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Grand Island Fire Company News 2019

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 2019: Fire Chief Matt Osinski; Deputy Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski; 1st Assistant Chief Omar Sortino; 2nd Assistant Chief Daniel Mathes, Fire Captains: John Podlucky, Jourdain Benoit, Pat Hahn; EMS Captain Scott McCormick; Fire Police Captain Don Portik.

Administrative Officers 2019: President Joann Ciffa, Vice President Tammy Gorman, Recording Secretary Graciana Giambra, Financial Secretary Nicole Gerber, Treasurer Tony Mastantuono Sr., Line Secretary Michelle Jones

Board of Directors 2019: Peter Sukmanowski, Chairman; Greg Butcher, Vice-Chairman, Kevin Koch, Jeremy Pullano, Michael Haynes, Dave Khreis, Saed Shafie.

Damage Limited in Island Basement Fire - December 2019

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    At 3:40 p.m. on Monday, December 23rd, Grand Island firefighters responded to a structure fire at the Hall residence on Staley Road. A home health aide discovered smoke in the building upon arriving there and immediately contacted the Grand Island Fire Company Dispatch Center for emergency assistance. The homeowner was off premises at that time.
    Fire Chief Matt Osinksi reported that Engines #2,3,4,5, LT6 and fire suppression crews began to arrive on location within three minutes. It was then determined that a wood pellet stove in the basement was the actual problem. The door had been accidently left open and fire spread to an underlying platform and adjoining wall. The fire was quickly extinguished with estimated damage of $2000 to the structure and $2500 to the contents.
    Meanwhile, mutual aid assistance was rendered by the Sheridan Park VFD and City of Tonawanda FD. Chief Osinski cautions anyone using auxiliary heating methods to frequently check for proper operation and make sure that flues are clean and clear of any hazardous blockae. Taking such precautions can prevent serious property damage and/or life threatening consequences.

Sadkowski Chosen as 2020 Fire Chief - December 2019

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Grand Island fire fighters chose 2020 firematic and administrative officers during annual elections held on Wednesday, December 4th at fire headquarters.
   Mark Sadkowski advanced to the position of fire chief and will be joined by Deputy Chief Omar Sortino, 1st Ass't Chief Dan Mathes, 2nd Ass't Chief John Podlucky; Fire Captains Pat Hahn, Jourdain Benoit, and Don Turner. Don Portik returns as fire police captain and Rob Meyer is the EMS captain.
   Joanne Ciffa returns as president and Sean O'Donnell as vice-president. Continuing in their positions are Treasurer Tony Mastantuono, Financial Secretary Nicole Gerber and Recording Secretary Graciana Giambra. The new Line Secretary is Ellen Hayes and Sgt-At-Arms is Tom Shanor. Greg Butcher was returned to the Board of Directors and Matt Osinski was newly elected to the BOD for a three year term. Ron Warner filled a position on the Review Board and Skip Mrkall and Mike DeMartin became Benefolent Association trustees. Several delegate positions were also filled. Congratulations and good luck to these GIFC volunteers who have joined the 2020 leadership team.

Tai Pei Restaurant Sustains Fire Damage - November 2019

Photo by K-9 Clipper ADC.

Photo by Ray Pauley.

   Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 2:35 p.m. on Tuesday, November 26th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a reported structure fire a the Tai Pei restaurant, 2315 Grand Island Blvd. Several employees were able to safely exit the building.
   Grand Island Deputy Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski reported that Engines #2,3,4,5 and fire suppression crews began to arrive on location within three minures. Smoky conditions were encountered when entry was made and it was determined that the fire was concentrated in a loft above the ceiling tiles. The fire was under control by 3:15 p.m., with extensive interior damage occuring.
   Mutual aid assistance was rendered by the Sheridan Park VFD, Brighton VFD, Kenmore FD, River Road VFD, Ellwood VFD and City of Tonawanda Fire Department. Total damage was estimated at $150,000 to the structure and $50,000 to the contents. Two adjoining stores, Eddies Art Shoppe and X-Press Dry Cleaners sustained $10,000 in damages each from smoke infiltration through the common loft area. The cause has not yet been determined.

Residential Fire on Garden Parkway - November 2019

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    At 4:15 p.m. on Monday, November 11th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a structure fire at the Gaskin residence on Garden Parkway. An alert neighbor discovered the fire and immediately contacted an emergency 911 dispatcher at fire headquarters. Meanwhile the lone occupant safely exited the home.
    Engines #2,3,5,LT6, and fire suppression crews began to arrive within several minutes and commenced an interior attack. The fire was confined to a second floor rear bedroom and was knocked down and under control by 4:37 p.m.
    Fire Chief Matt Osinski reports total damage of $30,000 to the building and $30,000 to the contents. He noted that before leaving the burning home, the occupant had the presence of mind to close the bedroom door, thereby preventing the fire from gaining additional oxygen and spreading throughout the interior.
    An exact cause has not been determined and the fire remains under investigation by the GIFC and Erie County Sheriff Department. Mutual aid assistance was rendered by the Sheridan Park VFD and City of Tonawanda Fire Deparment. No injuries were reported.

Carbon Monoxide - A Deadly Hazard - October 2019

   According to the CDC (Center For Disease Control), approximately 400 people die from unintentional CO exposure in the U.S. every year. CO is colorless, odorless & tasteless, and is caused by the incomplete combustion of fuels. Sources in the home include furnaces or boilers, water heaters, clothes dryers, gas stoves & ovens, wood stoves, fireplaces & grills.
   Exposure may not be readlity determined because symptoms such as headaches, nausea, etc., closely mimic the flu. However, sustained CO levels above 150-200 PPM can be fatal. CO detectors can provide advance warning of this silent killer and should be used in every residence as a critical life saving device.
   Fire Chief Matt Osinski stated that the GIFC has responded to 52 CO related incidents so far during 2019, with some illness encountered but nothing more serious. He recommends regular inspection and maintenance of gas fired appliances in order to alleviate or eliminate this ever-present danger.

Annual Fire Company Inspection - October 2019

Dan McMahon, Chief Matt Osinski & David Tolejko.

Original Paramedic Graduation Class from 1979.

Two new light rescue vehicles.

Inspection photo - click for larger view.

   On Saturday, October 5th, Fire Chief Matt Osinski held the annual fire company inspection for all Grand Island Fire Company firefighters, paramedics, EMT’s, and cadets.
    Chief Osinski thanked all the members for their service and sacrifice to the community over the past year, especially all the GIFC paramedics, who celebrated their 40th anniversary this year, with our paramedic program officially beginning forty years ago to the day, October 5, 1979!
   Present at the inspection, original paramedic members David Tolejko and Daniel McMahon were recognized by the Chief, as well as our newest paramedics, Allison DeMartin and Jessica Melgar, who just recently graduated from the state paramedic program. Katie Ireland and Tracy Yund were also recognized by the Chief as having just begun the state paramedic program this past summer. Good luck to these future GIFC paramedics, and thank you to all our current and past paramedics, who have undoubtedly saved many lives over the past forty years!
    Chief Osinski also thanked the Apparatus Committee for their work and dedication this past year to spec out and work with the vendors to deliver two new light rescue vehicles for the GIFC and Grand Island community. These new vehicles replaced two pieces of apparatus that were both over twenty years old, and well beyond their useful life-span as first response vehicles. These new pieces of apparatus will serve the Grand Island community for the next twenty years!

Fire Prevention Week Open House Photos- October 2019


Mary Stewart Photos.

    The 2019 Grand Island Fire Company (GIFC) Fire Prevention Week Open House was held on Thursday, October 10, 2019, from 5pm until 8pm. The open house featured a "live fire" demonstration, the annual "ride to school in a fire truck" contest, and firefighters showcasing all the fire trucks and equipment used by GIFC volunteer firefighters. Other fire companies and many different federal, state, and local law enforcement were also there.

GI Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary Annual Chowder Sale - October 2019

   Grand Island Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary Annual Chowder Sale is Saturday, October 19, 2019, starting at 11:00 a.m. You can pre-order by calling Nicole at 609-3563 or Darcey at 907-3002. The cost is $5.00 per quart, and containers will be available. New this year...credit cards are accepted.

Plan & Practice Your Escape - October 2019

   Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    The Grand Island Fire Company (GIFC) joins with the National Fie Protection Association (NFPA) in recognizing that "Not Every Hero Wears a Cape, Plan and Practice Your Escape." Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA , notes that advance planning can make a substantial life saving difference because newer homes burn faster than ever during a fire emergency, due to the type of open construction and materials used. The fire service will pursue a strenuous public education campaign during Fire Prevention Week, October 6 - 12th.
   GIFC Ass't Fire Chief and program coordinator, Dan Mathes, stated that fire fighter and EMS teams will visit Grand Island elementary schools on October 8 & 9, to offer fire safety tips. Meanwhile, Sidway students will visit fire headquarters on Thursday, October 10th to gain first hand knowledge of fire company operations and engage in hands on safety exercises. A special "Ride to School in a Fire Truck" drawing will also take place.
   The Fire Prevention Open House is scheduled for Thursday, October 10th, from 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m., and include fire and EMS displays, demos and multi-agency participation. The GIFC Ladies Auxiliary will provide refreshments for sale, including a hamburger/hot dog roast and their ever-popular basket raffle.
   Fire Chief Matt Osinski stated that of the 1307 GIFC responses to-date, only one major fire has occurred, with no serious injuries or fatalities. He hopes that this encouraging trend will be bolstered by a successful fire prevention program. Accordingly, please set aside some quality time to meet with your GIFC volunteers and friends at the Open House on October 10th.

Two Car MVA - September 2019

Photo by Sam Pauley.

   Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly before 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 1st, Grand Island Fire Company firefighters and medics responded to a two car collision at 3049 Grand Island Blvd. Ass't Fire Chief Omar Sortino reported that eleven occupants were evaluated but claimed no injuries. However, a pregnant female was taken by private vehicle to Women's & Children's Hospital for precautionary follow-up.

Firefighters Hurt at Baseline Road Fire - September 2019

Click above photo for larger view.

   Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly after 1:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 3rd, Grand Island firefighters responded to a sctructure fire at the 3325 Baseline Road residence of William Wessner. The home was unoccupied at the time while interior renovation was underway.
   Fire Chief Matt Osinaki indicated that the residence was fully involved when engines #2, 3, 4, 5, LT6 and fire suppression crews arrived on location within 10 minutes. The fire was primarilly confined to the front room and kitchen areas and was brought under control at 1:42 a.m.
   Mutual aid assistance was provided by the Sheridan Park VFD and City of Tonawanda Fire Department.
   Erie County Sheriff Department fire investigators determined that the probable cause was accidental due to spontaneous combustion from floor refinishing rags left in a container in the front room. Total damage was estimated at $110,000 to the building, $50,000 to the contents, and $2,500 to an exposure.
   Two Sheridan Park VFD firefighters sustained injuries. One fell from a ladder and was transported by ambulance to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for precautionary followup. The second was relieved from duty due to exhaustion.
   Chief Osinski stated that everyone did a great job in view of the extensive fire load that was encountered. He also cautioned workmen to use common sense when disposing of any left over construction material, so as not to create hazardous complications. All participating units returned to service by 5:15 a.m. after hot spots were eliminated and overhaul was completed.

Firefighters Graduate From NYS Paramedic Course - August 2019

From left: Allison DeMartin, Fire Chief Matt Osinski and Jessica Melgar.

   Fire Chief Matt Osinski is proud to announce that volunteer firefighters Allison DeMartin and Jessica Melgar graduated from the 13-month paramedic course this month, and have become the newest GIFC paramedics!
   Completing the NYS Paramedic course is a very difficult task. In addition to attending class three days a week for 6-hours each day, Allison and Jessica also completed 160 clinical hours in the emergency room and 48 hours in the children’s emergency room. This is all done while fulfilling the duties at the GIFC, as well as home and work life balance.
   On behalf of all the members and officers of the GIFC, Chief Osinski would like to congratulate Allison and Jessica on this great achievement, which will benefit the GIFC and Grand Island community for years to come!

GIFC Ladies Auxiliary Chiavetta's Chicken BBQ - July 2019

    The Grand Island Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary is hosting a Chiavetta's Chicken BBQ on Tuesday, August 6th, from 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Dinners are $9 pre-sale of $10.00 at the door. See flyer for ticket information.

Metro Bus / Passenger Vehicle MVA - July 2019

Photo by Sam Pauley.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    Shortly after 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 17th, Grand Island firefighters and EMS personnel responded to a MVA at the intersection of Whitehaven Road and Grand Island Blvd.. Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that a passenger vehicle collided with an NFTA Metro Bus, causing minor injuries to the bus driver and two of the six occupants evaluated. The three were transported by TCA to Kenmore Mercy Hospital and ECMC for precautionary followup.

Tractor Trailer Fire at Top's Market - June 2019

Story & photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    At 3:15 p.m. on Sunday, June 9th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a reported vehicle fire at Top's Market, 2140 Grand Island Blvd. Deputy Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski stated that an engine compartment fire occurred in a large tractor trailer that had pulled up to a rear loading dock at the store. Fire suppression crews used hand extinguishers to put out the blaze before it spread further into the store itself. The cause appeared to be an electrical malfunction which caused approximately $10,000 damage. Sheridan Park VFD mutual aid contingents were returned to quarters when firefighting operations were concluded.

Basement Fire at Town Hall Terrace - May 2019

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    At 11:39 a.m. on Wednesday, May 29th, Grand Island firefighters responded to a structure fire at the Center Court apartment complex off of Whitehaven Road.
    Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that Engines #3, 4, LT 6, and fire suppression crews encountered heavy smoke conditions from a dryer fire in the basement common area of the 18 unit building. All occupants were evacuated from six units that were most directly involved. An interior attack was commenced within 15 minutes and the fire was declared under control five minutes later.
   Damage was estimated at $10,000 to the basement area and $50,000 to the contents, mostly smoke infiltration affecting the nearest six units. The cause was listed as an overloaded clothes dryer. There were no injuries. The American Red Cross was contacted to provide emergency assistance if necessary. Mutual aid asssistance was provided by the Sheridan Park VFD and City of Tonawanda Fire Department.

Car / Pole Accident - May 2019

From left: Board of Directors chairman Peter Sukmanowski, 35 year volunteer Peter Coppola, President Joanne Ciffa & Fire Chief Matt Osinski.

Story by Peter Sukmanowski, Public Information Officer.
    On Tuesday, May 21st, at approximately 4:02 p.m, GIFC volunteer firefighters responded to the 2400 block of Whitehaven Road for a motor vehicle that struck a pole and the driver was trapped inside the vehicle.
    Deputy Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski stated that responding units were on location within five minutes and encountered a conscious driver who had to be extricated from the vehicle. He was the only occupant in the vehicle. After he was extricated from the vehicle and evaluated by GIFC firefighters, he was transported by Twin City Ambulance to the Erie County Medical Center for non-life threatening injuries. All GIFC units returned in service at 4:35 p.m. The scene was then turned over to the Erie County Sheriff’s Office.

Grand Island Fire Company Celebrates 81st Anniversary - May 2019

From left: Board of Directors chairman Peter Sukmanowski, 35 year volunteer Peter Coppola, President Joanne Ciffa & Fire Chief Matt Osinski.

Story by Peter Sukmanowski, Public Information Officer.
    Grand Island Fire Company (GIFC) President Joanne Ciffa welcomed local government officials, family members, and special guests on Saturday, May 18th, to commemorate 81 years of community protection by the GIFC! She 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 chairman, Peter Sukmanowski, echoed these sentiments during the annual State of the Fire Company address, pointing out the sacrifices made by the volunteer firefighters and their families every year, with each year being more demanding on member’s time.
    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 awards recipients are as follows:
Dr. Christian Krawczyk - 5 years, Nathan Tilkins - 5 years, Charles Jones - 5 years, Nicholas Egloff - 5 years, Dakota Bower - 5 years
John Podlucky – 10 years
Mark Sadkowski – 15 years
Matt Osinski – 25 years
Kevin Koch – 30 years, Robert Cleveland – 30 years
Peter Coppola – 35 years, Paul Gorman – 35 years
Charles Goss – 45 years
    Thank you again to all of our volunteer firefighters, who are always there to serve the residents of Grand Island, all day, every day! 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.

Grand Island Fire Company Welcomes Six New Recruits - May 2019

From left: Robert Becker, Megan Stanley, Matthew Cappell, Instructor Pat Hahn, Jacob McMahon, Ellen Hayes and . Madison Green.

Story & Photo by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    Fire Chief Matt Osinski reports that the Grand Island Fire Company's ongoing recruitment and retention program for 2019 has successfully brought in six new members, to bolster the ranks of active firefighter and EMT personnel. There are 94 volunteer fire departments within Erie County with approximately 5000 members. Nationwide, the bulk of community protection services are handled by 70% volunteers.
   GIFC Training Officer Pat Hahn notes that these new recruits have exceptional backgound experience as follows: Robert Becker - Border Patrol, Matthew Cappell - Certified LPN, Madison Green - EMT and full time student, Jacob McMahon - former U.S. Marine, Ellen Hayes - EMT and Megan Stanley-former GIFC Cadet and full time student. These "rookies" are presently enrolled in a nine week Basic Exterior Firefighting course which will be followed by an Interior Firefighting course, both presented by Erie County Fire Instructors. Additional in house orientation and training will continue over a 24 month period.

Public Safety Dispatchers Honored For Their Service - April 2019

Story by Peter Sukmanowski, Public Information Officer.
   April 14th through April 20th, 2019, has been designated National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week to commemorate those individuals who have chosen to dedicate their lives to serving their communities. Public safety dispatchers provide a vital link between the community and those in need, and the local fire, EMS, and law enforcement agencies. They are the first persons to render aid to those in need, and ensure that the proper equipment and personnel are sent as quickly as possible to any emergencies that arise.
    911 dispatching operations by the Grand Island Fire Company began on December 29, 1986, after Federal Communications Commission approval was received. Fire officers noted that this communications upgrade promoted a more effective level of community protection. During 2018, GIFC dispatchers handled 1,632 fire and EMS incidents, in addition to many more 911 calls that were transferred to outside agencies, such as law enforcement, and many other non-emergency incidents.
    Fire Chief Matt Osinski and all of the members and officers of the GIFC thank the dedicated professionals of the GIFC Communications Center for their service to the GIFC and to the Grand Island community!

Become a Fire Cadet With the GI Fire Company - April 2019

Story by Peter Sukmanowski, Public Information Officer.
   The Grand Island Fire Company (GIFC) is currently accepting applications from 16 & 17 year old Grand Island residents to join our fire cadet program! The cadet program, which is managed by Lt. Ben Shaw and Firefighter Ashley Gorman, is geared towards training these young adults to become 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 these young adults to serve their community as an active restricted member of the GIFC. Cadets are taught skills that will serve them for years to come, both within and outside of the fire company. Many of our members take skills learned and certification received, such as an EMT-B or paramedic certification, and work for other first response agencies while volunteering at the GIFC. Additionally, these cadets will form bonds and friendships with fellow cadets and firefighters that will last a lifetime! Fire cadets also complete almost all 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 for 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 (use door #1), or from our website at www.grandislandfire.us. Please return them to Fire HQ to the attention of the Fire Chief, either by mail or by dropping them off at Fire HQ (door #1). For additional information, please contact the program training officers at 716-773-4334, or via e-mail at bshaw@grandislandfire.us or agorman@grandislandfire.us. You can also send us a private message on Facebook.

GIFC Welcomes Mom & Baby Home - April 2019

From left: EMT Allison DeMartin, mom & baby and paramedic Paul Valera.

Story by Peter Sukmanowski, Public Information Officer.
    According to Fire Chief Matt Osinski, GIFC Squad #6 responded to a 911 call on Wednesday, March 27th, from a soon-to-be father, who stated to the GIFC dispatcher that his wife was going to un-expectantly give birth to their baby girl.
    GIFC volunteer firefighters arrived on location within minutes, where advanced-EMT Allison DeMartin and paramedic Paul Valera, along with the rest of Squad #6, delivered a healthy baby girl at approximately 2:34am! The mother and baby were transported by Twin City Ambulance to Sisters Hospital and all GIFC units returned in service at 2:52am.
    On Saturday, March 30th, Allison and Squad #6 captain, Pat Hahn, returned to the Jamestown Road residence and delivered flowers to the family to congratulate them on the newest addition to their family! On behalf of the entire GIFC, Chief Osinski would like to congratulate the family on the birth of their healthy baby girl!


Move Over & Use Caution - March 2019

Fire Police Lt. Dave Khreis & Capt. Don Portik slow down traffic at fire scene.
Photo by Sam Pauley.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    Fire Chief Matt Osinski states that prior vehicle and traffic legislation intended to protect first responders has not totally eliminated road hazards faced by Grand Island firefighters, medics, and fire police personnel at the scene of emergency incidents. The 2011 VTL 1144a requires drivers to move over and exercise due care when encountering any "stopped, parked, or standing" emergency vehicle. this move over safeguard was updated in 2017 to include any vehicle displaying a blue light (volunteer firefighter) or green light (volunteer ambulance worker).
    Although most local residents know enough to use caution, slow down, and change lanes, there are always a few drivers who create additional life threatening problems by traveling recklessly down the roadway through the scene of an emergency, while ignoring fire police safety directives. Despite highly visible reflective gear and handlights, such fire police signals were disregarded at a recent incident, and a V&T traffic citation was consequently issued. Chief Osinski stresses that fire police are qualified peace officers who must be obeyed in order to insure scend safety for everyone.

Stranded Jet Skier Rescued - March 2019

Story by Peter Sukmanowski, Public Information Officer.
    At 9:32 a.m. on Wednesday, March 13th, Grand Island Fire Company personnel received a request for assistance from U.S. Customs & Border Protection for a person stranded on the ice just off the shoreline in Beaver Island State Park. According to Border Patrol Agents, three persons were attempting to unlawfully enter the United States on a jet ski, when two were able to make it to shore, while the third was stranded on the ice.
   Captain Kevin Koch reported that GIFC firefighters used the Rapid Deployment Craft (RDC) to reach the stranded person and safely bring her to shore. The RDC is a fast-response, ice rescue craft that surrounds the rescuers in an ultra-buoyant and protective inflated perimeter, which allows firefighters to quickly reach a victim and safely retrieve them from the ice or cold water, even if the ice breaks as rescues are attempted. All three were evaluated by GIFC paramedics and Twin City Ambulance personnel and refused transport to the hospital. The scene was then turned over to U.S. Customs & Border Protection and the New York State Park Police. All GIFC units returned in service at 10:16 a.m.

Firefighters Busy During Fierce Storm - February 2019

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    Grand Island Fire Chief Matt Osinski reports that special standby crews were on duty at fire headquartes on Sunday, February 24th, during the height of an unrelenting windstorm, which pummeled most of Western New York and created a heavy workload for first responders. GIFC personnel responded to 16 emergency calls within a 14 hour period, with 12 related to the severe weather condition. They were:
6:20 a.m. - EMS call on Timberlink Dr.
11:51 a.m. - cable lines down on Huth Road
1:15 p.m. - power lines down Stony Point Road
1:43 p.m. - power transformer malfunction on Stony Point Road
1:58 p.m. - power lines down on Love Road
2:35 p.m. - EMS call on Waterford Park
2:36 p.m. - power lines/pole down on vehicle on Ransom Road
2:36 p.m. - broken power pole on Grand Island Blvd.
3:21 p.m. - carbon monixide problem on Stony Point Road
3:30 p.m. - EMS call on Orchard Road
3:57 p.m. - assist owner with generator on Fieldstone Drive
4:15 p.m. - assist owner in gaining access to residence on Baseline Road
5:50 p.m. - carbon monoxide problem on Staley Road
6:46 p.m. - EMS call on Grand Island Blvd.
7:21 p.m. - carbon monoxide problem on Wallace Drive
8:23 p.m. - fire call, good intent on Long Road
    Fire officials were thankful that despite additional problems related to widespread power outages, loss of traffic control and other highway hazards, shoreline damage, etc., no loss of life was encountered.

Residential Fire Causes Major Property Loss - February 2019

Story & photos by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly before 7:00 a.m. on Monday, February 18th, a Grand Island Fire Company emergency dispatcher received multiple calls of flames shooting through the roof of a one story ranch style home at 3174 Stony Point Road, between Huth Road and Majestic Woods. The home was reportedly under renovation by the the owner, Benjamin Graf, who was not there at the time.
   Deputy Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski stated that the structure was fully involved when Engines #3,4,5, LT6 and fire suppression crews arrived on location. In addition, mutual aid support was received from Sheridan Park VFD, Brighton VFD, River Road VFD, and the City of Tonawanda FD.
   After extensive firefighting operations were concluded, a final hot spot was doused at 11:14 a.m. Total damage was estimated at $80,000 to the building and $10,000 to the contents, according to Fire Chief Matt Osinski. An exact cause has not yet been determined. There were no injuries reported.

House Fire On Stony Point near Huth - February 2019

Peewee Benton photos.

UPDATE: House was under renovation, no one inside at the time. Hydrant was frozen.
   WGRZ...Monday, February 18, 2019 - Grand Island firefighters were called to a house fire early Monday morning. The fire started around 7:00 a.m. in a home on Stony Point Road between Huth Road and Majestic Woods Drive. There is no word yet on the cause of the fire. Firefighters on scene tell 2 On Your Side they do not believe anyone was injured.

GIFC Teaches Hands-Only CPR to GIHS Students - February 2019

Story by Peter Sukmanowski, Public Information Officer.
   This past week, GIFC volunteer firefighters went to the Grand Island High School to teach hands-only CPR and AED use to high school students. "Hands-only CPR has been shown to be as effective as conventional CPR for cardiac arrests at home, at work, or in the public. The instruction that you provided along with the Grand Island Volunteer Fire Department is truly an invaluable source of information that can save lives", said Chris DeMarco, the Director of Physical Education and Health at Grand Island Schools.
   According to the American Heart Association, in 2015 more than 326,000 people died from cardiac arrest events, with the average survival rate being 10.6%, and survival with good neurological function being 8.3%. However, nearly 1 in 3 victims survive when the arrest is witnessed by a bystander, who can being CPR immediately and utilize a nearby AED. The more people that know how to properly perform CPR and use an AED, the more lives that can be saved.

GIFC Teaches Healthy Heart Night at Kaegebein - February 2019

Story by Peter Sukmanowski, Public Information Officer.
   This past week, the GIFC participated in the healthy heart night at the Kaegebein Elementary School, which was a family based event to promote healthy living specifically geared towards the students who attend school there and their parents as well. GIFC volunteer firefighters taught those in attendance how to recognize someone needing help for various types of emergencies, how to check for breathing and a pulse in unconscious persons, and how to properly dial 911 in the event of an emergency. Firefighters also provided instructions on how to start CPR, specifically chest compressions until the fire company arrives on location, and also where the AED is and how to use it. Additional instructions were provided to parents and teachers as well.
    Knowing how to properly act in an emergency, regardless of someone’s age, could save a life. Our job is to pass our knowledge to those willing to learn in the hopes that they never need to use the skills, but are always prepared in case they must.

GIFC Battles Large Outbuilding Fire - February 2019

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   At 3:29 p.m. on Monday, February 11th, Grand Island firefighters responeded to a structure fire at the East River residence of Norman & Margaret Bauman. This is the second major fire faced by the GIFC during sub freezing conditions in the past two weeks. The property is located near Staley Road.
    Ass't Fire Chief Dan Mathes stated that Engines #3, #5, LT6 and fire suppression crews encountered heavy smoke venting from the building when they arrived on location. Meanwhile, the City of Tonawanda Fire Department and Sheridan Park VFD provided backup mutual aid support.
    The fire was brought under control at 3:49 p.m., with total damage estimated at $80,000 to the structure and $30,000 to the contents of the garage/workshop. GIFC Fire Investigator Mike DeMartin and his Erie County Sheriff Department counterparts indicate that the exact cause has not yet been determined. No injuries were reported at the scene. All companies returned in service at 5:09 p.m.

GIFC Battles Apartment Complex Fire - February 2019

At left: destroyed furniture, right; boarded up basement apartment window.

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   Shortly before 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 31st, Grand Island firefighters responded to a structure fire at the 1335 Ransom Road six unit complex. A neighbor reported smoke coming out of a basement apartment.
    Deputy Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski stated that when Engines #4, #5, LT6 and fire suppression crews arrived on location minutes later, heavy smoke and flames were encountered. A second alarm for additional manpower was issued at 10:08 p.m. while an interior attack was underway. Although nearby hydrants were frozen due to extreme, single digit temperatures, firefighting operations were not hampered due to a sufficient water supply on board the responding apparatus.
    In addition, a large mutual aid response included the City of Tonawanda Fire Department, Sheridan Park Volunteer Fire Department, Brighton VFD, Kenilworth VFD, Ellwood VFD, Kenmore VFD, River Road VFD and Ellicott Creek VFD. Most of these support groups were returned to their respective districts when the fire was brought under control within approximately 25 minutes.
    Damage primarilly to the area of origin was estimated at $80,000 to the structure and $20,000 to the contents. Investigation of the cause was being handled by the Erie County Sheriff's Department. Eleven occupants were being assisted by the American Red Cross after all utilities were shut down as an additional precaution.
    A Grand Island firefighter was treated at the scene for minor injuries which did not require hospitalization. All participating companies returned to service by 12:25 a.m. on Friday, February 1st.

Driver Extricated from One-Car MVA - January 2019

Story by Peter Sukmanowski, Public Information Officer.
    Grand Island volunteer firefighters responded to a one-car motor vehicle accident in the vicinity of Fuccillo Chevrolet on Alvin Road, on Thursday, January 24, 2019, just after 6:00 a.m. Captain John Podlucky was first to arrive on location and reported that the vehicle had traveled off the roadway and flipped upside down. The patient was reported to be conscious and breathing at the time of GIFC arrival, but was trapped inside the vehicle. GIFC firefighters and paramedics, with the assistance of the Twin City Ambulance crew, extricated the patient and he was transported to the Erie County Medical Center for follow-up medical treatment. All GIFC units returned in service at 6:32 a.m.

2019 GI Fire Company Installation - January 2019

Story by Peter Sukmanowski, Public Information Officer.
   New York State Senator Chris Jacobs administered the oath of office to newly elected Grand Island Fire Company officers on Saturday, January 12th, at Fire HQ. Both firematic and administrative officers were sworn to uphold their community protection duties. Honored guests and family members joined in praising the steadfast commitment of these volunteers.
   Board of Directors Chairman Peter Sukmanowski thanked all the volunteers in the Fire Company who have dedicated so much of their life serving the residents and visitors of the Town of Grand Island. He noted that without their dedication and professionalism, their courage and determination, many of those we serve wouldn’t be able to find the hope and strength they seek during some of the worst times of their lives.
    Fire Chief Matt Osinski began another year as fire chief, and will be joined by Deputy Chief Mark Sadkowski, 1st Assistant Chief Omar Sortino, and 2nd Assistant Chief Dan Mathes; Captains Jourdain Benoit, John Podlucky, Pat Hahn, EMS Captain Scott McCormick, and Fire Police Captain Don Portik.
    President JoAnne Ciffa began her first term as president, and will be joined by Vice-President Tammy Gorman, Recording Secretary Graciana Giambra, Financial Secretary Nicole Gerber, Treasurer Tony Mastantuono, Line Secretary Michele Jones, and Sgt.-at-Arms Dave Castiglia.
    Peter Sukmanowski, Dave Khreis, and Kevin Koch were returned to the Board of Directors for an additional three-year terms. Joe Savage was elected to his first term on the Board of Review, and Dave Cole and Bill Wilson were elected as trustees to the Benevolent Association.
    Nicole Butcher, president of the GIFC Ladies Auxiliary, will be joined by Vice-President Vicki Mock, Corresponding Secretary Arlene Soluri, Recording Secretary Maddy Dallessandro, Treasurer Karen Dallessandro, Sgt.-at-Arms Cathy Thomas, Chaplain Mary Becker, and Trustees Darcy Golde, Brooke Raham, Barbara Wilson. Congratulations to all the 2019 officers of the GIFC!!

TOP TEN RESPONDERS FOR 2018: Deputy Fire Chief Mark Sadkowski was proud to announce the top ten responders for the year 2018.
10. Mark Sadkowski - 379
9. Cory Rozell - 381
8. Omar Sortino - 420
7. Pat Hahn - 435
6. Jourdain Benoit - 450
5. Vincent Malpica - 504
4. Dan Mathes - 511
3. Tim Krecisz - 512
2. Joe Savage - 548
1. John Podlucky - 615
    The GIFC responded to 1,632 incidents in 2018. Great job to these top ten responders, and thank you for your service to your community!


From left:John Podlucky, Tommy Shanor, Kevin Chalupka, Vinny Malpica, Graciana Giambra, Ryan Schwinn, Adam Crist and Pat Hahn.

    Deputy Chief Mark Sadkowski, along with training officers Captain John Podlucky and then-Lieutenant (recently elected captain) Pat Hahn presented the 2018 recruit class with their certificates of completion for completing the 2018 recruit training program at the GIFC!
    These recruits completed an intense year-long training program that consisted of attending company-sponsored training sessions every Monday, as well as completing the New York State Basic Exterior Firefighting Operations and SCBA/Interior Firefighting Operations class. Additionally, these recruits are currently enrolled in the New York State Emergency Medical Technician Course being held at Fire HQ every Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
    Congratulations to these firefighters and welcome to the Grand Island Fire Company!

"Lost" Hydrants Create Major Problems for Island Firefighters - January 2019

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
    Grand Island Fire Chief Matt Osinski stated that firefighters responding to fire emergencies can be severely handicapped by heavy snowfall, which can bury many neighborhood hydrants. He points out that the extra time required to locate and dig out the hydrants can hamper firefighting operations, and potentially turn a controllable incident into a needless property loss or worse.
    The GIFC therefore urges residents to adopt a nearby hydrant by clearing away snow accumulations, so that firefighters have ready access to critical water supplies if needed. Likewise, business owners should take care that plowing of adjacent parking areas do not isolate on site hydrants, compromising fire protection.
    GIFC cadets, Boy Scouts and others are asked to continue their hydrant clearing efforts this winter. Such helping hands are greatly appreciated by your GIFC volunteers.

CO Poisoning, Clear & Present Danger - January 2019

Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
   According to the National Safety Council, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America, claiming more than 500 lives every year. Widely known as the silent killer because of its colorless, odorless, tasteless properties, citizens are urged to be aware of its early symptoms: headache, fatigue, nausea & dizziness, which closely mimic the flu. When in doubt, contact your local fire department for assistance.
   Fire Chief Matt Osinski states that the Grand Island Fire company employs Drager monitors to determine whether hazardous CO levels are involved. He noted that during 2018, the GIFC responded to 19, CO poisoning incidents, although no fatalities were involved. He stressed that CO detectors in homes and businesses are a must, an absolute must!    In addition, safety precautions include regular inspection of heating systems by qualified technigians, proper ventilation of gas fired appliances, do not use auxiliary heating devices or generators inside any building, and do not idle cars in attached garages which will trap CO emissions.
   Remember, when a CO alarm or smoke detector sounds, vacate the premises without delay in order to avoid life threatening consequences.

Fatal Motor Vehicle Accident - January 2019

Story by Peter Sukmanowski, Public Information Officer.
    On Tuesday, January 15, 2019, at 8:14pm, GIFC volunteer firefighters and paramedics responded to a one-car motor vehicle accident on East River Road just past the south Grand Island Bridge. Fire Chief Matt Osinski reported that arriving units encountered a SUV occupied by one male driver who was unconscious and not breathing. GIFC firefighters extricated the patient from the SUV and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Mercy Flight had been requested but was cancelled enroute. The scene was turned over to the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and all GIFC units returned in-service at 9:53pm. The cause of the accident is unknown and is under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office.

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