New York News

Friday, June 23, 2017

Bronx blaze injures eight firefighters, spreads to six houses: ’The flames were like hell opened up’

A massive house fire broke out Thursday in the Bronx, injuring eight firefighters and blazing “like hell opened up,” fire officials and witnesses said. The flames started in an Olmstead Ave. home, near Haviland Ave., in Soundview at about 3:40 p.m. and spread to six other houses. Two were so badly damaged they need to be demolished, FDNY Chief of Department James Leonard said. Nicholas Luckhai, 18, was alone in his bedroom, when the blaze sparked inside his home. “When I opened my bedroom door I could see the flames come right through my house,” the Lehman High School senior said. “I tried calling 911 but the windows started shattering. The flames started spreading to the porch next door with the wind. Smoke was everywhere but I couldn't see through the flames. I was in a panic. I didn't know what to do.”
New York Daily News

FDNY hits record number of black, Asian, Latino and women recruits for entrance exam

After several delays to try and attract more FDNY candidates, the filing for the city’s upcoming firefighter exam has finally closed — with historic gains in the number of African-Americans, Asians, Latinos and women who applied. The FDNY had planned to close filing on April 25 for the highly competitive firefighter entrance exam that will be given in the fall. But in an effort to boost the diversity of candidates, it extended the deadline several times, until declaring June 9 the drop-dead cut-off date. The last-minute push appeared to bear some fruit for the department, which is under the eye of a federal judge as part of its 2014 settlement with black firefighters, who brought a landmark discrimination case against the agency.
New York Daily News

Massapequa community says final goodbye to 9/11 first responder

Family and friends said their final farewells to Massapequa Firefighter and Port Authority Police Officer James Kennelly in Seaford on Thursday. “He was a fantastic father, fantastic firefighter, fantastic police officer,” former Massapequa Fire Department chief Steve Zimmerman said. “This guy was the best. The best there is to offer. Kennelly's funeral was held at Saint James Roman Catholic Church in Seaford. He died of 9-11 related cancer at 37-years-old. “He was a dedicated volunteer fireman, I know he was a dedicated police officer. A loving husband, loving father to his daughter. So dedicated,” said former Massapequa FD Chief Tom Pendergast.
FiOS1 Long Island

Auburn City Council unanimously approves police, fire, assistant fire chief contracts

The Auburn City Council voted unanimously to approve police, firefighter and assistant fire chief contracts before the previous contracts expired, a stark difference from previous rounds of contract negotiations in 2013, which dragged on into the next year. The council approved five-year contracts for all three parties during Thursday night's city council meeting, which will go into effect July 1, 2017. Each contract included salary raises for the employees, offset by health insurance cost decreases for the city. City manager Jeff Dygert said five-year contracts "give the city stability" when it comes to planning the city budget each year.
Auburn Citizen

Levittown firefighter, 85, gets FASNY achievement award

A Levittown firefighter has been honored for decades of work trying to improve safety for his fellow firefighters. Earlier this week, Tom Cuff, 85, was given the 2017 Fire Achievement Award from the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York. “Tom has been working nonstop for more than 60 years to put the safety and needs of his fellow firefighters and their families front and center,” association President Kenneth Pienkowski said. “I really appreciate the career I had,” Cuff said Thursday. “... I’m just a straight, old fireman.” Cuff, who spent 64 years in the fire service, has long been an advocate for residential sprinkler requirements, better fire and building codes, and enhanced benefits for the families of firefighters killed in the line of duty, the association said. - Metered Site

Tompkins County officials hear about impending "collapse" of county’s emergency services

Members of the Tompkins County Council of Governments on Thursday heard some details – and statistics – outlining an impending “collapse” of community-based, emergency service providers in Tompkins County. Lee Shurtleff, Director of EMS Services in Tompkins County, presented an overview of statistics compiled with the assistance Cornell students analyzing the status of Emergency Medical Service resources in Tompkins County, an overarching assessment of everything from staffing levels to the needs and demographics they handle. Essentially, as staffing levels have been strained (a third of volunteer providers, Shurtleff said, have been lost since 2013), demand has gone up, an issue compounded by a lack of volunteers, the need for taxpayers to start paying for services (and already pained local budgets), increasing call volumes and increasing expectations of the services first responders should provide.
Ithaca Times

Albany 3-alarm fire displaces 30

Firefighters are still on the scene of a three-alarm, multiple building fire on North Manning Boulevard. The blaze began at 71 N. Manning Blvd., an abandoned building, and spread to three nearby homes, according to Albany Fire Chief Warren Abriel. No one was injured, but Abriel said 26 to 30 people have been displaced from their homes as a result of the fire. The first call came in at 6:21 a.m., according to Abriel, and when fire crews arrived on the scene three minutes later they found heavy fire across the back of three buildings. Adjacent houses at 69 and 73 N. Manning were also damaged, and while crews battled the blaze people were evacuated from seven buildings.
Albany Times-Union

Thursday, June 22, 2017

City of Lockport, firefighters union agree to 11-year contract

The City of Lockport and its firefighters union have agreed to their first contract since 2012, bringing a partial end to the union’s lawsuit against the city and settling a years-long debate over ambulance service. The Lockport Professional Firefighters Association agreed in the contract to end its lawsuit to return the city’s ambulance service to the fire department in return for a $6,000 settlement to each of the union’s 33 current members. The 12 firefighters laid off when the city dropped its ambulance service, amid a 2014 financial crisis, will not be paid settlement funds, unless they returned to work for the department.
Union-Sun & Journal (Lockport)

After 40 years, assistant Glen Falls fire chief sails into retirement

J.D. Ellingsworth’s 40-year career in the Glens Falls Fire Department included dozens of responsibilities, including one that was not on his job description. “He made me look good at my job,” Fire Chief James Schrammel said Monday, three days after Ellingsworth retired as assistant chief. “J.D. was, as far as I am concerned, a major part of the success of the department.” He also did it in a way that made the department look good, according to Schrammel. “He did his job in a way that left people feeling good about what had happened,” Schrammel said. “He worked well with people, and I do think he provided a great deal of service to the people of Glens Falls.”
Glens Falls Post-Star

Lawmakers, volunteer firefighters praise passage of legislation for cancer coverage

Both chambers of the state Legislature have passed a bill that would provide medical benefits for volunteer firefighters who are diagnosed with certain forms of cancers during the course of their duties. It is now set to head to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s desk for final consideration. The legislation’s passage is being hailed by three area state legislators. The state Conference of Mayors, however, is taking issue with the bill. “Our volunteer firefighters have waited long enough to achieve the medical coverage they need and deserve for courageously putting their lives on the line to protect their communities,” said Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-47, Rome, in a release.
Rome Sentinel

Ex-treasurer gets prison for stealing $5.7M from Mahopac volunteer firefighters

More than a dozen angry members of the Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department showed up to a White Plains courtroom on Wednesday to watch their former treasurer get sentenced to over six years in prison for stealing $5.7 million from the department’s coffers. Federal Judge Cathy Seibel called Michael Klein’s thefts — pulled off in 275 transactions over 13 years — “mind-blowing” before sentencing him to 77 months in prison. Seibel also ordered Klein to pay restitution of $5.5 million, including $4.5 million to the all-volunteer fire department, which has had its budget slashed as a result of Klein’s thefts.
New York Post

Fire extinguished at Jamestown’s Arcade Building

Jamestown firefighters responded to a fire at the Arcade Building on North Main Street Wednesday afternoon. No injuries were reported. Jamestown Fire Department Chief Andrew Finson said initial responding crews found heavy fire inside the structure. Multiple hoses were used to get to the "seed" of the fire to knock it down, Finson said. He added fire department crews are often called to the structure for various reasons, as the old building is in "rough shape." Wednesday, crews inspected the building to make sure it was still safe for everybody walking by. The cause of the fire Wednesday is still under investigation. Finson said at the scene of the fire a criminal act had not been ruled out.
WGRZ-TV Channel 2

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