Grand Island Fire Company, Inc. Website
To contact the Fire Company Dial 773-4334
Previous Fire News
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.
Public Safety Dispatchers Honored For Their Service - April 2019Story 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 2019Story 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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Story by Ray Pauley, Public Information Officer.
Photo by Sam Pauley.
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 2019Story 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 2019Story 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 2019Story 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 2019Story 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!
2018 RECRUIT CLASS COMPLETES ROOKIE TRAINING
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 2019Story 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 2019Story 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.
2001 News - 2002 News
2003 News - 2004 News
2006 News - 2007 News
2008 News - 2009 News
2010 Jan. - June News
2010 July - Dec. News