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Grand Island Fire Company News 2018

Grand Island Fire Company, Inc. Website



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

Previous Fire News

Firematic Officers 2018: Fire Chief Christopher Soluri; Deputy Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski; 1st Assistant Chief Omar Sortino; 2nd Assistant Chief Daniel Mathes, Fire Captains: John Podlucky, Jourdain Benoit. Jon Cinelli; EMS Captain Scott McCormick; Fire Police Captain Don Portik.

Administrative Officers 2017: President Mike Dallessandro, Vice President Joanne Ciffa, Recording Secretary Tammy Gorman, Financial Secretary Nicole Gerber, Treasurer Tony Mastantuono Sr., Line Secretary Michelle Jones and Sgt.-at-Arms Pat Hahn.

Board of Directors 2018: Gregory J. Butcher, Jeremy Pullano, Peter Sukmanowski, David Khreis, Kevin Koch, Saed Shafie, Mike Dallessandro.








Nine First Aid Calls on July 4th Holiday - July 2018

Story by Peter Sukmanowski, Public Information Officer.
    GIFC volunteer firefighters were busy responding to first aid calls all day during the Fourth of July holiday.
    8:25am - EMS call on Hidden Oaks Court for a patient having a seizure.
    2:01pm - EMS call on Fairview Court for a diving accident in a pool.
    5:32pm - EMS call on Grand Island Blvd for a police emergency.
    5:41pm - EMS call at Beaver Island State Park for an unconscious patient.
    6:09pm - EMS call on East River Road for heat exposure.
    8:29pm - EMS call on East Park Road for breathing problems.
    9:58pm - EMS call on Whitehaven Road for an unconscious patient.
    9:59pm - EMS call on Grand Island Blvd for a patient having seizures.
    10:20pm - EMS call at Town Hall Terrance for a patient who fell with injuries.
    With today's high again being in the low to mid 90's, we ask everyone to take the appropriate precautions to beat the heat, and avoid becoming one of our patients!




GIFC Celebrates its 80th Birthday - May 2018

From left: Arlene Soluri, Karen Dallessandro & Nicole Butcher.

Firefighters receive awards.

   Grand Island Fire Company (GIFC) President Michael Dallessandro welcomed local government officials, family members, and special guests on Saturday, May 19th, to commemorate 80 years of community protection by the GIFC! He stressed that the GIFC would not be as successful as an organization if it were not for local government and community support, and more importantly, the support of the family of all the volunteer firefighters.
    Board of Directors vice-chairman, Greg Butcher, echoed these sentiments during the annual State of the Fire Company address, while pointing out that the GIFC has made significant progress over the past 80-years, from a one-engine company in 1938, to taking delivery of new apparatus to replace an aging fleet. None of this would be possible without the support of the Grand Island community.
    Although the continuing success of the GIFC depends upon a strong group effort, certain individuals are being recognized on this occasion for reaching significant milestones for years of service in the GIFC. The service award recipients are as follows:
20-year life membership - Joe Lavango and Jon Cinelli
5 years - Chris Caruana, Robert Dailey, Michele Jones, Richard Nicols, Ashley Gorman, and Matthew "Mo" Osinski
10 years - Nicole Gerber and Dr. Joe Takats
15 years - Omar Sortino
30 years - Kevin Rustowicz
35 years - Michael Dallessandro, Bill Wilson, and Skip Mrkall
40 years - Al Meyer, Rod Raham, Dave Cole, and Charles Shaw
45 years - Keith Wood and Howard Oakley
55 years - Ray Pauley and James Linenfelser
    The GIFC Ladies Auxiliary president, Nicole Butcher, also presented the GIFC with new dinner and salad plates, custom designed with the GIFC logo, to replace dishes that have been used for many years! Thank you very much to the Ladies Auxiliary, who have given the GIFC unconditional support over the years!
   Thank you again to all our volunteer firefighters, who are always there, 24/7, to service the Grand Island community! Every firefighter in the GIFC is a volunteer, who sacrifice their own time with family and friends, to save lives and property in a community they love! A special thank you to the Sheridan Park Fire Department for standing by at Fire HQ to answer any emergency calls, so the GIFC volunteer firefighters could attend the entire dinner. Please visit the Grand Island Fire Company's Facebook page for photos.




Become a Fire Cadet with the GIFC - May 2018

   Attention 16 & 17 year-olds, join the fire cadet program!    The cadet program, which is managed by past Fire Chief Matt Osinski, Lt. Ben Shaw, and Firefighter Ashley Gorman, is geared towards training these young adults towards becoming active volunteer firefighters with the GIFC when they graduate from high school and turn 18 years old. This is a very rewarding program that will allow young adults to serve their community as an active restricted member of the GIFC, teach them skills that will serve them for years to come, and form bonds and friendships will fellow cadets and GIFC volunteer firefighters that will last a lifetime! In addition, they will complete almost all of the training required of probationary GIFC volunteer firefighters, which will allow a seamless transition from a fire cadet to a volunteer firefighter.
   To be eligible in the program, a person must be at least 16 years old but under 18 years old, a resident of the Town of Grand Island, and obtain the permission of their parent or legal guardian. Applications can be obtained from Fire HQ's (use door #1), or from our website at www.grandislandfire.us. Please return them to Fire HQ to the attention of the Fire Chief. For additional information, please contact the program training officers at 716-773-4334, or via e-mail at mosinski@grandislandfire.us, bshaw@grandislandfire.us, or agorman@grandislandfire.us. You can also send us a private message on Facebook.




Gale Force Winds Create Havoc - May 2018

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    On Friday, May 4th, gale force winds of up to 70 mph swept through most of WNY, causing widespread power outages and property damage. Fire Chief Chris Soluri reported that Grand Island firefighters handled 13 emergency incidents within a three hour period. Eleven of these involved wires down, electrical hazards, or related problems.
   Starting at 4:18 p.m., firefighters responded to a call of wires down and smoking, at West River and Love Roads. Additionally:
4:55 p.m. - traffic signal out at Love & Beaver Island Pkwy.
5:15 p.m. - wires down at 3670 Stony Point Road.
5:19 p.m. - tree down across highway on Long Road.
5:26 p.m. - tree limb across wires at Beach House Restaurant.
5:29 p.m. - wires down at 5365 East River Road.
5:47 p.m. - recall for wires down at 3670 Stony Point Road.
6:18 p.m. - fire alarm activation at 186 Woodstream.
6:30 p.m. - heavy smoke in area of 1990 Harvey Road caused by generator in operation.
6:53 p.m. - wires down at 3124 Baseline Road.
7:31 p.m. - wires down at 2457 Staley Road.
   Two other calls at 6:47 p.m. and 7:22 p.m. involved non critical EMS responses. No storm related injuries were encountered.




Three Drivers Injured in Traffic Accident - May 2018


Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 3rd, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a three car collision at the intersection of Grand Island Blvd. and Webb Rd. Fire Capt. John Podlucky reported that the three drivers were evaluated and treated for non life-threatening injuries and transported by ambulance to local hospitals. 69 year-old Claudi Preve of Grand Island was taken to Kenmore Mercy Hospital, 27 year-old Michelle Tomes of Tonawanda was taken to ECMC, and 39 year-old Cheryl Neely of Amherst was taken to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.




Island Residence Damaged by Nearby Garbage Fire - May 2018


Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    At 3:38 p.m. on Monday, April 30th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a structure fire at 10 Ward Park. A passerby contacted a GIFC 911 dispatcher when he noticed smoke and flames coming from the rear of the residence. Ass't Fire Chief Dan Mathes stated that the fire spreading up an exterior wall was knocked down within 7 minutes of the arrival of Engines #3,4,5, LT6 and fire suppression crews. Sheridan Park VFD provided mutual aid assistance during firefighting operations. The fire originated in rubbish containers next to the building where smoking materials were improperly disposed of. Resulting damage was estimated at $20,000 to the structure and $5000 to the contents.




GIFC Medics Brush Up on Infant Care Skills - May 2018

Life Support Exercises - Capt. Jon Cinelli photo.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   On Saturday, April 28th, paramedics from the Grand Island Fire Company and Town of Tonawanda attended an all day session on Pediatric Advanced Life support at Grand Island Fire headquarters. Lead instructor and CME coordinator Dave Cole guided participants through this two year recertification program on how to treat critically ill and/or injured infants and children. Upgrading these skills included advanced airway procedures, IV access routes, and administration of different medications when treatung seriously ill patients. Thanks again to our local volunteers who devote so much of their time to such significant life saving community service.




Chlorine Leak at Water Treatment Plant - April 2018

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 4:19 p.m. on Thursday, April 26, 2018, Grand Island firefighters responded to a report of a chlorine leak at the Grand Island Water Treatment Plant, 318 Baseline Rd. Employees had encountered a piping leak when in the process of changing chlorine supply bottles.
   GIFC Chief Chris Soluri stated that a safety perimeter was established and approximately ten nearby homes were evacuated to protect occupants from toxic fumes. Brighton VFD then responded to a mutual aid request and sent a specially trained hazmat unit which entered the scene using Class A encapsulated suits. They determined that most of the resulting gases had dissipated and repairs were then initiated.
   Chief Soluri stated that prompt shut down action by plant personnel made this "an easily manageable situation," rather than something more serious. There were no injuries and normal plant operations resumed at 6:01 p.m.




GI Fire Company Welcomes 2018 Recruits - April 2018


Backrow from left: Training instructor Pat Hahn, Thomas Shanor, Jared Hale, Adam Crist, Kevin Chalupka, Training instructor John Podlucky.
Front row: Graciana Giambra, Vincent Malpica, Ryan Schwinn and Justin Szykowny.

Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    Fire Chief Chris Soluri reports that nine new members have entered the ranks of the Grand Island Fire Company as of 2018, due to highly successful recruitment efforts. The rookies are Brian Brennan, former fire cadet and EMT Adam Crist, Kevin Chalupka, EMT Graciana Giambra, Jared Hale, Vincent Malpica, Thomas Shanor (USMC veteran,), former fire cadet Ryan Schwinn and Justin Szykowny, an EMT and Firefighter 1. These individuals are now engaged in further firefighting and EMS training, which will prepare them for future community protection duties. Good luck new recruits!




Public Safety Dispatchers Honored for their Service - April 2018


Dispatcher Adrian Pilliod.

Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    April 8th through April 14th, 2018 has been designated National Public Safety Telecommunications week to homor those individuals who have chosen to dedicate their lives to serving their communities. Public Safety dispatchers provide a vital link between the community and local fire, medical, and law inforcement agencies.
    Emergency 911 dispatching operations by the Grand Island Fire Company commenced on December 29, 1985 after FCC licensing approval was received. Fire officials noted that this communications upgrade promoted a more effective level of community protection. During 2017, GIFC dispatchers handled 1665 fire and EMS incidents in addition to almost as many law enforcement and miscellaneous contacts. Thanks again to these professionals who handle our calls for assistance in critical times of need.


Fast Moving Fire Heavily Damages Island Home - April 2018




Story & photos by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    At 1:35 p.m. on Saturday, March 31st, Grand Island firefighters responded to a structure fire at the Fix Road residence of Gerald Tutwiler. Occupants immediately evacuated the premises as instructed by the 911 dispatcher.
   Fire Chief Chris Soluri stated that when enjines #2,3,4,LT6, and fire suppression crews arrived on location minutes later, they encountered heavy smoke and flames spreading upward from the first floor. The fire was brought under control shortly after 2:00 p.m. Mutual aid assistance was received from the Sheridan Park VFD and City of Tonawanda Fire Department.
   Fire investigators confirmed that the fire originated in a first floor outside wall and was electrical in nature. Damage was estimated at $150,000 to the structure and $100,000 to the contents. There were no injuries reported.


Island Home Damaged by Runaway Vehicle - March 2018

Photo by Peter Sukmanowski.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    At 8:22 p.m. on Wednesday, March 21st, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a traffic related incident in which a driver lost control of their vehicle and crashed into a Fieldstone Drive residence. Fire officials stated that 60 year-old Karen Potocin of Elma, NY left the roadway with her auto which then hit and partially penetrated the front wall of the home. She was evaluated by GIFC medics who credited air bag deployment with helping to prevent critical injuries. Potocin, was transported by ambulance to ECMC for precautionary followup. No household occupants were injured. Damage to the building was estimated at $10,000 and the Grand Island Town Engineer was alerted in order to determine whether structural integrity was compromised.


Driver Hospitalized in North Bridge MVA - March 2018

Photo by Peter Sukmanowski.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    Shortly before 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 11th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a two vehicle collision in the southbound land of the I-190 on the North Gand Island bridge. Fire Chief Chris Soluri stated that a tractor tailer driven by 54 year-old Patricia Fenwick of Canada and a pickup truck driven by 37 year-old John Hamilton of North Tonawanda were involved. Fenwick was evaluated by GIFC medics and transported by ambulance to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for non life threatening injuries. The other driver denied injury.


Drowning Victim Successfully Revived - March 2018

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    Shortly after 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 11th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a reported near drowning at the Grand Island High School swimming pool. Fire Chief Chris Soluri stated that when GIFC EMS responders arrived on location within three minutes, a lifeguard and bystander were administering CPR upon a 10 year-old child who had been underwater for an undetermined amount of time. Breathing was restored and GIFC medics continued advanced life support treatment while the child was being transported by ambulance to Women's and Children's Hospital. Preliminary assessment indicated that the child is expected to make a satisfactory recovery.


Driver Hospitalized in Two Car Collision - February 2018


Story and photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    Shortly after 2:00 p.m. on Monday, February 26th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a two car MVA at the intersection of Baseline and Staley Roads. Ass't Fire Chief Omar Sortino stated that all occupants were out of their vehicles when EMS responders arrived on location. The force of the impact caused one auto driven by Shannon Dald, 24, of Lockport, to end up in a roadside ditch. After evaluation, Dald was taken to Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital. The other driver claimed no injuries.


Island Chimney Fire - February 2018


Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    At 7:49 p.m. on Saturday, February 17th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a reported chimney fire at the White Tail Run residence of Mark Violino. Deputy Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski stated that upon arrival of Engines #2,#3 and fire suppression crews, it was discovered that the fire within the chimney walls was essentially out and had not prenetrated into the adjoining structure. Firefighting crews then removed burning embers from the fireplace and inspected the chimney outlet after laddering to the roof. There was no damage found.
    Fire officials further indicated that dangerous accumulations of combustible creosote can build up in wood burning fireplace chimneys over a period of time. Homeowners are urged to have chimneys inspected and or cleaned on a regular basis by professionals.


Budget Motel of Grand Island Heavily Damaged in Fire - February 2018



Story & photos by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 2:17 p.m. on Saturday, February 10th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a reported structure fire at the Budget Motel of Grand Island - 3080 Grand Island Blvd., between Alt Blvd. and Industrial Drive.
   Fire Chief Chris Soluri stated that arriving fire suppression crews with Engines #2, #5, and LT 6 encountered heavy smoke and flames coming from the northwest section of the 24 unit motel. The fire was confined to the office complex where it originated, and did not involve adjoining rooms, due to brick fire wall construction. The fire was knocked down and under control at 2:42 p.m. Mutual aid assistance was received from the City of Tonawanda Fire Department, Sheridan Park VFD, and River Road VFD, due to burdensome manpower demands.
    G.I. Deputy Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski stated that total damage amounted to $250,000, with $100,000 to the structure, $100,000 to the contents and $50,000 to a BMW vehicle parked nearby. An exact cause has not yet been established according to fire investiagators. The American Red Cross were called in to render assistance to several occupants.


Driver Seriously Injured in Car/Bus MVA - January 2018

Burning Rossi vehicle.

Story & photos by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly after 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 31st, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to an MVA involving an NFTA Metro Bus and two passenger vehicles on Grand Island Blvd. near Fantasy Island. Ass't Fire Chief Dan Mathes and Capt. John Podlucky shared Office In Charge duties and reported that thirteen individuals were evaluated at the scene. Five were transported by ambulance to local hospitals for non life threatening injuries, while seven others declined hospitalization.
   27 year old Joseph Rossi of Grand Island was pulled from his burning vehicle by alert passersby and treated by GIFC medics for serious traumatic injuries. He was then transported by ambulance to ECMC for emergency followup.


Medic 7 Emergency Vehicle - January 2018

GIFC paramedic Joe Torregrossa with Medic 7.

Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    Fire Chief Chris Soluri announced that the Grand Island Fire Company recently took possession of a 2017 Ford Explorer vehicle that has been fully equipped to handle all basic life support and advanced life support emergencies. The vehicle has been designated "Medic 7" and is assigned to a GIFC paramedic on a rotational basis. This arrangement has enhanced life saving response time, especially in the event of a cardiac incident, ensuring the first rate community protection that Island residents are accustomed to.


2018 Fire Company Installation - January 2018

Chief Soluri receives oath of office from Assemblyman Angelo Morinello.

Firematic officers from left: Scott McCormick, Jon Cinelli, Omar Sortino, Chris Soluri, Mark Sadkowski, Dan Mathes, John Podlucky, Jourdain Benoit.

Board of Directors from left: Peter Sukmanowski, Greg Butcher, Mke Dallessandro, Saed Shafie.

Story & photos by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   New York State Assenblyman Angelo Morinello administered the oath of office to newly elected Grand Island Fire Company officers on Saturday, January 13, 2018 at fire headquarters, 2275 Baseline Road. Both firematic and adminstrative officers were sworn to uphold their 2018 community protection duties. GIFC Board of Directors chairman Greg Butcher reminded those in attendance that the fire company has become a first rate organization because of dedicated lifetime members. Former president Bill Weis, recently deceased, was one of these special individuals whose tough but fair minded leadership pushed everyone to maximum levels of achievement.
   Chris Soluri begins his second 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. Jourdain Benoit, John Podlucky, Jon Cinelli, EMS Capt. Scott McCormick and Fire Police Capt. Don Portik.
   President Mike Dallessandro will be assisted by Vice Pres. Joanne Ciffa, Recording Secretary Tammy Gorman, Financial Secretary Nicole Gerber, Treasurer Anthony Mastantuono, Line Secretary Michelle Jones and Sgt at Arms Pat Hahn.
   Saed Shafie and Jeremy Pullano were returned to the Board of Directors for an additional three year term. Chris Caruana again serves on the Board of Review and Robert Meyer on the Benevolent Association.
   Nicole Butcher, President of the GIFC Ladies Auxiliary will be assisted by Vice. Pres. Vicki Soluri, Corresponding Secretary Arlene soluri, Recording Secretary Danna Soluri, Treasurer Karen Dallessandro, Sgt at Arms Brooke Raham and Barbara Wilson.
   For his exceptional expertise in maintaining GIFC operational technology, Ron Stipp received both the 2017 Chief's Award and President's Award. Pat Hahn received the 2017 Training Excellence Award for his special accomplishments in that area. Joe Savage was designated 2017 Recruit of the Year for his outstanding performance as a new (rookie) member. Allison DeMartin and Joe Casullo also completed 2017 training requirements.
   Top ten responders of 2017 were led by Tim Krecisz with over 500 calls. Others in sequential order were Dan Mathes, Joe Savage, Norm Mrkall II, Jourdain Benoit, Cory Rozell, Pat Hahn, Mark Sadkowski, Joanne Ciffa and Omar Sortino.


No Injuries in School Bus MVA - January 2018

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 2:49 p.m. on Thursday, January 11th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to a passenger vehicle/school bus collision at the intersection of Baseline Road and North Lane. Fire Capt. John Podlucky reported that both drivers and 16 middle and high school students were uninjured. A member of the ECMC "Smart" (Specialized Medical Assistance Response Team) team was called to the scene for required medical clearance, which was given. The students were off loaded to an alternate bus for completion of the route.


Say Cheese Pizza Alarm - January 2018


Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly before 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, January 7th, Grand Island firefighters responded to an alarm o fire at Say Cheese Pizza, 1771 Love Road. Deputy Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski stated that an on scene investigation determined that a broken sprinkler head in a cooler had disrupted water pressure and triggered the alarm. The system was shut down and drained, prior to recommended service repairs. Deputy Chief Sadkowski reported no damage, structural or otherwise, due to quick employee response.


Rooftop EMS Rescue - January 2018


Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 1:27 p.m. on Friday, January 5th, Grand Island Fire Company rescue personnel responded to an employee report of a rooftop workman at Tim Horton's Cafe and Bake Shop, 1685 Grand Island Blvd., having trouble breathing. Ass't Fire Chief Dan Mathes stated that 58 year old Timothy Seefeldt was a crew member of Action Commercial Repair working on the roof to correct a cooler malfunction, when he experienced breathing problems. When GIFC EMT's arrived on location in sub freezing temperatures, he was found to be in cardiac arrest and CPR was immediately initiated.
   LT 6 responded to the scene and Sheridan Park VFD was alerted for mutual aid manpower assistance due to the cold conditions. Seefeldt was removed from the rooftop by using LT 6 while successful life support continued, and transferred to Kenmore Mercy Hospital.



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