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Grand Island Fire Company News 2016

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 2017: Fire Chief Christopher Soluri; Deputy Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski; 1st Assistant Chief Omar Sortino; 2nd Assistant Chief Daniel Mathes, Fire Captains Tim Krecisz, John Podlucky, Jourdain Benoit; EMS Captain Sean McCormick; Fire Police Captain Don Portik.

Administrative Officers 2017: President Mike Dallessandro, Vice President Brent Mendel, Recording Secretary Joanne Ciffa, Financial Secretary Nicole Gerber, Treasurer Tony Mastantuono Sr. and Sgt.-at-Arms David Khreis.

Board of Directors 2017: Gregory J. Butcher, Jeremy Pullano, Peter Sukmanowski, David Khreis, Kevin Koch, Saed Shafie, Mike Dallessandro.








Workshop Heavily Damaged in Fire - December 2016


Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly before 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 21st, Grand Island firefighters responded to a structure fire at the First St. residence of Lonnie Riggs. Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that a large unattached building used as a workshop was belching heavy smoke from an interior fire when Engines #3, #4, LT #6 and crews arrived on location. Successful fire suppression had the blaze knocked down and under control at 11:10 a.m. Extensive overhaul was then required due to the type of construction, heavy insulation, and attic storage space. Damage was estimated at $30,000 to the structure and $50,000 to the contents which consisted of expensive workshop tools, equipment and a stockpile of materials. Cause is considered accidental ignition. Mutual aid assistance was rendered by the Sheridan Park VFD and the City of Tonawanda FD.




Three Car MVA - December 2016

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 8:13 a.m. on Saturday, December 17th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a three car collision in the northbound lane of the I-190 at the Whitehaven Road interchange. Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that a chain reaction crash on the I-190 sent one vehicle into the nearby guardrail and injured one driver. 21 year-old Taylor Wolf of Niagara Falls was evaluated by GIFC EMT's for upper body trauma and was transported by ambulance to Kenmore Mercy Hospital. The other two drivers, 42 year-old Thet Lwin of Tonawanda, NY and 20 year-old Gregory Cook of East Amherst, NY claimed no serious injuries and declined hospitalization.




Twin City Medic Injured - December 2016

Coughlin vehicle at Love/Parkway accident.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly after 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, December 11th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a two car collision at the intersection of Love Road and Alt Blvd. 54 year-old Joseph Cala of Grand Island was evaluated by GIFC medics and transported by TCA to Buffalo General Hospital for treatment of relatively minor injuries. The other driver, 23 year-old Jeremy Rockwood, also of Grand Island, claimed no injuries. Slippery road conditions reportedly contributed to the MVA.
   The TCA ambulance that initially responded to the call became involved in a separate collision at the intersection of Love Road and Beaver Island Parkway. Ass't Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski stated, 60 year-old Judith Schoelles of TCA was transported to DeGraff Memorial Hospital for precautionary follow-up. The TCA operator, 22 year-old Nick Egloff, sustained no injuries. The other driver, 31 year-old Robert Coughlin of Grand Island and a 12 year-old passenger claimed no injuries.




GIFC Annual Elections - December 2016

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Grand Island firefighters chose 2017 firematic and administrative officers during annual elections held on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at fire headquarters, 2275 Baseline Rd. Chris Soluri ran unopposed for his first term as Fire Chief and will be joined by Deputy Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski, 1st Ass't Chief Omar Sortino, 2nd Ass't Chief Dan Mathes; Fire Capts. Tim Krecisz, John Podlucky, Jourdain Benoit; Fire Police Capt. Don Portik and EMS Capt. Sean McCormick.
   Mike Dallessandro was elected President and Brent Mendel as Vice President. Joanne Ciffa is the new Recording Secretary, Nicole Gerber is Financial Secretary, Tony Mastantuono Sr. Treasurer, and Dave Khreis is Sgt At Arms. Other vacant positions will be filled by appointment at a later date.
   Greg Butcher has been returned to the Board of Directors for another three year term, and Mike Dallessandro has been newly elected. Scott Shaw was elected to the Board of Review and Norm Mrkall I and Norm Mrkall II are Benevolent Association Trustees. Congratulations and good luck to these GIFC volunteers who have joined the 2017 leadership team.




GIFC Firefighters Take Polar Plunge - December 2016

From left: Jon Cinelli, Allison DeMartin, Ashley Gorman & Sean O'Donnell.

Story by Jon Cinelli.
    Early on Saturday, December 3rd, Grand Island Fire Company Capt. Jon Cinelli, Lt. Sean O'Donnell, firefighters Ashley Gorman and Allison DeMartin took part in the annual Woodlawn Beach "Polar Plunge". This event is a benefit for the Special Olympics. Over 1000 participants took the plunge and raised over $200,000. This is the fifth year the GIFC has joined with other WNY responders to keep the participants safe while exposed to the chilly waters of Lake Erie. Water temperatures were 47 degrees over the weekend.




Live Burn Exercise on Third Street - November 2016

Ass't Chief Mark Sadkowski confers with Safety Officer Peter Coppola.

Story and photos by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that a vacant structure owned by Steve Giddings was donated to the Grand Island Fire Company for use as a live burn drill on Saturday, November 12th. The Third Street home was considered structurally unsound and would have been scheduled for demolition. GIFC manpower and equipment began to arrive on location shortly after 8:00 a.m. and were joined by firefighters from the Sheridan Park VFD, Armor VFD and the City of Tonawanda Fire Department. Chief Osinski, Ass't Chief Mark Sadkowski, Ass't Chief Omar Sortino and Sheridan Park Chief Randy Rider acted as coordinating drill instructors.
   The fire ground operation included roof top ventilation, search and rescue and interior attack. Six interior evolutions were conducted with all firefighters in full turnout gear and SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) units for maximum safety. A final burn was initiated shortly after 12:00 p.m. and the entire operation was concluded at 3:15 p.m. Chief Osinski stressed that participating firefighters received invaluable hands on experience, under realistic fire conditons, which are not always available, especially for new recruits.




Grand Island Blvd. Business Damaged - November 2016


Doane vehicle.

Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly before 1:00 p.m. on Friday, November 4th, Grand Island Fire company rescue personnel responded to a car into building incident at 1740 Grand Island Blvd. Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that 71 year-old Susan Doane of Grand Island was attempting to park her vehicle when she accidentally drove over the curb and into the front window of the Aura Salon & Spa. Doane was evaluated by GIFC medics but claimed no injuries and declined hospitalization. The structure sustained cosmetic damage only.




Love Road Garage Fire - October 2016


Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly after 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 25th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a structure fire at the 2189 Love Road residence of Arnol Guin. An alert passerby noticed smoke coming from a detached garage behind the home and immediately contacted the Grand Island Fire Company Dispatch Center for emergency assistance.
    When Fire Capt. Tim Krecisz, Engine #4,#5,LT6 and fire suppression crews arrived on location, heavy smoke was billowing out of the garge. An aggressive interior attack was initiated after entry was gained and the fire was out within five minutes. Total damage was limited to $500 to the structure and $1000 to the contents. Preliminary investigation by the Erie County Sheriff's Department indicated that the cause was accidental due to improper disposal of hot ashes.




Fire Prevention Open House - October 2016


GIFC dispatcher Derek Filipiak demonstrates the 911 system to students and parents.

Sidway students gather before walking back to school.

Natalie Malush and Juliana Smith are outfitted in special Homeland Security gear.

Firefighter Ben Shaw assists 7 year-old Emma Redfern with hose practice.

Live fire display.

From left: Ass't Fire Chief Omar Sortino, Susan Fittante, Danielle Walsh, Fire Chief Matt Osinski, Joshua Milovich and Deputy Richard Lundberg.

Story and photos by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Over 1000 participants visited the Grand Island Fire Company on Friday, October 14th to attend the Fire Prevention Open House. Sidway school students walked over and visited during the day learning "Stop, Drop & Roll" safety practice, demonstrations of firefighter use of personal protective gear, EMS lifesaving demos, fire truck tools and equipment displays. They also visited Fire Dispatch and watched how a 911 call for help is handled.
   The evening open house visitors viewed an awesome live fire demo, as a simulated household fire erupted into a blazing inferno in minutes, a reminder of the urgency of exiting a burning structure without delay. There was also hose practice for the kids. Many agencies participated in the program including the NYS Police, Erie County Sheriff Department, Mercy Flight, Erie County Haz Mat Team, Homeland Security, City of Tonawanda Fire Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Sheridan Park VFD, Brighton VFD, Ellicott Creek VFD, and Twin City Ambulance.
   Fire Chief Matt Osinksi presented special 2016 Fire Prevention Commendations to Erie County Sheriff Richard Lundberg, Danielle Walsh, and Susan Fittante for their quick thinking actions on April 15th when they rendered life saving assistance to a motorcycle accident victim. The seriously injured cyclist, Joshua Milovich was present to express his heartfelt appreciation. Program coordinator Ass't. Fire Chief Omar Sortino announced the winners of the "Ride to School in a Fire Truck Contest" would be contacted and scheduled for their day, shortly. The GI Fire Company would like to thank the contributors and the GIFC Ladies Auxiliary for hosting the hot dog sale and basket raffle.




Grand Island Fire Company Holds Annual Inspection - October 2016


From left: 2nd Assistant Chief Omar Sortino, Deputy Chief Christopher Soluri, Fire Chief Matthew Osinski, 1st Assistant Chief Mark Sadkowski.

Story and photos by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   On Saturday, October 1st, Grand Island firefighters, medics, EMT's and cadets reported to fire headquarters for their annual state of readiness inspection by Fire Chief Matt Osinski. Chief Osinski commended all personnel for their exceptional hard work and professionalism in handling over 1270 emergency incidents to date. He takes great pride in his leadership role over the past three years and the noteworthy accomplishments by the GIFC during that time. Town Supervisor Nathan McMurray also thanked every GIFC member for their special brand of service which helps to bind the community together. On a more personal note, he praised those who recently responded to his own home to successfully treat an ailing family member.




Special Commendations Highlight 2016 Fire Prevention Program - October 2016

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    Grand Island Fire Chief Matt Osinski announced that a special award presentation will take place during the Fire Prevention Open House on Friday, October 14th from 5 - 8 p.m. at headquarters, 2275 Baseline Road. Four individuals, Erie County Deputy Sheriff Richard Lundberg, Danielle Walsh, Donald Vacanti, and Susan Fittante will receive fire prevention commendations for their quick thinking actions on April 15, 2016. At that time, they rendered assistance to a motorcycle accident victim by summoning the GI Fire Company emergency responders and provided initial life support until paramedics arrived.
    Event program director and Ass't Fire Chief Omar Sortino has arranged for mulit agency participation, to include firefighting and EMS displays and demos by the GIFC, Western New York fire service, and local law enforcement. A live fire demo will also take place, showing firefighters in action during a dangerous haz mat situation. The Ladies Auxiliary will provide refreshments available for purchase and a basket raffle.
    Firefighter and EMS teams will visit Grand Island elementary schools on October 11,12,13 to offer fire safety tips. Sidway students will visit fire headquarters on Friday, October 14th to gain first hand knowledge of fire company operations and engage in challenging hands-on safety exercises. Students will also receive entry blanks for the Ride to School in a Fire Truck drawing held during open house activities.




GIFC Bills Honor Guard - September 2016

From left: Peter Coppola, Pat Hahn, Dave Castiglia, Tony Mastantuono Jr., Tony Mastantuono Sr.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   The Grand Island Fire Company was proud to act as honor guard in presenting the American Flag at the Buffalo Bills/Arizona Cardinals game on Sunday, September 25th at New Era Stadium in Orchard Park. This special assignment reflects the important role of first responders in going above and beyond their normal community protection duties.




Fix Road Residence Fire - September 2016

Interior stove/chimney damage.

Story and photos by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 6:01 p.m. on Sunday, September 25th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a structure fire at the Fix Road home of the Forte family. A passerby noticed smoke coming from the roof and alerted family members who immediately evacuated the household and called 911.
   Ass't Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski stated that Engines #2,4,5,LT6 and fire suppression crews arrived on location within 10 minutes and determined that 1st and 2nd floor areas next to the brick chimney had ignited and were burning upwards toward the roof. A freestanding wood burning stove had been in use during the day and hot embers had apparently infiltrated into walls adjacent to the chimney.
   The fire was declared under control at 6:40 p.m. and extensive overhaul was required on the 1st, 2nd floors and attic areas. Total damage was estimated at $75,000 to the structure and $25,000 to the contents. Mutual aid assistance was rendered by the Sheridan Park VFD and City of Tonawanda Fire Department. There were no injuries to firefighters or occupants.




2016 Fire Prevention Theme - September 2016

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) notes that most American homes have at least one smoke detector that can provide occupants with sufficient warning, to excape life threatening consequences during a fire emergency. To insure that this safeguard works, NFPA72 - National Fire Alarm Code requires smoke alarms to be replaced at least once every ten years. Accordingly, "Don't Wait, Check the Date! Replace Smoke Detectors Every Ten Years!" is this years fire prevention theme.
   Fire officials said the public can be put at increased risk of smoke detector failure if expiration dates are exceeded or ignored. When in doubt, it is suggested that all users replace detectors during fire prevention week, October 9-15.
   GI Fire Company firefighting and EMS teams will visit Grand Island elementary schools on Ocotober 11, 12 & 13 to offer fire safety tips. Sidway students will visit fire headquarters on October 14th to gain first hand knowledge of fire company operations. The GIFC weekly program will windup with an Open House at fire headquarters from 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. on Friday, October 14th.




NYS Training Completed - September 2016

From left: Ass't Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski, Seniuor Cadet Allison DeMartin, firefighter recruit Ashley Gorman and Lt. Jourdain Benoit.

Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Grand Island Fire Company Chief Matt Osinski congratulates firefighter recruit Ashley Gorman and Senior Cadet Allison DeMartin for their successful completion of a Firefighter 1 course by NYS fire instructors. A series of comprehensive training sessions commenced on May 31st and covered proper use of ladders, hose lines, as well as attack mode in car fire and structure fire scenarios and haz mat situations. The volunteers graduated on Friday, September 23rd at the West Seneca Hose Company.




Window Washer Seriously Injured - September 2016

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 11:38 a.m. on Tuesday, September 20th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a report of a contractor falling 20' from a ladder at 38 Park Place. Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that 52 year-old Robert Power of Niagara Falls, NY was washing windows on the second floor of the residence when his ladder suddenly slid off a dormer and threw him to the ground, 15 - 20 feet below. He was treated by GIFC medics for severe traumatic injuries and transported by Mercy Flight to ECMC for followup medical attention.




Overlapping Fires - September 2016

Blackmon Road fire damage.

Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 8:39 p.m. on Tuesday, September 20th, Grand Island fire fighters responded to a structure fire at 79 Blackmon Rd. Heavy smoke and flames were encountered at the rear of the duplex, next to a door and chimney area. Engines #3,4,5 and LT6 responded along with a Sheridan Park VFD mutual aid pumper. What started as an exterior fire, penetrated the wall of the structure which had to be opened up completely for effective extinguishment. The fire was declared out at 9:05 p.m.The fire apparently started when the occupant attempted to destroy a bees nest with a chemical spray that ignited. Total damage to the structure is estimated at $20,000 and $10,000 to the contents.
   At 8:49 p.m. on Tuesday, a resident reported an explosion and fire across the street from him at 2367 Long Road. A City of Tonawanda Fire Department mutual aid pumper responded and determined that an open burn started with gasoline caused the incident. The homeowner in question had a garden hose available to prevent fire spread and was advised to notify the GIFC when the recreational bonfire was out.




Water Rescue Drill - September 2016

Rescue team members during drill..

Dive team member entering river.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   The Grand Island Fire Company recently joined with the City of Tonawanda Fire Department, Ellicott Creek Volunteer Fire Department and Getzville Volunteer Fire Department in a water rescue drill in the Niagara River. The GIFC Marine Unit 1 has a longstanding working relationship with the City of Tonawanda Fire Department water rescue craft in protecting the East Niagara River. When distress calls are received, backup support is also provided by the Erie County Sheriff's Department and the U.S. Coast Guard. This water rescue drill demonstrates the availability of outside resources that can be called upon if needed.




Grand Island Fire Company News - September 2016

South Bridge car fire.

Stories & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly before 10:00 p.m. on Friday, September 9th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a vehicle fire on the south Grand Island Bridge - southbound. GIFC Ass't Chief Mark Sdkowski reported that fire suppression crews encountered an "out of control" engine compartment fire in a 2004 Oldsmobile Alero owned by Dennis Streeter. The Sheridan Park VFD was called in to render assistance due to a massive traffic jam which impeded access to the scene. The fire was reported out at 10:15 p.m. Ass't Chief Sadkowski stated that the vehicle was considered a total loss with a damage estimate of $5000. The cause was electrical in nature. The bridge was reopened at 10:34 p.m., with traffic backed up to the Whitehaven Road exit.

    Shortly after 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 8th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to two separate incidents, one involving an unconscious River Oaks patron and the other a MVA on the I-190. Ass't Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski reported that 81 year-old Jack Wood of Ontario, Canada had suddenly lost consciousness at River Oaks Golf Course. After regaining consciousness he was transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital.
    Meanwhile, a second EMS crew responded to an I-190 MVA where 50 year-old Kimberly Perkins of Buffalo veered off the roadway, hitting a tree behind 1739 Staley Road. She apparently suffered a medical emergency, was transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital and later died.

From left: Fire Chief Matt Osinski and Fire Capt. Jon Cinelli.

    Grand Island Fire Chief Matt Osinski is pleased to report that Fire Capt. Jon Cinelli has completed a comprehensive Fire Service Instructor 1 course on September 2nd. This additional resource will strengthen existing training capabilities for the entire GIFC membership. Cinelli is now certified nationally as a full fledged Fire Instructor, after completing a week long study program. Cinelli joins Chief Osinski, Ass't Chief Mark Sadkowski, medics Dave Tolejko, Lance Kohn and Steve Stouter who have associated training certification.




Island MVA's Continue to Climb at Record Pace - September 2016

Wreckage at Stony Point & Bedell Roads.

Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Fire Chief Matt Osinski voiced his concern over the fact that Grand Island Firefighter/medics have had to contend with over 30 MVA's since June 29th, one of which involved a fatality. A Thursday, September 1st two car collision occurred during daylight hours at Stony Point and Bedell Roads, not far from the scene of the prior August 30th fatal accident. 23 year-old Lynne Huffnagle of Grand Island sustained minor injuries and declined hospitalization. The other driver was evaluated by ambulance personnel and declined treatment.
   Subsequently, at 11:50 a.m. on Monday, September 5th, another two car MVA occurred at East River and Sandy Beach Roads. 46 year-old Laura Gorcheck of Grand Island declined treatment, although a 17 year-old family member ws transported by ambulance to Women & Children's Hospital. 60 year-old Robert Schooping of Grand Island was referred to his family physician. Fire officials believe that driver inattention/distraction may be a contributing factor in this unprecedented series of MVA's.




Fire Company Lauded by GI Town Board - September 2016

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    On Tuesday, September 6th, several members of the Grand Island Fire Compnay, along with a member of the Buffalo Fire Department, received special recognition for their outstanding efforts on July 13th at Robert Mesmer's Annual Picnic. A skydiver sustained critical life threatening injuries during a jump. Certificates of appreciation were awarded for their "swift, professional and life-saving work". They are: 2nd Asst. Chief Omar Sortino, Captain Jon Cinelli, Paramedic Joe Torregrossa, Lt. Nickolas Egloff, Lt. Jourdain Benoit, FF Edie Racz, Fire Inv. Mike Demartin, Sr. Fire Cadet Allison Demartin, Dr. Chris Krawczyk and Battalion Chief Mike Swanekamp of the Buffalo Fire Department.




Stony Point Head-On Crash - August 2016


Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    At 6:10 p.m. on Tuesday, August 30th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a two car MVA on Stony Point Road between Bedell Road and Regency Drive. Fire Chief Matt Osinski stated that this horrific head-on crash injured all three ocupants who were evaluated and treated by GIFC medics. 37 year-old Jeremy Wallens of Grand Island sustained severe trauma and was transported to ECMC, (he later died). A passenger, 47 year-old Lori Niemann of Grand Island sustained lessor injuries and was also transported to ECMC. The other driver, 23 year-old Brandy Whiting of Grand Island was transported to Niagara Falls Medical Center for precautionary treatment. Stony Point Rd. was reopened to traffic at 9:21 p.m.




Family Pet Alerts Occupants to Residential Fire - August 2016

Outside view.

Inside view.

Grandaughter Haley with hero Morgan.

Story and photos by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    At 12:43 a.m. on Sunday, August 28th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a report of a structure fire at the East River Road home of Kerwin Pine. A pet dog Morgan was credited with alerting sleeping family members by barking loudly, which was not normal for her. This aroused Mr. Pine who then discovered hot embers falling from the ceiling of an enclosed rear sun porch and 911 was called for emergency GIFC assistance. Other family members, including a visiting granddaughter were able to exit prior to the arrival of GIFC units.
    Ass't Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski stated that Engines #2,4,5 and fire suppression crews arroved on location, set up access ladders and quickly extinguished the rooftop fire. Ass't Fire Chief Sadkowski reported total damage was limited to $10,000 to the structure and $1,000 to contents. The cause was attributed to an electrical wiring short circuit involving a floodlight. No injuries were reported. Owner Kevin Pine was greatly appreciative of firefighters efforts and commented that they did a "super job" in preventing the fire from spreading to the main structure. Another bright note was the caring attention of GIFC President and firefighter John Podlucky to the frightened granddaughter.




Driver Injured in Crash - August 2016

Car involved in MVA.

Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly before 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 24th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a one car MVA on East River Road near the entrance to Buckhorn Island State Park. Grand Island Fire Capt. Dan Mathes stated that 60 year-old Debra Walsh of Grand Island apparently lost control of her vehicle which careened into a roadside ditch. She was evaluated by GIFC EMT's for non life threatening injuries and chose to receive followup care.




One Hospitalized in Three Car Collision - August 2016

Car involved in MVA.

Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 5:27 p.m. on Friday, August 19th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a three car MVA on the Whitehaven Road/I-190 overpass. Ass't Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski reported that 75 year-old Emiliya Rubinshteyn of Albany, NY was evaluated at the scene and transported to DeGraff Memorial Hospital. Three other individuals, 78 year-old Boris Slavam of Hamburg, Germany, 25 year-old Dana Barnier and 25 year-old Bryan Zavaros, both of Ontario, Canada declined hospitalization.
   Fire officials stated that a series of MVA's have occurred at this particular location during 2016 and previously, due to poor visibility when exiting ramps onto Whitehaven Road. Drivers are encouraged to use extreme caution at this location.




Construction Mishap Causes Widespread Power Disruption - August 2016

Arcing wires on Fix Road.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 12:32 p.m. on Tuesday, August 16th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a citizens 911 report of a LaFarge Concrete truck striking a power pole, severing wires, which were arcing on the ground at a new build at 2466 Fix Road. Fire Chief Matt Osinski stated that the resulting power outage affected approximately 292 National Grid customers within the vicinity of Baseline, Bush, West River and Love Roads. A safety zone was established and traffic diverted until National Grid crew arrived on location at 1:07 p.m. Power was restored at 4:14 p.m.




MVA's Continue - August 2016

Beaver Island Parkway and Broadway.

Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly before 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 6th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a two car collision at the intersection of Beaver Island Parkway and Broadway. Ass't. Fire Chief Omar Sortino reported that 83 year-old John Kennell of Grand Island sustained minor injuries and declined hospitalization after evaluation by GIFC medics. 19 year-old Daniel Edel of Grand Island received stabilizing treatment at the scene and was transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital with non life threatening injuries.
   At 3:44 on Thursday, August 4th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a two car MVA at Baseline Road and Marjorie. Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that 45 year-old Victoria Kuhn and her 14 year-old daughter, along with 37 year-old Marcus Vacanti, all of Grand Island claimed no serious injuries.




Training Excellence at GIFC - August 2016

From left: Joe Casullo, Rich Nichols, Bob Dailey, Chief Matt Osinski, JoAnne Ciffa, Ashley Gorman & Allison DeMartin.

Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Grand Island Fire Chief Matt osinski reports that firefighters, EMT's, medics and fire cadets have been upgrading their skills through comprehensive training sessions. Fifty drills have been conducted during 2016 to date, covering fire suppression, search and rescue, MVA extrication, BLS and ALS life saving techniques, and marine unit operations.
   Several individuals have engaged in specialized training during this time. Firefighters JoAnne Ciffa, Pat Hahn and Rich Nichols completed EMT training requirements in April and attained NYS certification. Cadet Allison DeMartin has obtained CFR status and is enrolled in a Firefighter 1 course along with new firefighter Ashley Gorman. Cadet Joe Casullo completed a stringet Firefighter 1 "boot camp" in July. Firefighter Bob Dailey is finishing a 13 month paramedic training program through ECC South and will receive NYS certification this month. Firefighter Nick Egloff is going to begin paramedic training in September.




Multi Agency Search Locates Niagara River Swimming Victim - August 2016

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    At 8:31 p.m. on Friday, August 5th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a report of a possible drowning in the Niagara River near Buckhorn Islnad State Park. Fire Capt. Tim Krecisz confirmed that 47 year-old Rajesh Chopra of Clarence, NY had been swimming with friends when he failed to surface after jumping from their boat into the river. GIFC Marine Unit 1 commenced a grid search of the area with a four man crew of Medic Scott McCormick and firefighters Nick Egloff, Tony Caruana and Ashley Gorman. The GIFC was soon joined by the US Coast Guard, Erie County Sheriff Department, NYS Parks Police and NY State Police Helicopter. After a lengthy search, the victim was located in eight feet of water near Grass Island at 10:22 p.m.




More MVA's Keep GIFC Busy - August 2016

Love Road MVA.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer. Photo by Sam Pauley
   At 10:24 a.m. on Thursday, July 28th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a two car collision which occurred at the intersection of Love Road and Beaver Island Parkway. Deputy Fire Chief Chris Soluri stated that two islanders, 62 year-old Debra Billica and 17 year-old Steven Parisi, were involved but sustained no injuries despite considerable damage to the vehicles. Both drivers declined hospitalization after evaluation by GIFC medics.
   Shortly before 6:00 p.m. on Monday, August 1st, GIFC rescue personnel responded to a three car MVA on Bedell Road near Amy Drive. Fire Chief Matt Osinski stated that those involved were shaken up, but not injured. Island residents 67 year-old Michael Urbanski, 37 year-old Angela Bielec and 36 year-old Christopher Neuhaus and two, three year-old toddlers were evaluated and declined hospitalization.
   At 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 2nd, GIFC rescue personnel responded to a two car MVA on the southbound I-190 between Baseline and Whitehaven Roads. Fire Captain Jon Cinelli stated that 18 year-old Alexis Martinez of Cheektowaga sustained minor injuries and was transported to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital. Occupants of the second vehicle declined treatment.




Island Firefighters Battle Staley Road Grassfire- July 2016


Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 5:22 p.m. on Saturday, July 23rd, Grand Island Firefighters responded to a report of a "large outside fire" at the Staley Road residence of Greg Horwitz. Assistant Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski stated that a backyard bonfire got out of control and caused a grassfire which initially covered a 20’'x 20' area. Hose lines and deck gun master streams from Engines #4 & #5 were applied to slow down the fast moving fire which burned out a 300' by 300' area before finally extinguished. Fortunately, no building exposures were involved, although the entire operation took just under two hours to conclude. Fire officials voice their concern over any outside recreational fires, burning of trash, etc. when lack of rainfall and elevated temperatures create dry tinder conditions. If any such burning is undertaken it should be in a confined area with a ready water supply as a safety precaution in the event of an unwanted extension of fire.




MVA's Climb to 20 within 23 Day Stretch - July 2016

Plaza MVA.

Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    Fire Chief Matt Osinski reports that Grand Island firefighter/medics have had to contend with a record high 20 MVA's within a 23 day period from June 29th. At 5:32 p.m. on Thursday, July 21st, GIFC rescue personnel responded to a report of a two car collision in the southbound lane of the I-190 between Staley and Baseline Roads. Chief Osinski stated that a vehicle driven by 40 year-old Richard Kozak of Buffalo, NY rolled over onto a center median guardrail after the forceful impact. He was able to crawl out of the wreckage and was threated at the scende for upper body trauma, Kozak was then transported to ECMC. The other driver, 42 year-old Jennifer Orsulak of Niagara Falls was transported to St. Mary's Hospital for treatment.
    An MVA occured at 1:49 p.m. on Friday, July 22nd, when 44 year-old Clara Cameron of Grand Island crashed into a steel sign pole at the Grand Island Plaza. Fire Chief Osiniski reported that Cameron and a 10 year-old passenger sustained no injuries.




Port-A-Potty Fire - July 2016

Plaza MVA.

Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    Shortly before 8:00 p.m. on Friday, July 22nd, Grand Island firefighters responded to a structure fire near the tennis courts behind Kaegebein Elementary School, 1690 Love Road. Ass't Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski stated that when Engine #3 and fire suppression crews arrived on location, it ws determined that a port-a-potty was fully engulfed in flames. Although 100 gallons of water was applied, the highly flamnable structural material was totally destroyed. Total damage ws estimated at $500 and the cause ws pinpointed as spontaneous combustion due to extreme heat build-up.




Island Driver Lands in Niagara River - July 2016

Damaged vehicle from West River MVA

Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly after 12 midnight on Wednesday, July 20th, Grand Island Fire Company personnel responded to a West River Parkway MVA involving a car off the road and in the water. Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that a vehicle traveling west on Love Road apparently hit a culvert, careened about 84 feet across West River Parkway through shoreline trees, and ended up on its side in one-two feet of water in the Niagara River. GIFC firefighters Ben Shaw and Jourdain Benoit were in the vicinity and within minutes assisted both occupants in escaping the wreckage by breaking windows. 22 year-old Schane Carroll and 20 year-old Tanner Atkinson of Grand Island were treated at the scene and transported to E.C.M.C. Fire officials pointed out that seat belt and air bag deployment prevented more serious injuries.




Four Car MVA on Boulevard - July 2016

Chain reaction on GI Blvd.

Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 5:14 p.m. on Monday, July 18th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a four car chain reaction MVA at 2014 Grand Island Blvd., near Dunkin Donuts. According to 2nd Ass't Fire Chief mark Sadkowski, all drivers had exited their vehicles prior to arrival of GIFC units. The drivers, 45 year-old Brian Quinn of Buffalo, 21 year-old Donald Doeing of North Tonawanda, 19 year-old Kathleen White of Grand Island and 39 year-old Philip Porhaska of Grand Island, all claimed no injuries.




MVA's Continue to Occur - July 2016

Whitehaven overpass MVA.

Bicyclist being treated.

Story and photos by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    According to Grand Island Fire Chief Matt Osinski, firefighters and medics have experienced a continued upsurge in the number of MVA's on the Island. During the period of June 29th - July 16th, 16 MVA incidents have been handled, with considerable damage but no critical injuries. At 3:49 p.m. on Thursday, July 14th, GIFC rescue personnel responded to a car in the ditch at 2994 Grand Island Blvd. The driver, 59 year-old Amy Heist of Grand Island claimed no injuries and declined treatment.
    At 5:03 p.m. on Friday, July 15th, a two car MVA occurred in the southbound lane of the I-190 near Whitehaven Road. 32 year-old Marshall Crane of Amherst, NY claimed no injuries, but a two year-old child was transported to Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo after evaluation and treatment by GIFC medics. A 3 month-old sustained no injuries. The other driver, Teresa Dillsworth of Tonawanda claimed no injuries. At 5:13 p.m., another two car MVA occurred on the Whitehaven Road overpass. 56 year-old Steve Braddock of Grand Island sustained a minor injury but declined hospitalization. The other driver was treated by Twin City Ambulance medics for non life threatening injuries.
    On Saturday, July 16th at 5:40 p.m., GIFC rescue personnel responded to a two car MVA in the southbound lane of the I-190 at the South Bridge. Deputy Fire Chief Chris Soluri stated that 55 year-old Wesley Miller of Grand Island claimed no injuries. The other driver, 25 year-old Kristin Millar of Grand isalnd sustained minor injuries but declined hospitalization. At 5:54 p.m. a bicyclist collided with a vehicle at the intersection of Bush Road and West River Parkway. 55 year-old Mike Chadwick of Grand Island sustained lower extremety injuries and was transported by ambulance to Kenmore Mercy Hospital. The driver of the auto, 55 year-old Maureen Schmitt of Williamsville claimed no injuries.




New Recruits Enter Ranks of GIFC - July 2016

From left Dan Robinson, Ashley Gorman, Ben Shaw, Lt. Tim Krecisz, Mike Haynes, Jeremy Stepp and Paul Valera.

Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Fire Chief Matt Osinski reports that six new recruits have joined the Grand Island Fire Company in 2016 and have started training in basic firefighting and EMS skills. Training Instructor Lt. Tim Krecisz reported, the new rookies are Ashley Gorman, Mike Haynes, Dan Robinson, Ben Shaw, Jeremy Stepp and Paul Valera. Gorman and Shaw have advanced from their former Fire Cadet status and have a head start in Fire Company procedures. Haynes is a former chief officer in the Ellwood Volunteer Fire Department and is well versed in fire service operations. Congratulations to the new volunteers.




Skydiver Injured at Picnic - July 2016

Mercy Flight.

Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Grand Island Ass't Fire Chief Omar Sortino headed a standby crew of GIFC firefighters and medics on Wednesday, July 13th, at the annual neighborhood picnic sponsored by Robert Mesmer at his home located at Love Road and Alt Blvd.
   When skydivers began their demonstration, the first participant landed safely on the grassy airstrip. The second skydiver, 42 year-old Jeffrey Antonich of Newfane, NY jumped and hit the ground at an estimated 40-50 mph, sustianing multiple system trauma. An on scene team of medics led by GIFC Medical Director Chris Krawczyk, M.D. provided critical advanced life support treatment pending arrival of Mercy Flight. The victim was flown to the ECMC trauma unit for intensive medical care.




Unusual Amount of MVA's - July 2016

Saraceno wreckage, photo by Ray Pauley.

Oddo vehicle. Photo courtesy of Grand Island Fire Company

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Grand Island Fire Chief Matt Osinski stated that firefighters and medics have had to contend with an unusually high rate of MVA's recently. There have been eight occurances in the past two weeks. Shortly before 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 10th, GIFC rescue personnel responded to a three car MVA in the northbound lane of the I-190 between Bedell and Long Roads. Ass't. Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski reported that eight patients were evaluated and 16 year-old Elin Blanco and 39 year-old Tracy Miller, both of Niagara Falls, NY, were transported to ECMC.
   At 3:11 p.m. on Tuesday, July 12th, GIFC rescue personnel responded to a two car collition in the 400 block of Whitehaven Road. Deputy Fire Chief Chris Soluri reported that a vehicle driven by 19 year-old Joseph Saraceno of Grand Island rolled over twice and ended up in a roadside ditch after colliding with an auto driven by 83 year-old Jean McNally of Grand Island. Both were able to exit their vehicles prior to arrival of firefighters and medics. McNally was transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital as a precaution and Saraceno declined hospitalization.
   At 11:51 p.m. on July 12th, GIFC rescue personnel responded to a two car MVA that occurred at 2241 Grand Isalnd Blvd. GIFC Capt. Dan Mathes reported that 51 year-old Paul Oddo of Grand Island was turning into T.C.'s Tavern and flipped his jeep onto its roof after colliding with another auto driven by Calsey Borgeson of Grand Island. Oddo was able to exit the wreckage safely and refused treatment. Borgeson sustained no injuries.




Extrication Needed for MVA - July 2016


Extrication needed in Greico vehicle.

Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly before 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 6th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a two car collision at the intersection of Bedell Road and West River Parkway. Fire Chief Matt Osinski stated the 68 year-old JoAnne Grieco of Grand Island was trapped in the wreckage of her vehicle which had been propelled 50 feet off the roadway by force of impact. Grieco had to be extricated from her passenger car using the 'Jaws of Life' and other cutting tools. The roof, windshield and driver side door had to be removed in order to gain access. After evaluation by GIFC medics, Grieco was transported to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center with non life threatening injuries.




Two Separate MVA's Cause No Serious Injuries - July 2016

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Grand Island Fire Company Capt. Tim Krecisz reported that rescue personnel faced recurring MVA's on Tuesday, July 5th and no serious injuries were involved.
   At 12:07 p.m., a two car collision occurred on Grand Island Blvd., in front of the Subway Sandwich Shop. Jed Carver, 39 of Lancaster, NY was rear ended by a vehicle driven by David Morgan, 20, of Grand Island. Carver was taken to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for followup.
   At 4:29 p.m., Lauren Fermolle, 65, of Grand Island collided with a parked vehicle near 3617 Stony Point Road. No injuries were reported.




Two Hospitalized in 3 Car MVA - June 2016


Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly before 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 29th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a three car MVA in front of the Island Kids Child Care Center on Ransom Road. Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that all three drivers had been able to safely exit their vehicles. Claudia Pavis, 61, of Little Valley was treated for non life threatening injuries and transported by ambulance to ECMC. Grand Island resident, Allison DeMartin, 17, was evaluated at the scene and transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital by ambulance. The third driver, Lisa Dolan, 48, declined medical attention.




Regency Manor Fire - June 2016

GIFC firefighter Butch Meyer mans hose line as blaze is extinguished.

Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly after 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 25th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a structure fire at the Regency Manor apartment complex at 2225 Bedell Road. Ass't Chief Mark Sadkowski stated that smoke and flames were visable when Engines #4, E-5, LT 6 and fire suppression crews arrived on location. Quick action prevented the fire from penetrating exterior walls on the 2nd and 3rd floors. The fire did burn through the wooden balcony flooring that separated the two levels. The fire was under control within 15 minutes. The two occupants of the apartments were not home at the time of the fire. and there were no injuries. Sadkowski estimated total damage at approximately $1000 and identified the cause as careless disposal of cigarette smoking materials.




GIFC Receives Allstate Award - June 2016

Chief Matt Osinski with Allstate Agent Phil Mastantuono.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    Fire Chief Matt Osinski reports that the Grand Island Fire Company has been the recipient of a special 2016 "Hands in the Community" Award through the Mastantuono Allstate Agency. This $1000 grant will be applied towards training needs for firefigher/medics, new recruits, and fire cadets. Chief Osinski stated that comprehensive training sessions insure a state of readiness needed to handle an ever increasing workloard that has already reached 760 emergency incidents to date. He also commended the Mastantuono Agency for its longstanding support for the community protection goals of the Fire Company.




Outside Fire Hazards - June 2016

Chief Osinski with Erie County Sheriff's officer at Whitetail Run mulch fire.

Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Fire Chief Matt Osinski reports that Grand Island firefighters have had to contend with an upsurge in brush, grass and mulch fires, due to the hot, dry weather. Most recently, at 10:42 a.m. on Tuesday, June 14th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a outside fire near the Beaver Island State Park beachfront, reported by a kayaker. A burning tree log was located in a remote area near a hiking trail. The fire was extinguished with several water cans that had been carried to the scene. The exact cause of ignition was undetermined.
   Later in the day, at 2:50 p.m., Grand Island firefighters responded to the Genovese residence on Whitetail Run. Chief Osinski reported a mulch fire ocurred in a front garden area, next to the home. The homeowners initial efforts to put out the blaze were partially successful, but still smoldering when firefighters arrived. Spontaneous combustion was pinpointed as the cause in this instance. Careless disposal of cigarettes has caused similar incidents in the past.




Back to Back Training Sessions - June 2016

Vehicle extrication drill.

Shake-down cruise. Photos by Jon Cinelli

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    Fire Chief Matt Osinski reports that a May 24th vehicle extrication drill and May 25th marine unit exercise represent stepped up specialized training for the Grand Island firefighters and medics. At the extrication drill, 35 firefighters and medics participated in the auto extrication simulation, held at Marty's Towing on Baseline Road. Fire Captain Jon Cinelli acted as OIC and was assisted by team leaders Capt. Dan Mathes and Capt. tim Krecisz. GIFC Fire Cadets learned how best to utilize the 'Jaws of Life' and other extrication tools.
   The following day, Fire Capt. Jon Cinelli and Special Operations Lt. Joanne Ciffa took Marine Unit #1 on a two hour Niagara River shake-down cruise. Firefighters Edie Racz, Adrian Pilliod, Jim Sugar and Medic Joe Torregrossa brushed up on vessel management, fire pump use, search and rescue and man overboard procedures.




7-Eleven Parking Lot MVA - June 2016

Story by Ray Pauley.

   At 10:28 a.m. on Sunday, June 5th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a parking lot accident at the 7-Eleven convenience store, 1787 Love Road. Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that 17 year-old Jessica Culbert of Grand Island accidently lurched forward into a caged propane cylinder storage unit, located against the front of the store. Fortunately, no explosive hazard occurred as no propane tanks were ruptured during the crash. There were also no injuries reported.



MVA Rollover on East River Road - June 2016



Metz vehicle. Ray Pauley photos.

   At 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31st, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to an MVA on East River Road between Love Rd. and Broadway. Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that a vehicle driven by 31 year-old Lauren Metz of Buffalo collided with a parked landscaping trailer. She was able to exit the rollover wreckage prior to the arrival of GIFC responders and claimed only minor injuries. She was transported by ambulance to ECMC after evaluation by medics.
    Grand Island Fire officials share the concerns of local law enforcement agencies relating to driver inattention as well as failure to use due caution when encountering road hazards. Chief Osinski urges everyone to drive alertly and defensively.




Firefighters Handle Recurring MVA's - May 2016

Roll-over accident at Whitehaven and Baseline Roads. Ray Pauley photo.

North Bridge accident. Jon Cinelli photo.

   At 1:37 p.m. on Thursday, May 26th, Grand Island Fire Compnay rescue personnel responded to a two car collision at the intersection of Baseline and Whitehaven Roads. Ass't Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski stated that 64 year-old Giscoe Thompson of Greenfield, MA and a four year-old passenger were in a SUV that reportedly rolled over twice before coming to rest back on its whells. Thompson was stabilized at the scene by GIFC medics and transported by ambulance to ECMC for evaluation. The four year-old was taken to Women and Children's Hospital for precautionary treatment. Neither appeared to have sustained life threatening injuries. Two 19 year-old and a 20 year-old in the second vehicle claimed no injuries.
   Two days later, at 12:16 p.m. on Saturday, May 28th, GIFC rescue personnel responded to a three car chain reaction MVA in the northbound lane of the North Grand Island Bridge. Ass't Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski stated that seven individuals ranging in age from 55 years-old to nine years-old were evaluated by medics. Despite heavy vehicle damage, there were no injuries reported.




Reverse 911 Information - May 2016

   On Monday, May 23rd the Erie County Sheriff's with assistance of the Niagara Falls Police Department were actively persuing a possibly armed suspect involved in a violent crime. The subject drove off the roadway in the area of Stony Point and Whitehaven Rd's and multiple police units immediately established a perimeter. A call from a deputy to notify resident's via the 'Reverse-911' system to 'shelter in place' was made. Within minutes the subject was subdued and the shelter in place was lifted even before it could be processed through the County system. This information was all transmitted over the ECSO radio frequency. The Grand Island Fire Company took no part in operations of this event and has no part in the reverse 911 program, as we work closely with Erie County Emergency Management and Erie County Sheriff's. Any questions regarding this incident should be forwarded to the Erie County Sheriff's Office at 858-2903.
   A few facts about 'Reverse-911':
  • Everyone is in the database, this includes hardline and cell phone numbers, there is no need to sign up.
  • A computer system establishes the affected perimeter based on event type and location, only residents within that perimeter will receive the alert.
  • It is a County based system not in connection to the Grand Island Fire Company.
        There is a state program called NYAlert (www.nyalert.gov) it is in addition to the above listed and is optional. You may create an account and sign up to receive phone calls or text messages regarding events in your area, this also includes weather reports, traffic issues, or other pertinent events that may not be regularly included in a reverse-911 situation.
        As always, if you would like to update the fire company of any pertinent changes within your residence or business you may contact us at 773-4334 (non-emergency line) 24/7. Examples include; a change in emergency contact information, updated phone numbers, any fire hazards in home, knox box locations or keypad codes. We also send out a mailing card annually to update this same information.




    Fence Fire Threatens Residence - May 2016


    Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
       Shortly after 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a reported fence on fire at the unoccupied North Colony home of Walter Dutka. Neighbor Glenn Wallace happened to look across the street, saw flames, and contacted the GIFC for assistance. After calling, Wallace applied water from a nearby garden hose to the wooden, stockade fence, located within a few feet of the attached garage. The home is behind the Riverstone Grill parking lot.
       When Fire Capt. Tim Krecisz and Engine #4 crews arrived on location minutes later, a 3'x3' hole had burned through the fence, and the fire was substantially out. Total damage was estimated at $200 and the cause remains undetermined.




    Grand Island Fire Company Celebrates 78 Years of Service - May 2016

    From left: Chief Matt Osinski, son Mo, Ben Shaw with father Scott Shaw, Board Chairman Greg Butcher.

    Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
       Local government officials, family members and special guests gathered at fire headquarters on Saturday, May 21st to thank the Grand Island Fire Company for 78 years of outstanding community protection. Board of Directors Chairman Greg Butcher noted that the 1938 founding fathers carefully laid the groundwork for the solid GIFC infrastructure that exists today, including an ALS (Advanced Life Support) paramedic unit that is second to none. Fire Chief Matt Osinski made special mention of the cadet program which was established in 2005 to prepare young participants for subsequent recruit training. The most recent cadets to transition are Ben Shaw, Evan Shaw, Mo Osinski and Brent Mendel.
        Several active members were recognized for their dedicated years of service. Deputy Fire Chief Chris Soluri, Board member Dave Khreis, Shawn Kephart and Adrian Pilliod received prestigious 20 year Life membership awards. Past Chief and Board member Dave Tolejko was commended for completing 45 years of service.
    Service Awards List: 5 Years - Scott Shaw, Sean O'Donnell; 10 Years - Don Turner; 15 Years - Rev. Paul Robinson; 20 Years - Dave Khreis, Chris Soluri, Shawn Kephart, Adrian Pilliod; 45 Years - Dave Tolejko.
       Ladies Auxiliary President Nicole Butcher expressed her groups congratulations with a much needed kitchen supply upgrade. Two members were unable to attend the celebration as they are on active duty for the military, they are Dave Khreis and President John Podlucky.




    Grand Island Firefighters Respond to Walgreen's Alarm - May 2016

    Fire Crew at Walgreens.

    Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
       Shortly before 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17th, Grand Island firefighters responded to an alarm company report of a duct work fire at Walgreens Drug Store, 2320 Grand Island Blvd. Fire Chief Matt Osinski stated that the GIFC crew investigated duct work and rooftop HVAC units and determined that there was no fire hazard. A system malfunction apparently generated a false alarm and maintenance workers were then alerted.




    Two Car Collision Sends One to Hospital - May 2016

    Wilson vehicle with detached bumper.

    Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
       Shortly before 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 14th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a two car MVA at the intersection of Baseline and Staley Roads. Fire Safety Officer Pete Coppola reported that a vehicle driven by 51 year-old Robbin Wilson of Williamsville, NY collided with a car which then rolled into a roadside ditch. Two occupents in the second auto were evaluated by Twin City Ambulance medics but declined hospitalization. Wilson appeared to have no life threatening injuries but was transported by ambulance to Buffalo General Hospital for precautionary follow-up.




    GI Rugby Bus Involved in MVA - May 2016

    Story by Peter Sukmanowski, GIFC Public Information Officer
       The bus that the Grand Island High School rugby team was riding on was involved in a three-vehicle motor vehicle accident this past Saturday, May 14th, near Rochester, NY. Players Zane Johnson and Ryan Schwinn, both Fire Cadets at the Grand Island Fire Company (GIFC), began assisting those that were injured prior to the arrival of the fire department. Fire Chief Matt Osinski couldn't be more proud of the quick actions taken by Zane and Ryan to assist those who were injured after the accident! Both cadets joined the GIFC cadet program this past fall, which is led by 1st Assistant Chief Mark Sadkowski. A Buffalo News article can be seen here. If you or anyone you know between the ages of 16 and 18 years old is interested in joing the GIFC Cadet Program, please contact 1st Assistant Chief Sadkowski by calling Fire HQ at (716) 773-4334, or via e-mail at 1achief@grandislandfire.us. Great job Zane and Ryan!!




    Beaver Island Parkway MVA Sends Two to Hospital - May 2016

    Dearlove vehicle.

    Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
       Shortly after 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 8th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a two car collision at the intersection of Broadway and the Beaver Island Parkway. Fire Capt. Dan Mathes reported that vehicles driven by 83 year-old Carol Dearlove of Grand Island and 79 year-old William Cowan of Tonawanda collided at the traffic signal controlled intersection. Both drivers were evaluated for non life threatening injuries and transported by ambulance to Kenmore Mercy Hospital. A passenger, 77 year-old Geraldine Cowan claimed no injuries.




    River Oaks Residence Sustains Heavy Fire Damage - May 2016






    Story & photos by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
        At 12:16 p.m. on Thursday, May 5th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a structure fire at the Warner residence on River Oaks Drive. The fire got an appreciable head start because family members were not at home and the blaze was discovered by a passerby.
        Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that a working fire was encountered when Engines #2,3,4,5,LT6 and fire suppression crews arrived on location minutes later. An aggressive exterior attack brought the fire under control by 1:24 p.m. Extensive overhaul and attention to hot spots continued for several hours. Mutual aid support was received from Sheridan Park VFD, Brighton VFD and the City of Tonawanda FD.
        Total damage was estimated at $300,000 to the structure and $300,000 to the contents, which inclued three vehicles inside an attached garage. There was exposure damage of approximately $2000 to the siding at 143 Hazelwood. A preliminary cause was listed as accidental due to improper disposal of hot ashes. One GIFC firefighter was treated for exhaustion at the scene and taken to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for followup. The American Red Cross is assisting the family with emergency housing.




    River Oaks Drive House Fire - May 2016

    85 River Oaks Drive


       The Grand Island Fire Company, Sheridan Park, and Brighton fire units were on scene working a fully involved house fire at 85 River Oaks Dr. on Thursday, May 5th. In a report from the GIFC, defensive tactics were being used and the homeowner reported no one inside the home. No injuries were reported, the fire was still out of control one hour in. Roof and floor collapse. Some minor exposure damage was reported to the exterior of a neighboring home on Hazelwood Lane. Fire reported under control at 1:24 p.m.
    The Grand Island Fire Company reported the final damage totals: $300,000 to structure, $300,000 to content (including 3 vehicles in garage area). $2000 damage to exposure house (143 Hazelwood).




    Truck/Passenger Vehicle MVA - May 2016

    Heavily damaged Dobson vehicle and truck.

    Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
        At 2:20 p.m. on Wednesday, May 4th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a truck/passenger vehicle collision at the intersection of Grand island Blvd. and Baseline Road. Fire Chief Matt Osinski stated that a tree trimming truck operated by 39 year-old David Nowakowski of Hamburg, NY collided with a passenger vehicle driven by Kevin Dobson of Grand Island. Neither claimed injuries and declined hospitalization. A three year-old child was safely secured in a car seat in the back of the Dobson auto and was not injured.




    Fire Company Training Exercises - May 2016

    Special Ops Command Vehicle.

    Simulated victim, Firefighter Jim Sugar on transport trailor in Buckhorn.
    From left, front: CPR instructor Steve Stouter and GIFC Medic Jon Cinelli.

    Story & photos by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
        Grand Island Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that recent training sessions have included special operations "off road" rescue and PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support), which pose unique challenges for all responders. Chief Osinski explained that a Special Operations ATV Unit was developed during the 2004 term of Chief Greg Butcher inorder to cope wotj rough wooded terrain, creek beds, swampy areas, etc. Since then, special ops capabilities have been fine tuned by successive drills, the latest having taken place at Buckhorn State Park. Fire Captain Jon Cinelli and Lt. Joanne Ciffa guided a search and rescue team through victim location, treatment and stabilization and extrication. GIFC Dispatcher Derek Filipiak also provided his expertise relating to GPS/cellphone tracking which had previously proved to be of extreme value in pinpointing victim whereabouts.
        On April 30th, 14 GIFC and Town of Tonawanda paramedics participated in an 8 hour PALS refresher training course at Grand Island Fire Headquarters. Those in attendance stressed that there is no substiture for the critical hands on experience which will afford the practitioners a critical lifesaving advantage.




    Two Car MVA on I-190 - April 2016

    Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
       At 7:22 a.m. on Tuesday, April 19th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel, along with the Sheridan Park VFD, responded to a two car MVA on the southbound I-190 near the Beaver Island Parkway interchange. This is the second such incident occurring at that location within four days. GI Deputy Fire Chief Chris Soluri stated that 42 year-old Tiffany Nells-Ford of Niagara Falls was evaluated for non-life threatening injuries and transported by ambulance to St. Mary's Hospital. The other driver, 59 year-old Cindy Morrell of Elma declined hospitalization.




    Lawn Mower Fire - April 2016

    Firefighter Ben Shaw attends to damaged gas line.

    Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
       At 3:22 p.m. on Sunday, April 17th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a reported lawn mower fire at the Baseline Road residence of Rachel Wilkinson. Deputy Fire Chief Chris Soluri stated that the homeowner had just finished mowing her lawn and was putting the Craftman rider tractor into the garage when it backfired and suddenly erupted into flames. The homeowner had enugh presence of mind to push the tractor out into the driveway so the structure was not involved. An alert neighbor rushed over with a fire extinguisher and doused the flames before a gas tank explosion could occur. Fire Capt. Jon Cinelli and his crew eliminated a gas leak hazard and flushed down the area with water. Total damage estimated at $250.




    Motorcycle MVA at South Parkway & 190 - April 2016

    Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
        At 5:39 p.m. on Friday, April 15th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to an MVA involving a motorcyclist who reportedly lost control of his bike and crashed into the pavement at the Beaver Island Parkway merger with the southbound I-190. Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that 39 year-old Joshua Milovich of Grand Island was already receiving initial life support from an Erie County Deputy Sheriff with medic training when he arrived on location with other responders. GIFC medics then provided more intensive ALS treatment for the unconscious victim who was transported by Mercy Flight to the ECMC trauma unit.




    MVA at Bedell & West River Parkway - April 2016

    Montes vehicle.

    Story & photos by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
       Shortly after 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 12th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a two car MVA at the intersection of Bedell Road and West River parkway. Ass't Fire Chief Omar Sortino reported that vehicles driven by Island residents Gwendolyn Montes, 63 and Michael Smietana, 60 collided with such force that both cars were propelled off the roadway and onto the shoulder and grassy median. The left rear wheel of the Montes vehicle was ripped off the axle and landed approximately 60' away from the wreckage. Montes was evaluated at the scene and transported by ambulance to Buffalo General Hospital. Smietana was taken to Veterans Hospital as a precaution.




    Live Fire Training on Grand Island Blvd. - April 2016



    Story & photos by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
       Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that 43 Grand Island firefighters were joined by contingents from the Sheridan Park Volunteer Fire Department and the Brighton Volunteer Fire Department on Saturday, April 2nd, to conduct a live burn training exercise. The vacant building was located on Grand Island Blvd., next to Wheelfind Automotive. Through the supportive generosity of property owner Larry Playfair, the firefighters were able to utilize integrated mutual aid teamwork which maximizes fire suppression skills.
       Manpower and equipment began to arrive on location at 8:00 a.m. to establish command, secure a water supply and set up operational assignments for firefighters. Safety precautions were adhered to according to NFPA 1403 standards. Seven different interior attack teams were rotated as needed so that all participants were exposed to realistic live fire conditions.
       The entire operation was concluded at 3:30 p.m. when the structure was completely destroyed, except for the cinder block foundation. This was a valuable learning experience for the dedicated volunteers who never hesitate to give freely of their time and effort in making community protection duties a top priority.




    No Injuries at Wallace Drive Fire - March 2016



    Above photos taken by Chuck Berlinger.

    3771 Wallace Drive. Click for larger view.

    Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
       At 7:25 p.m. on Thursday, March 24th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a reported structure fire at the unoccupied Wallace Drive residence of Martin Grisanti. Within three minutes, GIFC Capt. Jon Cinelli arived on location, observed heavy smoke and fire conditions and alerted all responding units to a working fire. Engines #3, 4, 5 and LT 6, along with fire suppression crews initiated an aggressive interior attack. The fire was declared out at 7:52 p.m.
       Captain Cinelli indicated the fire appeared to have originated in a first floor wood burning fireplace which spread upwards through the ceiling into the second floor area where most damage occurred. Total damage estimate at $100,000 to the structure and $50,000 to the contents. Mutual aid assistance was received from the Sheridan Park Volunteer Fire Department and City of Tonawanda Fire Department.




    Weekend Training for Island Firefighters - March 2016

    Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
       Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that 28 Grand Island Fire Company members, including rookies and cadets, recently completed a four hour Saturday morning CPR training session at fire headquarters. EMS Capt. Don Turner explained that the GIFC has adopted revised CPR procedures that maximize survival rates for cardiac patients. This AHA (American Heart Association) methodology consists of 30 chest compressions for every two ventilations at the rate of 100 to 120 per minute. In addition, pulse rate is checked every two minutes and an AED is used according to instructions as vocalized. Two man teamwork is also preferred so that the providers can be rotated as needed.



    Back to Back MVA's - March 2016

    Stony Point and Stony Point Extension.

    Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
       Shortly before 8:00 a.m. on Friday, March 4th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a chain reaction MVA on the southbound South Grand Island Bridge. Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that a sudden rush hour slowdown by one driver caused three other vehicles to crash into one another. Despite considerable property damage, there were no serious injuries. 27 year-old Erin Hanel of Grand Island was evaluated by GIFC medics and transported by ambulance to Kenmore Mercy Hospital. 71 year-old Vincent Grandinitti of Youngstown and 52 year-old Barry Beebe of Lewiston claimed no injuries. the 4th driver was treated by TCA medics and transported to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.
       At 9:18 a.m., GIFC units responded to a two car MVA at Stony Point and Stony Point Extension, where the force of the impact sent one vehicle into a nearby ditch. Fire Chief Osinski stated that 50 year-old Cathleen Shaw of Grand Island claimed no injuries and the second driver also required no treatment.




    Community Support Greatly Appreciated - February 2016

    Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
       The 2015 fund drive donations have continued to fill a critical role in assuring first-rate Grand Island Fire Co. operational needs, according to fire officials. These officials point out that such generous contributions actually supplement budgetary funding from the Town of Grand Island, which covers normal day-to-day expenses. As a result, this added income helps to ensure that additional, over the top expenses can be met with little or no adverse effect upon community protection capabilities.
        Fire Chief Matt Osinski notes that such funding helps to balance an ever-increasing workload faced by firefighter/medics, which reached 1,604 emergency calls during 2015. Likewise, recruitment and retention is enhanced by such steadfast financial support. Osinski noted that eight new recruits have been added to the GIFC during 2016, with the cost of equipping each firefighter amounting to approximately $3,500, which is well worth the investment. In addition, the GIFC must contend with sudden unforeseen expenses such as a vehicle breakdowns and building maintenance issues that crop up from time to time. Without solid community support, the job of the GIFC would certainly be that much harder. Accordingly, each and every member of the GIFC gives a special "Thank you" to their friends and neighbors for the loyal support which makes our Grand Island community a much better place to live in.




    Overdose Victim Revived by GIFC - February 2016

    Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
       Shortly before midnight on Thursday, February 11th, Grand Island Fire Company firefighters and medics responded to a reported narcotics overdose on Carter Creek Drive. When GIFC personnel arrived on location, they found an unconscious, unresponsive 34 year-old male lying on the floor. An intranasal dose of narcan was administered and basic life saving procedures were initiated. Shortly thereafter, a second dose was administered, which proved successful. The patient was then transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for additional medical attention. Fire Chief Matt Osinski shares the concerns expressed by Erie County Health Department officials, who note that over 200 drug related fatalities occurred within the county in 2015.




    Monday Busy for Firefighters - February 2016

    ATV accident on Baseline Road.

    Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
        Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that Grand Island firefighters and medics handled five separate emergency incidents on Monday, February 15th. The day started with a 6:15 a.m. mutual aid request for FAST team assistance from the the Town of Tonawanda during a firefighting operation on Roswell Ave. All GIFC units were relieved from duty at 7:44 a.m.
        At 12:02 p.m., firefighters responded to a fire alarm activation at the Islandview Apartments on Baseline Road. It was determined that a sprinkler head in the front vestibule had burst due to subzero temperatures over the weekend, and set off a general alarm. The system was shut down temporarily pending repair. At 12:49 P.M., GIFC medics treated an assault victim on Bedell Rd. , who was transported to Millard Fillmore Hospital for follow-up medical attention.
        At 1:24 p.m., GIFC rescue personnel responded to an ATV accident on Baseline Rd. near the pipeline. Chief Osinski stated that 20-year-old Paul Long of Grand Island was found lying in a roadside ditch next to his vehicle. He had apparently suffered a sudden medical episode which led to the loss of control. He was stabilized by GIFC medics and transported by ambulance to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for further treatment. At 2:34 p.m., GIFC personnel responded to a request for assistance from the NYS Police and found an untreatable cardiac victim.



    GIHS Students Take CPR Training - February 2016

    Medic Scott McCormick and students.

    Story & photos by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
        On Monday & Tuesday, February 1st & 2nd, Grand Island Fire Company personnel assisted the Grand Island High School Physical Education Department in conducting CPR training for approximately 920 students, as part of the GIFC ongoing community outreach/public education program. GIFC paramedics Scott McCormick, Joe Torregrossa, Fire Police Captain Don Portik and firefighter Nick Egloff provided technical support for phys ed instructors Dean Santorio and Daneed Gallagher. Students were reminded of a prior incident at which a student was resuscitated from a cardiac emergency. Learning CPR, including the use of an AED, can prepare them for such an emergency. GIHS staff members confirmed there are three wall mounted AED's, as well as two portable units available at the school.




    Island Student Injured in Traffic Accident - January 2016

    Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
       At 2:34 p.m. on Friday, January 22nd, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a traffic incident on Ransom Road near Park Lane. Fire Chief Matt osinski reported that a 12-year-old Grand Island Middle School student was crossing Ransom Road and apparently failed to see an oncoming vehicle which struck her. She was treated and the scene by GIFC medics for non life threatening injuries and transported by ambulance to Women's and Children's Hospital for evaluation.




    Snowmobile Destroyed in Fire - January 2016

    Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
        At 12:18 p.m. on Friday, January 22nd, Grand Island firefighters responded to a reported vehicle fire at 3198 Stony Point Rd. Fire Capt. Tim Krecisz stated that Grant Farmer had just refueled his 1998 Skidoo snowmobile, and tried to start it, when it erupted into flames. Farmer's effforts to extinguish the fire proved unsuccessful and he called the GIFC.
       The snowmobile was fully involved when Engines #5, #4 and fire suppression crews arrived on location. The fire was put out within 10 minutes and the sled was considered a total loss. The cause was attributed to a mechanical problem and damage estimated at $500.




    Fire Company 2016 Installation - January 2016

    From left, Firematic Officers: Koch, Krecisz, McCormick, Sortino, Portik, Osinski, Mathes, Sadkowski, Cinelli.

    From left, Board members: Shafie, Pullano, Koch, Butcher, Coppola, Khreis, Sukmanowski.

    Story & photos by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
       Newly elected Town Supervisor Nathan McMurray administered the oath of office to 2016 Grand Island Fire Company officers on Saturday, January 9th at Fire Headquarters, 2275 Baseline Rd. Both firematic and administrative officers were sworn to uphold their upcoming community protection duties. McMurray was joined by Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick, NYS Assemblyman John Ceretto and other Town Officials. Board Chairman Greg Butcher made special note of the Fire Company's remarkable evolution from a one room shanty to an unsurpassed "state of the art" operation.
        Matt Osinski begins 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. Dan Mathes, Jon Cinelli, Tim Frecisz, Day Capt. Kevin Koch, Fire Police Capt. Don Portik, EMS Capts. Don Turner and Scott McCormick.
        President John Podlucky will be assisted by Vice President Scott Shaw, Recording Secretary Ambria Tim, Line Secretary Mike Anderson, Financial Secretary Nicole Gerber, Treasurer Tony Mastantuono and Sgt At Arms Dave Khreis. Kevin Koch and Pete Sukmanowski were returned to the Board of Directors and Dave Khreis was newly elected to his first term. Bill Wilson and Dave Cole were returned as Benevolent Association Trustees.
        President of the Ladies Auxiliary Nicole Butcher introduced officers; Vice President Heidi Sue McCormick, Secretary Jacqueline Daily, Recording Secretary Arlene Soluri, Treasurer Nancy Amato, Sgt At Arms Barb Wilson, Chaplain Mary Becker, and Trustees Haneen Shafie, Darcy Golde and Julie Meyer.
        Top Ten responders were again led by Ray Pauley with 856 calls. Followed by Nick Egloff, Tim Krecisz, JoAnne Ciffa, Jon Cinelli, Matt Osinski, Omar Sortino, Pete Coppola, Dan Mathes and Scott McCormick. A special Chief Award was given to Ray Pauley for 52 years of active service in firematic, administrative and other duties. Deputy Chief Soluri received a special recognition for his life saving action on October 19, 2015 when he freed a trapped traumatic injury victim.
        Jourdain Benoit and Nick Egloff were commended for their extraordinary committment to fire prevention and public relations programs in 2015. Tony Mastantuono received a Presidents Award for his significant administrative contributions. The Rookie training class consisted of JoAnne Ciffa, Tony Caruana, Pat Hahn, Mike Madigan, Corey Rozell and Ron Warner. Ciffa was named Rookie of the Year for her exceptional performance.




    Driver Escapes Injury In Crash Through Bank Window - January 2016

    Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
       Shortly before 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday January 6th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a MVA at the First Niagara Bank, 2300 Grand Island Blvd.
    Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that 87yr old Jean Niland of Grand Island was parked in front when she accidentally crashed through one of the banks plate glass windows and into office space. As a result, a bank employee, 41 yr old Eva Sander of Grand Island sustained a minor injury and was taken to Urgent Care by a family member. The driver was also evaluated by GIFC Medics but denied injury and declined hospitalization. Bank Manager Mike Samland expressed relief that injuries were not as bad as they could have been under the circumstances, in view of the amount of interior damage that actually occurred. Nevertheless, the bank was able to open for business as usual the following day. Damage estimate to the bldg and furnishings is $15,000 to $20,000
    All GIFC units returned in service by 4:26 P.M. after ECSD accident investigators took over the scene.
       

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