze can progress in a simulated household setting.
   The GIFC Ladies Auxiliary will be selling hot dogs and will have a basket raffle. Chief Osinski hopes that as many residents as possible can come out to meet their GIFC volunteers.




Hear the Beep Where You Sleep - September 2015

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   The National Fire Protection Association has noted that night time fires can generate deadly gases such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, etc. This can result in fatal consequences for sleeping family members if there is no advance warning. The 2015 Fire Prevention theme has been designated "Hear the Beep Where You Sleep: Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm."
    Fire Prevention week is October 4 - 11 and will encompass many prevention activities on Grand Island and communities across the country. Grand Island Fire Company firefighters and EMS teams will visit Grand Island elementary schools on October 6, 7 & 8 to offer fire safety tips. Sidway students will visit fire headquarters on October 9th to gain first hand exposure to fire company operations. The week long program events will windup with the popular Open House at fire headquarters on Friday, October 9th from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.




Driver Hospitalized - September 2015

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly before 4:00 p.m. on Monday, September 7th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a one car MVA occurring at 5686 East River Road near the intersection of Calvano Drive.
   Assistant Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski reported that the driver, 55 year-old William Seifert of Grand Island, apparently lost control of his vehicle which then crashed into a large roadside pine tree. He was extricated from the wreckage, stabilized by GIFC medics and transported by ambulance to ECMC for further medical attention.




Grill Fire Damage Limited - September 2015

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 4:42 p.m. on Sunday, September 6th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a barbeque grill fire at the Beaver Land residence of Gary Mergel. Fire Chief Matt Osinski was in the immediate vicinity and arrived on location within two minutes. He applied a dry chemical extinguisher to the flaming propane gas grill, situated on an attached rear deck. The gas supply line had already burned through and could have caused considerable structural damage.
   Fortunately, damage was limited at $100 to the grill itself and there was no extension to the surrounding area. Chief Osinski stressed that all outdoor grills should be properly cleaned of grease and flammable residue to reduce the possibility of ignition.




Three New EMT's at GIFC - August 2015

From left: Nick Egloff, Chief Matt Osinski and Charles Jones.

Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that three new EMT's have been added to the ranks of the Grand Island Fire Company EMS providers. These new team members boost the number of trained EMT's to an all time high of 44. In addition, 16 paramedics provide Advanced Life Support (ALS) treatment when needed. Charles Jones, Nick Egloff and Nate Tilkins received their NYS EMT certification on July 31st after completing an extensive 160 hour training course.




Two Car MVA on Whitehaven - August 2015

Polizzi vehicle.

Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly before 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 18th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a two car MVA occurring in the 2600 block of Whitehaven Rd. A vehcile had backed out of a driveway into oncoming traffic. Fire Capt. Kevin Koch reported that 48 year-old Lynn Polizzi of Grand Island was treated for non life threatening injuries and transported by ambulance to Buffalo General Hospital. The other driver, Justen Leslig of Grand Island, claimed no injuries.




Multiple Emergencies During Power Outage - August 2015

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that Grand Island Fire Company firefighters & medics handled seven emergency incidents during a major power outage affecting approximately 3858 National Grid customers on Tuesday, August 18th.
   At 9:19 p.m. Gramd Island firefighters responded to a report of an odor of smoke in the building at the Thermo Fischer Corp. on Staley Rd. An interior search of the premises disclosed no fire hazard and plant electicians were called in to investigate further.
   At 9:36 p.m. firefighters responded to a report of smoke in the building at Starline USA on Alt Blvd. Main electrical breakers were shut down and maintenance personnel were to follow up when the origin of light smoke could not be determined.
   At 9:52 p.m. a CO problem at a Laurie Lane home was traced to a defective detector. Two occupants were evaluated but did not require hospitalization.
   At 9:57 p.m. GIFC rescue personnel responded to a report of a man trapped in an elevator at Byblos Niagara Resort on Whitehaven Rd. The guest was freed without injury.
   At 10:33 p.m. a police emergency request was resolved when a West River Rd. medical patient was evaluated and transported by ambulance to ECMC for additional treatment.
   At 11:05 p.m. a Brandywine resident's medical alarm was accidently tripped and no services were required.
   At 11:23 p.m. a Long Rd. resident fell in the home but refused treatment.
   Chief Osinski noted that manpower demands were further complicated by non functioning traffic signals which impacted upon emergency equipment response.




Erie County Boot Camp Training - August 2015

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Fire Chief Matt Osinski reports that two members of the Grand Island Fire Company completed an accelerated "boot camp" training program conducted by the Erie County Division of Fire Safety at the Cheektowaga Emergency Services & Operations Center from July 6 - July 17th.
   Lead instructor James Zymanek guided GIFC firefighter Brent Mendel and Cadet Ben Shaw, along with 32 other participants through Firefighter One certification covering search and rescue, forcible entry, ladder exercises, rope & knot work, tactical ventilation, hose skills, routines, haz mat exercises and frequent testing. Brent and Ben are now qualified to become full fledged interior firefighters.




Dryer Fire on LaSalle - August 2015

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 1:32 p.m. on Thursday, July 30th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a appliance fire at the LaSalle Ave. household of John Graff. When Engine #4, LT #6 and fire suppression crews arrived on location, a light haze of smoke was encountered throughout the structure. Family members had already safely exited the residence. A gas clothes dryer was removed from the first floor laundry room and there was no extension to the building itself. The fire was caused by a blocked vent and caused $500 damage to the dryer.




Cadet Receives Scholarship - August 2015

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   The Scholarship Committee of the Erie County Fire Chiefs Association has announced that Grand Island Fire Company Cadet Margaret Rustowicz has received a $350 award for 2015-2016 college expenses. Margaret is a 2015 GIHS graduate who has completed her first year as a fire cadet. She will begin her studies in nursing at St. John Fisher College in September and will also pursue EMT training to bolster her ongoing GIFC community service. Margaret's dad Kevin is a life member of the GIFC with 25 years of service and has provided vital parental support and encouragement.




Chiavetta's Chicken BBQ - August 2015

    The Grand Island Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary is hosting a Chiavetta's Chicken BBQ on Tuesday, August 4th from 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at Fire Company headquarters, 2275 Baseline Road. Pre-sale tickets are $9.00 and are encouraged. Tickets are $10.00 day of sale. Contact Nicole Butcher at 609-3563 or zayne413@aol.com for more information.




Classic Vehicle Destroyed by Fire - July 2015


Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly after 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 26th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a vehicle fire threatening a structure at a West River Road residence. Ass't Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski stated that James Mysliwiec had started to back his 1979 Lincoln Continental out of his attached garage when it suddenly burst into flames and stalled three feet from the overhead door. The car was heavily involved in flames when Engines #2, 3 and 4 arrived on location, and began suppression operations.
   The engine compartment fire was apparently caused by a defective fuel line, resulting in $10,000 damage to the vehicle and $500 to the garage door.




Islander Injured in Roadway Construction Accident - July 2015

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly after 1:00 a.m. on Friday, July 24th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a single car MVA in a Bedell Road construction zone where bridge work was under-way. Deputy Fire Chief Chris Soluri stated that 37 year-old Tracey Magone of Grand Island was in a vehicle which evaded a detour warning sign, then crashed into a concrete Jersey barrier, sending it down the north side of a 50' embankment. Magone was found by GIFC responders alone inside the car which ahad flipped over back onto its wheels. She was treated for non-life threatening injuries and transported by ambulance to ECMC for follow-up medical attention. Although no other occupants were located at the scene, it has not yet been determined if Magone was the actual driver.




Fire Destroys Vehicle after Three Car MVA - July 2015

Colucci vehicle engulfed in flames.

Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    At 2:21 p.m. on Thursday, July 16th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a vehicle fire and three car collision at the intersection of Baseline and Whitehaven Rd. Upon arriving on location, firefighters encountered a fully involved 2012 Jaguar with an injured driver who had already escaped from the burning vehicle. 68 year-old Frank Colucci of Grand Island was evaluated for a minor injury and declined hospitalization. The other two drivers, 63 year-old Sam McBride and 54 year-old Dan Mazurek also of Grand Island denied any serious injuries. Fire Captain Ryan Ayers declared the Jaguar a total loss with estimated damage at $55,000.




Injured Boater Treated - July 2015

Boater receiving EMS treatment prior to transport.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly after 1:00 p.m. on Friday, July 10th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a water rescue emergency at the Waikiki Water Craft Rental, 101 Whitehaven Road, located beween Byblos Resort and River Oaks Marina. Deputy Fire Chief Chris Soluri stated that 66 year-old Sanford Deacon of Niagara Falls reportedly ran into a steel and concrete water intake in the Niagara River with his vessel. The boat was towed to shore by nearby boaters. Arriving EMS personnel found Deacon lying unresponsive in the bottom of his boat. Stabilizing treatment was rendered by GIFC medics and Deacon was transported to ECMC by ambulance.




Marine Unit Responds to 2nd Emergency in Three Days - July 2015

Firefighters Joanne Ciffa, Nick Egloff and Cadet Ashley Gorman attend to Kelly McDonald.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly before 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 5th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a watercraft in distress call from the U.S. Border Patrol. Fire Captain Jon Cinelli stated that 23 year-old Kelly McDonald of Amherst, NY had been thrown off a Waverunner and had been rescued by family members. She was found floating face down in the Niagara River just north of Grass Island. After bein transferred to GI Marine Unit #1 for evaluation and treatment, she was brought to shore at the Sandy Beach Park Club dock and declined hospitalization.
    Previously, on Friday, July 3rd, GIFC Marine Unit #1 responded to another vessel in distress call when a Jet Ski ran out of fuel and drifted into the no boating zone above the American Falls. New York State Park Police retrieved the operator and no EMS treatment was required.




Early Morning Fire at Animal Hospital - July 2015


Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 4:19 a.m. on Friday, July 3rd, Grand Island firefighters responded to a structure fire at the Grand Island Small Animal Hospital, 2323 Whitehaven Rd. Deputy Fire Chief Chris Soluri stated that Engines #2,3,4, LT6 and fire suppression crews encountered a working fire in the incinerator section of the building complex. The facility is a 24 hour operation and three employees had to evacuate the building. The fire was located in the area of origin, a crawl space and roof above the incinerator and declared out at 5:41 a.m. Engines #2 and 3 had to relay water, approximately 700 feet, to Engine #4. Total damage was estimated at $50,000 to the structure and $25,000 to the contents. One Grand Island firefighter sustained a minor injury during the overhaul operations but reamined on duty after evaluation by a GIFC medic. All animals on scene were examined and had no after-effects.




Two Car Collision at Fix/Baseline - July 2015

Ruminski vehicle.

Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Grand Island Fire Company Rescue personnel responded to a two car MVA on Tueaday, June 30th at 2:25 p.m. at the intersection of Fix and Baseline Roads. Deputy Fire Chief Chris Soluri stated that driver error appeared to have contributed to the collision. Both 19 year-old Kelly Ruminski and 73 year-old Henry Lobl declined hopitalization after evaluation by GIFC medics.




Driver Uninjured in Car/Pole Collision - July 2015


Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   On Monday, June 29th at 1:37 p.m., Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to an MVA in front of the Dr. Huggs Car Wash at 2127 Grand Island Blvd. Fire Chief Matt Osinski stated that 84 year-old Joan Compo of Grand Island reportedly lost control of her vehicle which left the roadway and crashed into a traffic signal stanchion after careening off a raised manhole cover. She was evaluated by GIFC medics and declined hospitalization.




Car/Motorcycle Collision on Beaver Island Parkway - June 2015


Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 1:46 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to an MVA at the intersection of Love Road and Beaver Island Parkway. Fire Chief Matt Osinski stated that a motorcycle was reportedly struck from behind at a traffic signal by an auto driven by 22 year-old McKenzie Williams of Grand Island. The 24 year-old cyclist, Christopher Alfano, sustained minor road rash injuries and declined hospitalization. Williams was evaluated by GIFC medics and denied any injuries.




Fryer Fire at McDonald's Restuarant - June 2015

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    At 9:32 a.m. on Sunday, June 14th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a reported fryer fire at McDonald's Restaurant, 2231 Grand Island Blvd. The GI Fire Company Dispatcher advised that the building be evacuated. Assistant Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski reported that application of a dry chemical extinguisher by first responders quickly put out the fire. Only one of three fryers in use was involved and there was no damage to food preparation equipment or the structure. Day Manager Amada Zernickel confirmed that the restaurant was temporarily closed until 12:00 p.m. for cleanup.




Marine Unit #1 In Service - June 2015

From left: Jon Cinelli and Ron Warner in Marine Unit #1

Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    Grand Island Fire Company Marine Unit #1 has been placed in service, as of May 2015. Fire Capt. Jon Cinelli is in charge of firefighting, EMS and rescue operations in the Niagara River that require Marine Unit response. He will handle jurisdictional coordination with other agencies such as the City of Tonawanda, Erie County Sheriff's Depatment and U.S. Coast Guard when necessary. Chief Matt Osinski urges all those who use local waterways to follow sensible boating rules for a safe and enjoyable season.




Ruptured Gas Line on Fieldstone - May 2015

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 4:00 p.m. on Monday, May 25th, Grand Island fire fighters responded to a reported natural gas leak at the corner of Fieldstone Drive and Adel Lane. Ass't. Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski stated that homeowner Jose Garcia was attempting to remove an overgrown shrub from the front of his home when he accidentally cut through the gas service line to his meter. Although some of the escaping gas had infiltrated into the home, the interior hazard was considered minimal. National Fuel representatives arrived on location at 4:28 p.m. and shut down the incoming service line.




Firefighters Sharpen Entrapment Skills - May 2015

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    Fire Chief Matt Osinski reports that several Grand Island fire fighters recently upgraded their rescue skills through special 2015 FDIC training, encompassing "Man vs. Machine" entrapment scenarios. GIFC Training Coordinator and Assistant Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski said the volunteers used their collective knowledge to show other fire fighters how to deal with situations through hands on drill experience. Training stations were set up to demonstrate proper techniques for resolving challenging situations. Capt. Ryan Ayers showed fellow fire fighters how to remove a ring from a finger which had developed impaired circulation. Lt. Sean O'Donnell showed others how to remove a hand from a meat grinder or similar appliance. Lt. Jourdain Benoit covered the proper way of extricating a child's head from a stairway railing and adult impalement on a spiked fence. Capt. Dan Mathes and Lt. Tim Krecisz teamed up to demonstrate removal of a hand from a snowblower.




MVA Rollover at Carl & West Park - May 2015


Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    At 1:30 p.m. on Monday, May 25th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to an MVA rollover which occurred at the intersection of Carl and West Park Roads. Ass't Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski reported that 19 year-old Christopher Rassega of Grand Island apparently lost control of his vehicle which flipped over and landed on its roof on the north shoulder of Carl Rd. the driver was assisted out of his auto by a passerby and was found lying on the ground by arriving fire fighters. Rassega was stabilized by medics and transported by ambulance to Kenmore Mercy Hospital.




GIFC Celebrates 77 Years of Service - May 2015

From left: Steve Morgan, Matt Osinski, Greg Butcher and John Podlucky.

Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Local government officials, family members and special guests, including mutual aid representatives, gathered together at Fire Headquarters on Saturday, May 16th to thank the GIFC for 77 years of first rate community service. Board of Directors Chairman Greg Butcher credited the 1938 founders of Volunteer Fire Company #1 for setting in motion key elements of the "strong, effective and rewarding" organization that exists today. Likewise, exceptional leadership has continued to steer the GIFC in the right direction so that the highest standards of fire and EMS protection are realized.
    President John Podlucky and Chief Matt Osinski echoed these sentiments through recognition of individual members whose noteworthy achievements have solidified these goals. Barbara Stouter, M.D. received the prestigious 20 year Life membership. Steve Morgan reached 35 years of service and was also lauded for 28 years of outstanding performance within the Dispatch Center, which eventually led to his promotion to Communications Supervisor. Morgan's superb qualifications have recently prompted him to accept an out of state employment upgrade to Laramie, Wyoming and he will be sorely missed. Robert "Butch" Meyer was recognized by the GIFC, FASNY and NYSOFPC for 50 years of active service. Podlucky noted that "you can always count on Butch to be there when you need him." Charter member Robert Kingston has reached a remarkable 70 years of service.
    Ladies Auxiliary President Nicole Butcher also expressed her congratulations to the GIFC and presented a gift of long-overdue kitchen utensils. Jon Cinelli won the James E. Linenfelser Memorial Traveling Trophy. Steve Morgan was given a Appreciation Service Award for his excellence in communications and dedication to the GIFC.
5 years-Edie Thompson, Steve Lamarco, Jourdain Benoit, Scott McCormick, Jeremiah Anderson, Tim Krecisz, Dan Mathes
10 years-Anthony Mastantuono Sr., David Castiglia
15 years-Michael Braun, Kerry Lanthier
20 years-Life Membership, Dr. Barbara Stouter
25 years-Kevin Koch, Robert Cleveland, Stephen Stouter
30 years-Donald Portik, Dr. Roger Kaiser
35 years-Steve Morgan
40 years-Ted Rayhill
50 years-Robert "Butch" Meyers
70 years-Robert Kingston




Special Donation to Fire Company - May 2015

From left: Soluri family; daughter Vicki, wife Arlene, son Robert Jr., grandaughter Riley, Lodge Governor Erik Anderson and Chief Matt Osinski.

   Fire Chief Matt osinski reports that the Grand Island Fire Company recently received a special donation from Grand Island Moose Lodge #180. On May 6th, Erik Anderson, Governor of Moose Lodge #180, accompanied by members of the Robert Soluri family, visited GIFC headquarters to present several stuffed Moose animals to the Fire Company. These cuddly critters will be carried on all rescue vehicles to reassure and comfort young children who may be involved in a traumatic situation such as a MVA. This unique goodwill gesture was made in rememberance of Robert Soluri Sr., who was a long time member of the Moose Lodge as well as the Grand Island Fire Company. Chief Osinski expresses sincere gratitude on behalf of the Fire Company.




$1000 Grant Awarded - May 2015

From left: Tony Mastantuono and Chief Matt Osinski.

    Fire Chief Matt Osinski reports that the Grand Island Fire Company has received a special 2015 "Hands in the Community" contribution through the Mastantuono Allstate Agency of Grand Island. This $1000 grant will be applied towards operational equipment, training and or communication upgrades as needed. In addition, Tony Mastantuono is especially appreciative of the role of the GIFC in providing critical fire and EMS services, as he himself is an active volunteer. Chief Osinski commends the Mastantuono Agency for its long standing commitment to the community.




Sandy Beach Yacht Club Fire - May 2015

FF Paul Gorman inspects siding, FF Chuck Berlinger stands by with water extinguisher. - Photo by Ray Pauley

    Shortly after 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 2nd, nearby homeowner Scott Sutherland discovered smoke and flames coming from the front of the Sandy Beach Yacht Club located at 1851 Winter Road. After calling the Grand Island Fire Company for assistance, Sutherland rushed over with a hand extinguisher to begin fire suppression efforts. Minutes later, Deputy Fire Chief Chris Soluri arrived and determined that a mulch fire had damaged a section of vinyl siding, but had not yet penetrated the outer wall of the building. Engine #5 crews completed firefighting operations and total damage was estimated at $1000.
   Fire officials noted that a considerable fire loss could have occurred but for the timely intervention of Sutherland. Mulch fires present a unique problem for firefighters since they can be caused by spontaneous combustion, carelessly discarded cigarettes, etc. and can smolder for hours before breaking out into a major fire hazard.




Steven Morgan Receives Certification - May 2015


   Grand Island, NY - Steven L. Morgan, Communications Supervisor for the Grand Island Fire Company 9-1-1 and Dispatch Center recently received certification as an Emergency Number Professional (ENP) by the National Emergency Number Association (NENA). In order to be certified, applicants must first meet eligibility requirements that include a combination of experience, education and professional development in the 9-1-1 field. Candidates must then pass a rigorous examination that demonstrates a mastery of the comprehensive knowledge base required of emergency number program management.
   Local fire officials noted, "By achieving this certification, Steve has distinguished himself as a leader within the 9-1-1 field and his commitment to his chosen profession". Mr. Morgan is a 35-year member of the Grand Island Fire Company, and has served in many different roles throughout the years, such as a paramedic, Fire Chief and Communications Supervisor. He is a Nationally Registered Paramedic (NRP), an Emergency Medical Services instructor and he is active in several community organizations. The ENP program was established by NENA in 1994 as a way to establish a benchmark of performance of professionals in the 9-1-1 field. There are currently over 1,200 ENPs in the United States and Canada and fewer than 20 ENPs in New York State.




Roof Collapse at Island Fire - April 2015

Photo by Ray Pauley-Click for larger view.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
Skip Mrkall Slide Show
    At 1:38 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28th, the Grand Island Fire Company Dispatch Center received multiple calls of a fire at the Neil Gallagher home, located on Huth Road at the corner of Pellamwood Dr. When Engines #3, #5, LT 6 and fire suppression crews arrived on location and encountered heavy fire and smoke conditions on the east side of the building. Fire Captain Kevin Koch assumed Incident Command and requested mutual aid assistance.
   Despite the ensuing aggressive interior attack, all firefighters were ordered to evacuate the structure due to a partial roof collapse which endangered their safety. Meanwhile, GI LT6 and Sheridan Park Aerial Ladder pursued a large scale water volume attack from an overhead vantage point. Consequently, at 3:04 p.m. the fire was declared under control and firefighters began to converge on several interior hot spots. Mutual aid crews from Kenmore, Ellwood and the City of Tonawanda also assisted with extended operations.
   Erie County Sheriff Department Fire Investigators Steve Meerboth and Scott Kuhlmey joined GIFC Investigators Chuck Berlinger and Mike DeMartin in seeking the cause. Although a ruptured gas meter and swirling winds had contributed to the fire's intensity, the origin has been labeled as undetermined thus far. Total damage was estimated at $225,000 to the structure, $50,000 to the contents and $5000 exposure damage to the house next door. One GI firefighter sustained an ankle injury and received treatment at the scene from Twin City Ambulance personnel prior to his transfer to Kenmore Mercy Hospital. Because of road closures, school buses handling Huth Road Elementary School students had to be rerouted, creating some delays. All participating units returned in service by 4:01 p.m.




Huth Road Home Destroyed by Fire - April 2015


Photos by Jodi Robinson-Click for larger view.

Buffalo News Story
   Ruptured gas line fueled blaze that destroyed Grand Island home.




Rollover Accident on I-190 - April 2015


Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
Photo by Skip Mrkall

   At 3:14 p.m. on Thursday, April 9th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a one car MVA which occurred in the southbound lane of the I-190 between the Baseline and Staley Road overpasses. Fire Chief Matt Osinski stated that the 60-year-old driver, Michael Engleman of Cheektowaga, lost control of his vehicle which flipped over and struck some roadside trees. He was stabilized by the GIFC medics and transported by ambulance to ECMC for evaluation. His injuries were described as non-life threatening.




GIFC Recruitment Needs Met - April 2015

Top from left: Tarek Ali, Tony Caruana, First Ass't Chief Mark Sadkowski, Mike Madigan, Scott Matheis.
Bottom from left: Cory Rozell, Ron Warner, Pat Hahn, Joanne Ciffa

Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Fire Chief Matt Osinski reports that 2015 recruitment needs of the Grand Island Fire Company have been met with the recent addition of eight new recruits. Although volunteers handle 70% of firefighting duties in the U.S., there has been a steady decline within the ranks of local and national emergency services organizations. Not so in the Grand Island Fire Company which usually has a substantial membership waiting list according to Chief Osinski. First Ass't Chief Mark Sadkowski, GIFC Training Coordinator, identified these new trainees as Tarek Ali, Tony Caruana, Joanne Ciffa, Pat Hahn, Mike Madigan, Scott Matheis, Cory Rozell and Ron Warner. Hahn, Madigan and Matheis have previous firefighting experience and Matheis is a certified paramedic. Ali is a prior GIFC Fire Cadet who is presently in Firefighter 1 and EMT training. Ciffa, Rozell and Warner are also in Firefighter 1 Training which will exceed 100 hours of intensive preparation. Good luck to these rookies who have already begun to fulfill their community protection responsibilites.




Dryer Fire Causes $2500 Damage - April 2015


Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    Shortly after 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 11th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a reported structure fire at the William Oehler residence on Baseline Road near the I-190 overpass. Family members evacuated the home after seeking emergency Grand Island Fire Company assistance. Deputy Fire Chief Chris Soluri stated that when Engine #4 and fire suppression crews arrived on location, they were met with heavy smoke emanating from the basement area. Upon investigation, it was determined that a dryer fire was so hot that it had burned through electrical wiring and nearby PVC water lines which partially extinguished the fire. Firefighters then applied dry chemical extinguishers to prevent further extension. The fire was considered an accidental malfunction of an unspecified nature, with total damage estimated at $2500 to the gas dryer, wiring, water supply lines, as well as structural smoke damage.




GI Fire Company Cadet Receives Scholarship - April 2015

From left: Fire Chief Osinski and Cadet Ben Shaw

Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   The Erie County Fire District Officers Association has chosen Grand Island Fire Cadet Ben Shaw as one of three successful recipients of its annual scholarship award. In order to qualify for this $1000 Arthur E. Cosgrove Memorial Scholarship, an individual must be a high school senior who has exemplified community involvement in the County of Erie, preferably in emergency services, and is matriculating in the emergency services fields of Fire or EMS. College program acceptance is also required. Besides his 2014 BSA Eagle Scout achievement, Ben has been an outstanding GIFC Cadet according to Fire Chief Matt Osinski.




Intense Chimney Fire on West River - March 2015




Story & photos by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    Grand Island firefighters responded to a chimney fire at 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24th at the West River home of Larry Lloyd. A passerby noticed unusually heavy smoke billowing from the second story rooftop of the historic structure which is over 100 years old and alerted the homeowner, who called 911. Fire Chief Matt Osinski stated that heavy smoke was encountered when Engines #3, #4 and LT 6 arrived on location. A rooftop team led by Fire Capt. Kevin Koch began extinguishment while interior crews activated Chimfex flares which produce a smothering agent throughout the chimney. Additional dry chemical and water application prevented extension into the structure itself. Extensive salvage operations also protected household possessions from water damage. Mutual aid assistance was rendered by the City of Tonawanda and Sheridan Park VFD's.
   The cause was identified as a heavy buildup of creosote within the chimney walls which ignited and created blast furnace heat conditions. Although there was no fire damage, structural damage of $2500 occurred when the surrounding roof had to be opened for inspection to insure there was no fire spread. The owner indicated that the fireplace had been in constant daily use throughout record breaking cold temperatures over the past several months. Chief Osinski stressed the importance of regular chimney inspection and cleaning by a trained professional.




Islanders Facing Increasing Ice Hazards - March 2015


Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that heavy ice accumulations have contributed to local MVA's, personal injury from falls, as well as household damage. On Wednesday, March 4th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a reported natural gas leak at an East River Road residence. Fire Capt. John Cinelli reported that a large slab of ice had fallen off a roof and ruptured a gas service line between the meter and the building. The meter was shut down and National Fuel called to the scene for emergency repairs.




GIFC Hydrant Clearing Underway - February 2015


Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
Fire Chief Matt Osinski reports that while many Islanders looked forward to a relaxing day on Sunday, February 22nd, firefighting crews deviated from their normal duties and engaged in a widespread hydrant clearing operation in several highly concentrated residential areas. Assistant Chief Omar Sortino and Captain Ryan Ayers led two separate teams that covered the Broadway-Love Road quadrangle. Approximately 6o hydrants were dug out of heavy packed ice and snow mounds within a three hour period. Members of local Boy Scout Troop #630 are organizing an effort to participate in this critical community protection project. Chief Osinski urges residents and business owners to adopt nearby hydrants so they are readily available during a fire emergency.




GI Woman Treated for Hypothermia - February 2015

    The Grand Island Fire Company treated Rena Fraser, 88, of Whitehaven Road for hypothermia on the morning of Sunday, February 15th. Mrs. Fraser had gone outside to check on her furnace outlets and collapsed in the deep snow. EMTs treated her at the scene and she was taken by ambulance to DeGraff Memorial Hospital for evaluation. Grand Island Fire Chief Matt Osinski recommends senior citizens calling a neighbor or relative to help with this type of issue, "help is usually only a phone call away." Firefighters cleared out the intakes and exhaust pipes before leaving the residence.




Ice Rescue Emergency Drill - February 2015


Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer - click for larger view.
   Being surrounded by the Niagara River is nothing new to Grand Islanders, but freezing winter temperatures pose unique problems for fire company rescue personnel, handling off shore emergencies according to Fire Chief Matt Osinski. Because ice fishermen, kids, pets, etc. happen to venture onto shore ice at this time of year, mishaps can occur and the GIFC must be prepared.
   On Saturday, February 7th, drill instructors Jordain Benoit and Sean O'Donnell conducted a special ice rescue drill at Beaver Island State Park. Rescue teams were outfitted with Mustang Ice Commander suits which are waterproof and insulated to protect responders from extreme, cold water temperatures for extended periodsoftime. An RDC Rapid Deployment Craft was then used to rescue a simulated ice floe victim. These stress resistant boats can be transported to just about any shoreline site, where inflation and launching is accomplished within five minutes or so. The RDC has open ends for easy access to victims and is tied off to shore by a safety rope to help facilitate retrieval efforts.
A successful practice run/drill reflects how tough and reliable this specialized equipment is, and the expanded life saving capabilities available to the GIFC volunteers.




Hidden Hydrants a Problem for Island Firefighters - February 2015


Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   Fire Chief Matt Osinski reports that Grand Island firefighters responding to fire emergencies can be severely handicapped by heavy snowfalls which have recently buried many local hydrants. He pointed out that the extra time required to locate and dig out these missing hydrants can hamper firefighting operations and contribute to an increase in property loss, or even worse, a fire related fatality.
   Chief Osinski urges residents to clear snow accumulations away from nearby hydrants so that fire fighters have ready access to a water supply if needed. Business owners are also urged to use common sense in clearing adjacent parking areas so as not to bury and/or isolate hydrants, thereby compromising their fire protection. Grand Island fire cadets, boy scouts and others have again been asked to continue hydrant clearing efforts this winter, and everyone's helping hands will be greatly appreciated by all your GIFC volunteers.




GI Fire Company Paramedics Save Life - February 2015

    Fire Chief Matt Osinski reports that on the morning of January 29, 2015, the GIFC received a frantic 911 call for an unresponsive 37 year old male. Captain Jon Cinelli was the first to arrive on location and found an unconscious and barely breathing male patient. GIFC paramedics quickly determined the patient had suffered an opiate overdose, and administered two doses of Narcan intranasally. The patient promptly became conscious and alert after the second dose. This is the first use of the intranasal Narcan by the GIFC since being placed in-service in October 2014. It should be noted that for over 20 years, GIFC paramedics have been carrying and utilizing the intravenous (IV) version of Narcan, but it is dependent on establishing an IV, which is both time consuming and not always successful.




Brick Oven Explosion Causes No Damage - January 2015

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   At 2:38 p.m. on Friday, January 16th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a reported explosion at the Brick Oven Pizzeria and Pub at 2457 Grand Island Blvd. Ass't. Fire Chief Omar Sortino stated that employees were startled by a sudden backflash which blew open an oven door. The gas suppy was quickly shut off as GIFC emergency 911 assistance was requested. There was no indication of damage and National Fuel was called to the scene to evalute the problem. Interruption of normal business operations was expected to be temporary.




2015 Grand Island Fire Company Installation - January 2015

2015 Firematic officers from left: Ryan Ayers, Don Turner, Jon Cinelli, Mark Sadkowski, Chris Soluri, Matt Osinski, Omar Sortino, Dan Mathes, Jeremy Pullano.

2015 Admin. Officers from left: Mike Anderson, Don Turner, John Podlucky, Ambria Tim and Nicole Gerber.

2015 Board of Directors from left: Paul Gorman, Peter Coppola, Greg Butcher, Saed Shafie, Jeremy Pullano and Peter Sukmanowski.

Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
    Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick administered the oath of office to newly elected GIFC officers on Saturday, January 10th at Fire Headquarters. Both firematic and administrative officers were sworn to uphold their 2015 community protection duties. Hardwick was joined by New York State Assemblyman John Ceretto, NYS Sen. Marc Panepinto, and Grand Island Town officials, including Supervisor Mary Cooke, guests and friends in praising the outstanding commitment of these volunteers.
   Matt Osinski begins his second term as Fire Chief and will be joined by Deputy Chief Chris Soluri, 1st Assistant Chief Mark Sadkowski, 2nd Assistant Chief Omar Sortino, Fire Captains Dan Mathes, Ryan Ayers and Jon Cinelli, Day Captain Kevin Koch, Fire Police Captain Don Portik and EMS Captains Don Turner and Jeremy Pullano. President John Podlucky will be assisted by Vice President Don Turner, Recording Secretary Ambri Tim, Line Secretary Mike Anderson, Financial Secretary Nicole Gerber, Treasurer Tony Mastantuono and Sergeant at Arms Dave Khreis, who also holds a position on the Board of Review.
    Returning to the Board of Directors is Jeremy Pullano, and Saed Shafie is newly elected to the Board. Robert Meyers has returned as a Benevolent Association Trustee. President of the Ladies Auxiliary Nicole Butcher introduced her officers as follows; Vice President Heidi Sue McCormick, Secretary Jacquie Dailey, Treasurer Nancy Amato, Chaplain Mary Becker and trustees Julie Meyer, Darcy Golde and Haneen Shafie.
    A special Chiefs Award was presented to Jon Cinelli for his exceptional performance in covering 2014 public relations events in the community, 100 percent squad duties and his leadership as the 2014 EMS Captain. Sortino, Mathes, Ayers and Turner also received special EMS and Fire commendations for their September 22, 2014 efforts when two victims were rescued from a fiery, two car MVA. Ben & Scott Shaw, Rob Soluri, Gerber and Portik were singled out by the Fire Company, Hardwick and Cooke for their extraordinary lifesaving teamwork in treating a December 7, 2014 patient in cardiac arrest. Hardwick and Cooke also recognized Dave Tolejko for 50 years of dedicated service which included 20 years on the Board of Directors.
   There were four new rookies in 2014; they are Adrienne Berndt, Nick Egloff, Charles Jones and Nate Tilkins. Egloff was designated "Rookie of the Year" for his efforts. Congratulations went out to Michele Jones for earning her 2014 NYS certification as a paramedic. Communications Supervisor Steve Morgan received a special commendation for his work in establishing a new Policy & Procedures Manual, addressing critical, personnel needs, Red Alert upgrades and collaboration with line officers in working out an Ebola policy.
    "Top Ten" responders were again led by Ray Pauley with 859 calls followed in sequential order by Sortino, Cinelli, Egloff, Skip Mrkall, Osinski, Mathes, Rick Pelham, Tim Krecisz and Pete Coppola.




Monica Fire Causes $60,000 Damage - January 2015

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   Shortly before 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 11th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a structure fire at the Monica Road home of Jody Ward. She advised the Grand Island Fire Company dispatcher that upon arriving home from a shopping trip, she discovered that a fire had broken out in her living room and was soon out of control. She then escaped with the family dog and took shelter in the home of a nearby relative.
    Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that heavy smoke and flames were encountered by fire suppression crews as they arrived on location with engines #3, 4, 5 and LT 6. The first floor fire was knocked down and brought under control within 15 minutes and was confined to the area of origin, although heat and smoke damage was extensive. Total damage was estimated at $20,000 to the structure and $40,000 to the contents. The exact cause remains under investigation. The homeowner was evaluated for smoke inhalation but declined hospitalization. A GIFC firefighter sustained an on scene injury which required further treatment at Kenmore Mercy.




Baseline Fire Causes $250,000 Damage - January 2015

Above photo by Mary Stewart


Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   At 4:24 p.m. on Friday, January 9th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a report of heavy smoke coming from the Baseline Road residence of Brian Wylke, which had been discovered by an alert neighbor. Fire Chief Matt Osinski stated that Engines #3, 4, 5, LT6 and fire suppression crews encountered intense heat and smoke conditions upon gaining entry. Although the fire had a considerable head start, search and rescue teams led by Ass't Chief Omar Sortino were able to save several pets. The occupants were not home at the time.
    The fire was knocked down and under control by 4:59 p.m., with damage estimated at $150,000 to the structure and $100,000 to the contents. The fire originated in the first floor kitchen, spreading upward and outward. The exact cause remains under investigation. The Kenmore, Sheridan Park and City of Tonawanda Volunteer Fire Departments provided mutual aid assistance during the operation. One Sheridan Park firefighter was treated at the scene for respiratory distress and transported by ambulance to Kenmore Mercy for additional attention.
    Chief Osinski noted that serious weather related obstacles had to be overcome by working firefighters. Two Baseline Rd. fire hydrants were found to be frozen and inoperative. An alternate water source was located on Jeffrey Drive.




Island Firefighters Join Multi-Agency Rescue Effort - January 2015

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   Shortly before 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 6th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a request from the Erie County Sheriff’s Department to assist in a South Bridge incident. An unidentified individual threatened to jump into the Niagara River and did so a few moments later. Deputy Fire Chief Chris Soluri reported that GIFC Marine Unit 2, the City of Tonawanda watercraft and Niagara County Sheriff's Department helicopter initiated a "shore to shore" search northward up to the Erie Barge Canal. The search was discontinued at 4:23 a.m. with negative results. Subsequently, at 10:08 a.m., GIFC Fire Capt. Ryan Ayers and a Marine Unit 2 crew joined with a City of Tonawanda search team led by Chief Chuck Stewart, the North Tonawanda Dive Unit and a Border Patrol helicopter conducting an intensified search of the area. Once again the victim could not be located and GIFC units returned to service at 1:38 p.m.




Limited Damage at Apartment Fire - January 2015

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer
   Shortly before 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 1st, Grand Island firefighters responded to a reported structure fire at the Ransom Courts Apartments located at 1335 Ransom Road. A tenant, Kyly Winstel, discovered smoke in a hallway after hearing an audible alarm from a smoke detector. Grand Island Fire Chief Matt Osinski stated that the fire originated on an exterior wooden porch in the 12 unit apartment complex. Damage was limited to $2,500 to the building and none to the contents. The apparent cause was careless smoking.


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