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April 27, 2017 - 4:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, batavia, news.

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With creek water running high, Capt. Bob Fix wanted to use the opportunity this week for swift water training for City of Batavia firefighters.

This morning, a crew assembled on the banks of the Tonawanda just off South Lyon Street to first practice keeping themselves safe in the water and then work at grabbing a floating person and hauling him to shore.

The safety training involved floating down the stream feet first and then trying to climb over a boom (simulating a log in the water). Fix wanted firefighters to see that if they encountered such an obstacle in a real-life situation, they could never pull themselves over it. On the next evolution, the firefighters swam hard right at the "log" and then propelled themselves over it.

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April 26, 2017 - 10:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, batavia, news.

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At the end of seven days on the job, City Fire's new chief Stefano (Steve) Napolitano said he likes what he sees -- he likes what he sees of the City of Batavia and he thinks the local fire department is filled with good people from the rank and file up to the line officers.

"This city is very well served by the men and women of this department," Napolitano said. "I can tell you that in seven days of being here, talking with them, of working with them, meeting them, watching them, listening to them, this city is very well served by these fine men and women here."

He said the department was in good hands for the past 16 months with Dan Herberger serving as interim chief and he takes over a department that is in good shape. Right now, he's getting to know department policies and procedures, but he doesn't anticipate any big changes in operations.

"I don’t see any need to change anything and if were are gong to change anything it will be consensual among officers and the rank and file to see where we can improve, what we can improve and what services we can offer," Napolitano said.

The rise to chief comes after a 25-year career in Herkimer that took him from a rookie firefighter to assistant chief. Over that span he attended more than 600 career-related classes and earned a master's degree in executive fire service management.

A lot of young firefighters start out thinking they would like to rise to the rank of chief, but Napolitano stuck with the career path. This is his first chief assignment.

"It's a great feeling when you finally get here on one aspect and it’s a huge unnerving feeling on the other aspect knowing that you are responsible for the lives and property of 15,000-plus people and the men and women in the fire department," Napolitano said. "I’m responsible not only to the citizens but to these men and women, and these men and women’s families, to make sure that our firefighters are safe and that they get home at the end of their tour."

Napolitano said he recognizes his fiduciary responsibility to manage taxpayer money well and make sure it is spent wisely and to its proper purpose. He's also motivated, having worked hard to make it to the top, to work hard at being the best chief he can be.

"It's a great feeling being here," Napolitano said. "I feel I've accomplished a goal, but my goal is not just to have the position, but to excel at the position, to enhance the department."

Napolitano isn't married. He has a lady friend in Herkimer with a son who is a junior in high school, so she's staying in Herkimer for the time being and they'll spend weekends together. He's rented an apartment in town and is getting settled in.

His friend and Napolitano's family were part of the decision on whether to take the job in Batavia, he said.

"She and the rest of my family were definitely behind me taking the position," Napolitano said. "I made sure. I said I’m not going to do this unless you guys are supporting me. I don’t think a person is anything without their family. I’ve got a good support system."

He said he's enjoyed exploring the city, getting to know the local restaurants and finding out more about the community.

"I've really enjoyed myself so far," Napolitano said. "The city's a cute city. It's a cute city with a lot of amenities. I think it's just going to keep getting better and better."

April 26, 2017 - 6:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, batavia, news.

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Anne Stefaniak, City fire's first female firefighter, who joined the department April 13, 1997, is retiring.

A farm girl from Attica, Stefaniak said she grew up a bit tomboyish and thought becoming a firefighter -- with its physical work, problem-solving requirements and helping-people aspect, would suit her. She wasn't trying to do anything special.

"I wasn’t trying to cause waves or blaze trails," Stefaniak said. "I just wanted a chance to do something I thought would fit me and I would really want to do, and I was right. I love it. I still love it to this day. I’ll miss it terribly."

Yesterday, barring an emergency call between now and Saturday, was Stefaniak's last official day of duty.

She's retiring right at 20 years, she said, because it will allow her to devote more time to her youngest children, two daughters -- a junior and a senior at Batavia High School, and because of health concerns associated with being a firefighter.

"Cancer rates are so much higher for firefighters," Stefaniak said. "Twenty years is long enough to poke that bear and take that risk."

Growing up on a farm prepared her well for the job, she said.

"I’ve never been a girly girl, like prissy, do my hair, do my nails or makeup, and you definitely can’t be that way if you are in this job," she said.

She said it's always been in her nature to try to get through, get around, get over barriers and obstacles, which is part of what's involved in firefighting, but it's also a job that involves people and helping people, and that appealed to her, too.

"I like to help if I can and this gives you an opportunity to do that," Stefaniak said. "I feel really blessed."

Stefaniak said there were some adjustments members made when she joined the department and that wasn't always easy.

"I think it was rough on the guys, too," Stefaniak said. "It’s a small town and they never thought they’d have to work with a girl."

It was the older department members who welcomed her into the fold first, she said.

"In the long run, the oldest guys became my best friends because they were very much 'if you can do the job, then welcome,' " Stefaniak said. " 'If you can’t, get out.' That’s how they treated any new guy."

Since she didn't set out to be any kind of example, she just wanted a chance to be a firefighter, she didn't think much about that aspect of what she was doing, but looking back, she's proud to have been in that position.

"When people tell me it made an impression, yeah," she said. "I didn’t realize at the time or even until I hear it, but yeah. It’s probably good they didn’t tell me that I'm ahead of time because I would have felt like pressure to be that (a role model), but it was like just good to do my thing and find out after the fact."

March 15, 2017 - 8:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, batavia, news.

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Firefighter Christine Marinaccio was part of a team of Batavia Local 896 firefighters who participated this past weekend in the American Lung Association Fight for Air Climb at the Main Place Tower in Buffalo.

Marinaccio won the trophy for Fastest Female Firefighter, beating out the other women in the climb up the 24-floor staircase. Her time was seven minutes and 27 seconds. The five-member team raised $2,100 for the ALA.

March 15, 2017 - 6:52pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, batavia, City Fire.

Press release:

City Manager Jason Molino announced today that Stefano (Steve) Napolitano has accepted the position of the City’s new fire chief.

Chief Napolitano will be leaving his current position as Deputy Fire Chief for the Village of Herkimer and begin his Batavia post on April 17.

“It has been a long and thorough search to fill this important position with the City’s fire department,” Molino said. “Steve brings with him a great breadth and depth of experience in the fire service and has the proven skills and passion for leadership that we’ve been looking for. I look forward to introducing him to our community.”

In addition to his 25 years with Herkimer’s fire department, Chief Napolitano has served as a New York State Fire Instructor since 2006. He continues to conduct training at the State Academy of Fire Sciences in Montour Falls.

Napolitano also worked as Deputy Director of the Herkimer County Office of Emergency Services from 2008 through 2015 where he assisted in development, revision and implementation of local disaster and emergency management plans, along with assisting in the county 9-1-1 dispatch communication center and the administration of the county’s mutual aid plan, mutual aid radio system and state fire training.

Chief Napolitano, who has two adult children; a daughter, Alyssa and a son, Steven,  will relocate to Batavia.

“I anticipate becoming an integral member of the community and immersing myself in various civic organizations,” Napolitano said. “In addition, the City is experiencing many quality of life enhancements, and along with being able to work with an outstanding group of men and women in providing critical services to the citizens of Batavia, I’m looking forward to taking advantage of all the community has to offer.”

Molino also thanked Interim Chief Dan Herberger who has served in the temporary capacity for a little more than a year, saying “Chief Herberger has proven himself to be an outstanding senior leader and integral member of our management team.”

Molino added that Herberger contributed immensely not only to the fire department but to the entire City through his wisdom, work ethic and incredible sense of commitment.

 

March 15, 2017 - 6:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, batavia, news.

Press release:

City Manager Jason Molino announced today that Stefano (Steve) Napolitano has accepted the position of the City’s new fire chief. Chief Napolitano will be leaving his current position as Deputy Fire Chief for the Village of Herkimer, NY, and begin his Batavia post on April 17, 2017.

“It has been a long and thorough search to fill this important position with the City’s fire department,” said Molino. “Steve brings with him a great breadth and depth of experience in the fire service and has the proven skills and passion for leadership that we’ve been looking for. I look forward to introducing him to our community.”

In addition to his 25 years with Herkimer’s fire department, Chief Napolitano has served as a New York State Fire Instructor since 2006. He continues to conduct training at the State Academy of Fire Sciences in Montour Falls, NY. Napolitano also worked as Deputy Director of the Herkimer County Office of Emergency Services from 2008 through 2015 where he assisted in development, revision and implementation of local disaster and emergency management plans, along with assisting in the county 911 dispatch communication center and the administration of the county’s mutual aid plan, mutual aid radio system and state fire training.

Chief Napolitano, who has two adult children; a daughter, Alyssa and a son, Steven, will relocate to Batavia. “I anticipate becoming an integral member of the community and immersing myself in various civic organizations,” said Napolitano. “In addition, the City is experiencing many quality of life enhancements, and along with being able to work with an outstanding group of men and women in providing critical services to the citizens of Batavia, I’m looking forward to taking advantage of all the community has to offer.”

Molino also thanked Interim Chief Dan Herberger who has served in the temporary capacity for a little more than a year. “Chief Herberger has proven himself to be an outstanding senior leader and integral member of our management team.” Molino went on to say that Herberger contributed immensely not only to the fire department but to the entire City through his wisdom, work ethic and incredible sense of commitment. 

December 4, 2016 - 9:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, local 896, batavia, news.

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City firefighters are continuing to collect Toys for Tots at the Fire Hall on Evans Street, Batavia. 

Photo: via City of Batavia Firefighters - IAFF Local 896

November 17, 2016 - 11:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, schools, education, batavia MS, news.

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Hailey Kirkpatrick, one of the winners of City Fire's annual fire safety poster contest, got a special ride in a fire truck to Batavia Middle School today with firefighters Greg Ireland and Matt Pillsbury.

Yesterday, Xavian Cramer got a ride to John Kennedy School and tomorrow Lillian Clarke gets a ride to Jackson School.

November 13, 2016 - 2:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, batavia, news.

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Winners of City fire's annual fire safety poster contest were at the Fire Hall yesterday for their pizza party and tour and demonstrations of firefighting equipment.

The winners:

  • Grade K-1: First Place, Lillian Clarke, Jackson Primary School, Mrs. Torrey/Mrs. Aquilio, 1st Grade; Second Place, Addison Horton, Jackson Primary School, Mrs. Nelson/Mrs. Aquilio, 1st Grade; Third Place, Natalie Battaglia, Jackson Primary School, Mrs. Amerine, Kindergarten;
  • Grade 2-3: First Place, Xavian Cramer, John Kennedy, Mrs. Searls, 3rd Grade; Second Place, Gretchen Redder, John Kennedy, Mrs. Dobbertin, 3rd Grade; Third Place, Caitlyn Brinkman, John Kennedy, Ms. Gonyeau, 2nd Grade;
  • Grade 4-5: First Place, Hailey Kirkpatrick, Batavia Middle School, Mrs. Schwenk, 5th Grade; Second Place, Hannah Fry, Batavia Middle School, Mrs. Schwenk, 5th Grade, Third Place, Ava Anderson, John Kennedy, Mrs. Restiva, 4th Grade.

Photo and info submitted by Batavia Fire Department.

November 8, 2016 - 1:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, batavia, news.

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The Memphis Belle, a New York State Police rescue helicopter, was in Batavia today for a short training session with City of Batavia firefighters in the parking lot next to Falleti Ice Arena. The training, which did not include any flying, covered the apparatus on the helicopter and how it worked and how the helicopter was used in various rescue scenarios.  

The helicopter crew is Trooper Jamie Schweiger and Trooper Adam Marciniak (top photo, left and center). Dan Cordell, a Department of Environmental Conservation forest ranger, is a trained crew chief, and he was also on hand to talk about his role in rescues. A crew chief directs much of the operations during a rescue.

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November 7, 2016 - 9:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, batavia, news.

Press release:

On Tuesday, Nov. 8th beginning at approximately 10 a.m. the City of Batavia Fire Department and the New York State Police Aviation Unit will be conducting training in the area of Evans Street. During this training residents can expect to see and hear a low-flying helicopter in the area.

September 13, 2016 - 11:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ladder 15, City Fire, batavia, news.

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When I left Batavia High School, where the Genesee Symphony Orchestra was rehearsing last evening, I spotted Ladder 15 over at Dwyer Stadium, so I drove over and found firefighters there doing some training.

June 8, 2016 - 4:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Castilone, batavia, news, City Fire, business.

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City firefighters have two new buildings that they can use for training because they are scheduled to be demolished.

Today, a crew practiced a second-floor window escape. The scenario is that a fire has expanded and blocked the stairwell, so the only way out is through a window. A few years ago, the state required fire departments to acquire the necessary equipment to make such escapes possible after a tragedy in NYC where firefighters had to jump from the upper story windows of a burning building.

The new Ladder 15 was used in the training, but only as a safety backup. Typically, the urgency of the situation and the fact Ladder 15 would be tied up on other tasks at the fire scene would mean it wouldn't be available to hoist a backup rope to safety.  

In this scenario, firefighters knocked a hole in a bedroom wall to expose a beam they could use as an anchor for a rope.

The two former houses are on West Main Street, just west of Castilone Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. The dealership acquired the property to further expand its new car lot. Demolition is scheduled to begin June 20.

Before then, Batavia's Emergency Response Team will also use the houses for training and drills.

Castilone also just signed a contract to acquire the property at the corner of West Main and Vernon Avenue. That property was once proposed as a new location for an Arby's Restaurant, but the plan met stiff opposition from Vernon Avenue residents. Steve Castilone said he also already met with neighborhood representatives and discussed his plans with them.

"I sat down with them and I told them all, ‘whatever is going to make you people happy, I’ll do,' " he said. " 'If I do something that makes you unhappy, I’ll change it. If I put a light up and it shines in your windows, I’ll move it.’ They asked me to not put a driveway on their street and I said when I’m done I’ll close the driveway off. They were delighted. What would you rather have, a drive-thru Arby’s on the corner or stationary parked cars?”

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May 25, 2016 - 9:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ladder 15, City Fire, batavia, news.

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City firefighters were out at about 8:30 last night training with the new truck that will become Ladder 15 early next month and with all the lights on, it was a great chance to get some pictures of what it looks like at night.

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May 24, 2016 - 2:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, batavia, news, Ladder 15.

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This week, city firefighters will be training in Batavia's new ladder truck.

Representatives of E-One, the company that delivered the truck, will be on hand to train firefighters on all aspects of the truck's operations and equipment.

"As with any new piece of equipment detailed and repetitive training is required to develop the 'muscle memory'that enables the CBFD to perform in a proficient and expeditious manner under emergency conditions," said Capt. Robert Fix.

As part of the training, crews will set the truck up at various locations throughout the city over the next week. At times, this may cause some roadway lane restrictions as well as minor inconveniences near mid-rise and high-rise buildings, Fix said.

The new truck is expected to be in service by June 1.

(Yes, I was given a ride all the way up the 100-foot ladder.)

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May 23, 2016 - 10:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in IAFF Local 896, batavia, MDA, City Fire, news.

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Members of the Batavia City Firefighters from IAFF Local 896 will fan out across the streets with boots in hand for this year’s drive on Friday, June 3rd.

Batavia’s Fill the Boot drive is organized by firefighter Chris Morasco. 

“In 2015, our members with the generous help of the community were able to raise $7,523 for the MDA! We are going to try our best to top the $10,000 mark for this great cause," Morasco said.

The event is from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Main Street and Court Street and at Ellicott Street and Court Street.

Pictured with city firefighters are Patti Arroyo and her daughter Zoey.

They are a local family that has been touched by the MDA directly. They met with firefighters to explain how the MDA has helped them. 

"It was a great opportunity to put a face to the cause and see that our efforts are truly making a difference and changing lives," Morasco said.

May 5, 2016 - 3:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, batavia, news.

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City firefighters were at a house on Ganson Avenue this afternoon for training. The house is scheduled for demolition in a couple of weeks, but before it comes down, City crews will use it for numerous training drills.

Today's scenario was dealing with a first-floor fire at a time (such as the middle of the night) when there might be people upstairs sleeping. While one crew attacks the fire, another enters through a second-story window and searches for anybody who might be trapped, injured or just sleeping and unaware of the fire.

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May 2, 2016 - 2:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire, news.

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Peter Yasses, 81, a 23-year veteran of the Batavia City Fire Department, was lain to rest today and his funeral procession was escorted from the J. Leonard McAndrew Funeral Home on Bogue Avenue to St. Joe's Cemetery by Ladder 15. Yasses passed away Wednesday. For his full obituary, click here.

April 29, 2016 - 3:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ladder 15, batavia, City Fire, news.

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City firefighters got a first look at their new ladder truck today as it stopped by the fire hall on its trip to Hamburg, where it will receive final setup before being ready to go into service.

After that setup and training for fire crews, it will go into service, about a month from now.

The truck is a dealer's demo built in early 2015 and cost the city $912,000.

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March 10, 2016 - 5:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire, IAFF Local 896.

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A group of city firefighters will climb 38 floors, 800 steps, in Buffalo on March 12 to help raise funds for the American Lung Association.

The effort is part of the Fight for Air Climb and takes place at the HSBC Tower.

Firefighers have an increased risk for lung disease, including lung cancer, from the exposure to gases, chemicals and smoke in the line of duty. Funds will be used for research, education and patient programs to assist firefighters.

The Fight for Air Climb has so far raised $114,000 and Batavia Local 896 has raised $1,372.

To donate, visit fightforairclimb.org and enter Batavia L896 in search.

Pictured are Jerry Yoder, Adam Palumbo, Christine Marinaccio and Zack Gowanlock.

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