New York News

Thursday, December 13, 2018

7 firefighters, 5 civilians hurt in Sunnyside, Queens fire

At least 12 people are recovering from injuries after a massive fire burned through several businesses in Sunnyside, Queens. The fire broke out inside one store on Queens Boulevard around 2:14 a.m. Thursday and quickly spread. Dozens of firefighters were called to the scene as the fire grew to five alarms. The raging flames eventually engulfed six stores, one of which partially collapsed in the back. Firefighters dodged a frightening backdraft that ripped through one building at around 3 a.m., sending them scrambling to Queens Boulevard for safety. One man on the scene reported seeing the fireball as firefighters attempted to get out of the building. "I saw three firefighters just on the ground on Queens Boulevard, they flew out of the basement, and I saw one of the guys picked up his helmet and he ran back there to do his job. I was terrified," the witness said.

Councilman demands independent probe on FDNY chief suspended over abusive behavior accusations

The head of the city council's investigations committee has requested an independent probe of the events leading up to the suspension of a top Fire Department chief accused of abusive behavior. Councilman Ritchie Torres, (D-Bronx), sent Department of Investigation Commissioner Margaret Garnett the request Tuesday, days after FDNY Chief of Department James Leonard was relieved of his command and put on desk duty. The suspension followed Daily News reports that Leonard had been accused of openly berating and humiliating subordinates, and tried to freeze out First Deputy Commissioner Laura Kavanagh, one of few women in the top ranks of the FDNY. In announcing Leonard's suspension, the FDNY said the city's Law Department will be responsible for investigating his behavior.
New York Daily News

Canandaigua fire service changes set in motion

Several steps are being taken to address staffing in the Canandaigua Fire Department, while other suggestions to improve fire protection likely will take some time. But a great deal of time, thought and work has been spent over the last year in studying the issue of providing fire service, Mayor Ellen Polimeni said — with some results now. “I think there’s progress being made,” Polimeni said. Members of City Council discussed staffing, as well as other recommendations made in a $50,000 fire service study, during a Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday night scheduled, in part, to help determine the next steps for the department. Also firmed up somewhat is the commitment from the town of Canandaigua to help fund additional paid firefighters beyond 2019, and the opportunity to pursue grant money to bring in more staff. Earlier this month, City Council adopted a 2019 spending plan that includes funding for two new firefighters, the $200,000 cost split evenly with the town.

Volunteer fire departments struggle for new members

Volunteer firefighter numbers are down across the nation and right here at home. It's another issue impacting local communities after learning taxpayers in three towns recently rejected plans to rebuild and renovate some local fire stations. A new report outlines getting to the ideal status of the volunteer fire service -- including on boarding, staffing, and addressing retention and recruiting. The fire chief in Alplaus -- which is 100 percent volunteer, would love 15 or so more active members, on top of the 20 he already has. The report from the International Fire Chiefs Association outlines goals for the future for local volunteer fire departments struggling near and far to recruit dependable members in a world where everyone is overbooked and personal schedules are just too busy.
WNYT-TV 13 Albany

Firefighters Battle 3-Alarm Fire at Warehouse in Rochester

Fire crews battled a three-alarm fire at a warehouse in Rochester on Thursday. The fire started around 4 a.m. at the Premier Metal Group building on Cairn Street. Police received a call after someone saw smoke. Fire officials say titanium scraps were burning inside the metal warehouse. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. No one was injured.
WHAM-AM 1180 Rochester

Fire guts North Granville home leaving residents homeless

A family lost their two-story home following a late Wednesday afternoon fire in North Granville. No injuries were reported, and the cause remains under investigation. More than a dozen Washington County fire departments responded to 10376 state Route 22 near the intersection of county Route 17 around 4 p.m. to a fully involved structure fire. “It got a really good start,” North Granville Fire Chief Scott McCullen said. The home was determined to be a total loss, but firefighters were able to save a home next door, he said. The neighboring structure was intact, but some of the siding was melted. Slippery weather conditions made fighting the fire somewhat challenging, McCullen said. Tanker trucks delivered water from a quarry that McCullen said was about four miles down the road.
Glens Falls Post-Star

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

New contract for Buffalo city firefighters announced

A new agreement was announced Tuesday between the City of Buffalo and its firefighters. Common Council members approved the pact with the Buffalo Professional Firefighters Association, Local 282 after rank and file members ratified it back in October. The new contract is retroactive back to July 1, 2017 and runs through June 30, 2025. It gives members pay hikes averaging 3.3% and is expected to save the city $32 million. Among other items, the savings will be realized as the result of a generic prescription mandate for all new prescriptions and a reduction in sick time from nine hours per month to eight for each employee. "This is a great deal and I thank everyone involved, from Mayor Byron Brown to the leadership of Local 282, for working together on a mutually beneficial agreement that is both fiscally sound and enhances the safety of firefighters, as well as the safety of Buffalo residents," said Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen.
WGRZ-TV Channel 2

Man killed, firefighters hurt in massive Long Island house fire

One person was killed and two firefighters were injured in a massive fire that tore through a home on Long Island late Tuesday. The flames broke out just before 11 p.m. inside the home on Oregon Avenue in Medford. The blaze spread quickly and caused part of the house to collapse. After the fire was extinguished, the body of an adult male was located inside. The man, believed to be a resident of the home, was pronounced dead at the scene. His name is being withheld pending positive identification by the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner. The two firefighters were transported to Long Island Community Hospital in East Patchogue for treatment of minor injuries. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Funeral services set for Middlesex assistant fire chief

The community is set to remember an assistant chief in the Middlesex Fire District after he was killed in a snowmobile crash last weekend. Along with his service in Middlesex, Tom Hetherington also previously served as fire chief in the Churchville Volunteer Fire Department. He died Friday night after a snowmobile crash in the Town of Inlet in Northern New York. Middlesex firefighters say calling hours for Hetherington will be held Saturday, December 15 starting at 10 a.m. until noon at Crosswinds Wesleyan Church (3360 Middle Cheshire Road, Canandaigua). Funeral services will follow at 1 p.m.
Rochester First

FDNY: Elderly Woman Killed in Fire at a Queens High-Rise

A 65-year-old woman was killed in a fire at a Queens high-rise Tuesday night, the city fire department said. According to the FDNY, it happened around 8:50 p.m. on the first floor of an apartment building on Kissena Boulevard near Ash Avenue. The FDNY said firefighters arrived to the blaze in four minutes, but the woman was pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of the fire, and the victim's identity, has not been confirmed as of this writing. The investigation is ongoing.

Voters reject Selkirk fire department bond

Up for a vote Tuesday night, whether to build a new Selkirk station one and sell the old building, rebuild Glenmont's station two and make upgrades to the South Bethlehem, station three. "I'm a taxpayer. I'm shelling out just like everybody else," Bill Asprion said. If approved, residents would have to pay nearly an extra $100 in taxes for an average household valued at $220,000. The Selkirk Fire Commissioner says the decades old buildings have reached a point where they're just not safe. "We have policies in place that the truck doesn't back up without a spotter but again, things get missed. We don't want anyone to be run over," Asprion said. The ladder truck at Station 2 clears the roof by only a few inches. Between the truck and engine there are just barely three feet. A few inches to the left or right could mean a total difference causing damage, not to mention dangerous conditions for the firefighters. But not everyone sees the need for the bond.
WNYT-TV 13 Albany

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