New York News

Friday, May 25, 2018

Port Chester to upgrade 90-year-old firehouse

An almost 90-year old firehouse at 209 Westchester Ave. will be getting an upgrade. The station, which houses the Harry Howard Hook & Ladder Company, is set to receive a new garage door to make space for a recently-purchased fire truck the village bought as part of its 2017-2018 budget plan. The village Board of Trustees authorized the construction at this week's Board of Trustees meeting, voting unanimously to approve the $277,749 project as part of a larger package of bond resolutions. The village spent $874,000 on the new rescue truck, but based on its size, the firehouse's garage door needs to be replaced, said Fire Chief Michael Devittorio. "We have to build to modern standards so we have to open up that door," he said.
NY Journal News (

Former paramedic alleges Rockville Centre fire company tried to oust her after she sought financial records

Former Rockville Centre Fire Department paramedic Donna Hitscherich filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights earlier this year, alleging that she was retaliated against after raising concerns about the practices and finances of Floodlight Rescue Company No. 1, the department’s EMS unit, according to documents obtained by the Herald. Hitscherich, who is a business and finance law professor at Columbia University’s Business School, began questioning in 2015 why certain required equipment had not been installed in the company’s ambulances. Then, in 2016, she sought access to certain of Floodlight’s financial records, which she was denied. In February last year, the Fire Department filed unrelated charges against her. Those charges were dropped a month later. She then resigned from the company, and the department, in April last year.
Rockville Centre Herald

Long Island fire department dedicates truck to fallen Afghan war vet

There was a special ceremony on Long Island Sunday to honor a fallen Afghan war vet. The North Patchogue Fire Department dedicated a fire truck to Lieutenant Michael Murphy. Murphy was a North Patchogue resident and a Medal of Honor recipient. He was killed in the line of duty in 2005. Members of the department say it is an honor to commemorate a man who served our country. Lieutenant Murphy's parents attended the ceremony. His mother broke a ceremonial bottle of champagne over the fire engine's front bumper.

Woman thanks Rochester firefighters who fixed her flat

Typically, you don't go to a firehouse to get a flat tire fixed, but one Rochester woman ran into road trouble in the right place. It wasn't how Shawnasia Williamson wanted to start her birthday, last week. "Literally, as I got to the light my car just started bouncing and it was a flat,” said Williamson. Williamson pulled into the Allen Street firehouse. "I was stressed out. I started crying. I didn't know what I was going to do,” she said. That's when firefighters came to her aid. First, they tried inflating her flat tire. "Unfortunately, as soon as we put in air, the air left as quickly as we put it in,” said Lt. Desmond Price Jr., with the Rochester Fire Department. "They tried to fill the tire up first and the whole car went back down. Then they got all the tools together and got it up on the bottle jack and started fixing the tire,” said Williamson.
WUHF Fox Rochester

Oneida Fire Department gives Otto Shortell Middle School live demo

It takes seconds nowadays for fire to spread beyond control, something students learned firsthand from the Oneida Fire Department. For the past few days, the Oneida Fire Department has been teaching fire safety to students at Otto Shortell Middle School, a cohort that Deputy Chief Timothy Cowan said the fire department had neglected. “We do really good at the elementary levels, at first, second and third grades. But we miss the middle schoolers. These are the kids that are home now, cooking meals for themselves, siblings or starting it for their parents,” Cowan said. “With kitchen fires and cooking being the leading cause of residential fires, its important to show them.” Sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students at OSMS were taught first-hand how to properly use a fire extinguisher and to put out a grease fire on a kitchen stove.
Rome Observer

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Injured Watertown firefighter to initiate lawsuit

The city firefighter injured in the Feb. 19 fire when a portion of a brick wall fell on him has taken the first step in filing a lawsuit against the city and a series of other agencies. On May 17, an Albany law firm representing city firefighter T.G. Kolb and his wife, Andrea, filed a notice of a claim for personal injuries, medical expenses, loss of earnings and services, and other damages. Claiming negligence, he named the city of Watertown, the city’s code enforcement, engineering and fire departments, the board of the Hudson River Black River Regulating District, the town of Watertown and its fire department, Jefferson County, the county’s fire coordinator and its Office of Fire and Emergency Management as defendants.
Watertown Daily Times

Man dies in Ulster mobile home fire

Town of Ulster police and fire investigators are trying to determine how and why a 33-year-old man died in a fire in the mobile home where he lived Wednesday morning, according to a press release. The man’s identity had not been released as of Wednesday evening, pending notification of relatives. Neighbors said the man lived alone and kept to himself. The grass in front of the mobile home on Station Road was uncut and a dark-colored Nissan Altima appeared not to have been moved recently. A neighbor walking her dog shortly after 5 a.m. Wednesday saw smoke coming from the trailer where the man lived. Her husband called 911 at 5:08 a.m. Efforts to arouse the man and get him out failed, neighbors said. Police and firefighters were on the scene within minutes. They found the man and got him out and took him to Health Alliance of the Hudson Valley but he was pronounced dead there, according to a press release from the Town of Ulster Police Department.
Middletown Times Herald-Record

State Senate moves application for $1M in funding for Columbia County’s new fire training center

The state Senate Finance Committee approved an application from Columbia County for $1 million in funding to help pay for renovations to a building the county plans to use as a new fire training center. The county negotiated a purchase agreement last July with Almstead Realty Company, Inc. to buy 9.7 acres, with a two-story, 1,100-square-foot building, at 50 Grandinetti Drive for $840,000, which is less than the original asking price of $935,000. The property will be used for emergency management purposes including a training facility for firefighters and emergency technicians, a centralized location to store equipment and vehicles, and office space for the county fire coordinator. The county applied for the money, which will come from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, through state Sen. Kathy Marchione, R-43.
Ravena News-Herald

Volunteer fire department financial records in Eastchester and Croton tough to obtain

Volunteer fire departments and their affiliates in Croton-on-Hudson and Eastchester are swimming in money, but figuring out what they’ve raised — and what they’ve spent it on — is proving difficult. The Croton Fire Department is under criminal investigation for financial improprieties in its Fire Council while Eastchester fire officials continue their fight to unearth the whereabouts and use of millions of dollar in tax money held by its volunteer benevolent association. Each department has thrown up roadblocks to disclosure. In Eastchester, the benevolent association's lawyer pleaded the Fifth Amendment when asked to disclose certain tax documents. Another Eastchester volunteer official, who still hasn't fully replied to a Freedom of Information Law request, simply said he didn't know why he had taken so long to respond.
NY Journal News (

Syracuse: Firefighters recall the intensity and effort to save lives during the Fitch Street fire

Three out of four firefighters say they've experienced stress on the job that has left lingering emotional issues according to a national survey by the Firefighter's Union. They say that stress leads to anger issues, relationship problems, and even thoughts of suicide. In Syracuse, the most stress-filled firefight in years came in the deadly Fitch Street fire earlier this year. Matt Mulcahy sat down with the firefighters on the scene that night to talk about what they experienced. They revealed the intensity of the effort to save lives and the challenge of moving past a firefight they will never forget.

New York Child Fire Victim Giving Back in Big Way

A young girl in upstate New York who survived a fire that killed four of her family members five years ago is finally getting a chance to open some Christmas gifts. A few million of them, in fact. Safyre Terry was only five years old when she was badly burned in an arson fire in Schenectady that killed her father, sister and two brothers in May 2013, and her injuries from the blaze also caused the young girl to lose a portion of her right arm. As she continued to recover from the tragic incident, Safyre's aunt created a touching Facebook post in December 2015 saying that all her niece wanted for Christmas was a greeting card, and the post quickly went viral. Cards and gifts began pouring in from all over the world — Safyre even received a card from President Obama and his family — until the total reached roughly two million.

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