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fire

February 1, 2017 - 9:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, fire, news.

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A garbage truck is reported to be on fire in the area of the country deli in Alexander.

Alexander fire responding.

UPDATE 10:12 a.m.: A tanker from Bethany requested to the scene.

UPDATE: Photos submitted by Heather Jackson.

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January 26, 2017 - 2:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, pembroke, news.

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At about 11 a.m., Larry Abaire was working in his rented garage at 2369 Pratt Road, Pembroke, removing parts from a junked car when something sparked a fire in the detached gas tank.  He tried using three fire extinguishers to put out the fire, but it wasn't enough to stop the fire from spreading quickly.

He lost $200,000 in tools, which were uninsured.

The fire spread to another attached garage and neighbors who had their ATVs and snowmobiles stored there were able to get those vehicles out before the fire reached that structure. 

"Nobody got hurt, that's what matters," Abaire said.

East Pembroke Fire Chief Don Newton said the fire was "blowing out the front" of the building when crews arrived on scene and there wasn't much left to save.

Previously: Barn fire reported on Pratt Road

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To purchase prints, click here.

January 26, 2017 - 11:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia, news.

A barn fire is reported at 2369 Pratt Road, Pembroke.

East Pembroke fire and one engine from Pembroke fire dispatched.

UPDATE 11:08 a.m.: Town of Batavia requested to stand by at East Pembroke's hall.

UPDATE(S) (By Billie) 11:16 a.m.: Mutual aid is requested from Indian Falls, Alabama, Oakfield and Corfu. Mercy medics are called to the scene.

UPDATE 11:21 a.m.: The city's third platoon is called to report to fire headquarters on Evans Street.

UPDATE 12:15 p.m.: Larry Abaire says he lost $200,000 worth of tools and equipment in this fire, none of it insured. "Nobody got hurt, that's what matters," he said. Abaire, who has rented the building for the last five years for storage and to work on his own vehicles, was working on the gas tank of "a junk car" when "something caught the gas on fire." "I've done thousands of them, but it only takes that one..." He says he had turned the heater off but "had a couple things on the floor" when the fire broke out. It spread rapidly. He emptied three fire fire extinguishers on the blaze to no avail. Another guy was there and he got the ATVs and snowmobiles out OK. Abaire said the building was well insulated, "that's propbably why they're having a hard time putting it out."

UPDATE 12:31 p.m.: The fire is under control.

UPDATE 12:32 p.m.: East Pembroke Chief Don Newton said those who arrived first found a working garage fire. They try to save what they could but the fire "was blowing out the front" and not much could be salvaged. He said there were "many issues" to address and lots of propane tanks and "all finds of different fuels inside. "It was just an inferno when we got here."

January 20, 2017 - 5:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, byron, news.

Byron, South Byron and a tanker from Elba are requested to 5583 Cook Road, Byron, for a brush fire.

The entrance is off Transit Road.

January 7, 2017 - 8:53am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news, alexander.

A possible residential structure fire is reported in Alexander. "A pellet stove is smoking and won't shut off," says a dispatcher. The location is lot #6 at the West Bank Mobile Home Park at 3189 Broadway Road. Alexander and Town of Batavia fire departments are called to respond.

January 4, 2017 - 9:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, east bethany, news.

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A fully involved house fire is reported in the Town of Batavia at 4719 East Road. Firefighters from the city and Town of Batavia are responding.

UPDATE 9:54 p.m.: No one was home when the fire broke out. It's unknown at this time whether any pets were inside the residence. The structure is fully ablaze.

UPDATE 10:36 p.m.: When the first firefighters arrived on scene there were flames out of the front left side of the structure from the second story, according to Town of Batavia Fire Department Deputy Chief Chad Higgins. They scaled a ladder and knocked them down before deploying hand lines. "Heavy wind conditions helped fuel the fire," Higgins said. "...Definately it's a battle. It's never easy with these winds." Yet they were able to contain the blaze to the front portion of the structure. Higgins said bystanders told firefighters they had contacted the homeowner, who was not there. No pets were on the premises. It's possible that an unattended wood stove caused the fire, but the incident is under investigation. Le Roy and Alexander fire crews also were on scene and Oakfield and Stafford crews stood by in quarters.

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January 1, 2017 - 2:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, indian falls, pembroke, news.

A couch is reportedly on fire, sitting on the side of the road, on Hopkins Road near Sliker Road, Indian Falls.

Pembroke fire and Indian Falls fire are dispatched.

UPDATE 2:42 p.m.: Responding units can stand by in quarters.

December 29, 2016 - 2:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Oakfield, news.

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A house fire was reported at 7506 Lewiston Road, Oakfield about 15 minutes ago. 

There were flames showing and heavy smoke.

Oakfield fire along with Elba, East Pembroke, Town of Batavia and Alabama responding.

UPDATE (By Billie) 2:26 p.m.: A man at home alone heard the smoke detector alarm and discovered fire in the master bedroom. He got out safely along with a pet cat. The cause of the fire is not yet known and is being investigated A quick response by volunteer firefighters is credited with keeping the blaze contained to one room before it was extinguished.

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December 24, 2016 - 2:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news, Le Roy.

A second alarm is called for a possible dryer fire at Le Roy Manor, located at 8678 Lake Street Road. Le Roy Fire Department is responding and mutual aid is requested from the city's Fast Team, Bergen and Stafford.

December 23, 2016 - 1:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Alabama, news.

A car fire has become a garage fire at 2093 Lewiston Road, Alabama.

Alabama fire and an engine from Oakfield fire, along with Mercy EMS, requested to the scene.

UPDATE(S) (By Billie) 1:37 p.m.: This is a two-car garage. A person has third-degree burns on the right hand.

UPDATE 10:10 p.m.: Alabama Fire dispatched for a rekindle. 

UPDATE 10:14 p.m.: Chief on scene, nothing showing. Engine can respond non-emergency. 

December 10, 2016 - 5:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia, news.

City Fire is responding to the 100 block of Summit Street., Batavia, for a kitchen fire.

The fire reportedly started in the oven but has spread to the sink.

UPDATE 5:12 a.m.: Fire is reportedly out.

December 7, 2016 - 6:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news, bergen.

A chicken coop is reportedly on fire at 5929 Cook Road, Byron. It's behind a house and near a large barn. The location is between Upper Holley and Merriman roads.

Byron and South Byron fire departments are responding along with the Town of Batavia's Fast Team, Bergen and Elba. A unit from Bergen is also called to fill in at Byron's fire hall.

November 29, 2016 - 9:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Pavilion, news.

A tractor-trailer is reportedly on fire at the Yellow Goose in Pavilion, the corner of Route 63 and Route 19.

Pavilion fire dispatched.

November 25, 2016 - 3:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Torrey Farms, elba, fire, news, agriculture.

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In farming, there's little time to dwell on losses and already the Torreys are moving on after a fire caused more than $3 million in losses to their Big O Farms onion packing and storage facility in Elba yesterday.

They're still shipping onions from two other facilities they own and making plans to replace the equipment lost in yesterday's fire.

"That’s what we’ve got to do," said Mark Torrey, who stopped by the scene of the fire at 5520 N. Byron Road this afternoon to meet an insurance adjuster. "That’s what keeps you going today. We got up this morning and had to figure it out. We had loads we had to get out today. We had to figure out how to get them out. We actually started working on that yesterday afternoon."

There were three lines of onion-packing equipment in the building, Torrey said. Some of the equipment was installed within the past year. The property is assessed at more than $400,000 and each line costs more than a half-million-dollars each.

"It's not something you can just buy off the shelf," Torrey said.

Most of the equipment is manufactured in Europe, so even if suppliers have already assembled the parts, it will take some time to get everything to Elba and get it installed.

Meanwhile, the Torreys still have onions from this season's crop to get to market and some 70 employees to keep working.

A few employees posted on Facebook about how sad they were about the fire and praised the Torreys as good people to work for.

"A lot of these people have worked for us for a long time," Torrey said. "They’re working in the other places (today), but yeah, we’ve got a lot of good employees and you try to treat them right."

The fire may have started with a tractor that was stored on the southeast corner of the building and had its engine block plugged into an electric socket to keep it from freezing. Nearly every fire department in the county, along with companies from Monroe and Orleans counties, responded to the Thanksgiving Day fire. There is reportedly a community effort underway to organize an event to recognize the volunteers.

Local contractor Vito J. Gautieri also was at the facility today. He built the plant in 1958 for the Ognibene family. He came with a model of a truss used in the main arched barn. The county's online property database doesn't list the size of the facility. Gautieri said it was greatly expanded from what he originally built, but he estimated the entire space to be about 25,000 square feet.

"It's the first building I ever built that burned down," Gautieri said.

Torrey acknowledged it's a difficult loss, but that the business will continue as usual.

"This is a big set back, but we’ve still got people, we’ve got product we’ve got to pack," Torrey said. "You’ve just got to get doing it and that sort of keeps your mind off of this today."

Previously:

November 24, 2016 - 8:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, fire, Torrey Farms, agriculture, news.

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It's been more than 12 hours since the first alarm sounded for a barn fire at  5520 N. Byron Road in Elba and volunteer firefighters are still on scene.

On Thanksgiving Day.

It was a massive fire. It consumed the entire onion packing and storage facility owned by the Torrey family. It's a facility that 15 years ago was owned by the Ognibene family, hence the name of the business location, "Big O Farms."

The facility is just a mile or so north on Transit Road from the Elba Mucklands, where the Torreys are one of the largest onion growers in the county.

Family members told firefighters that most of the recent season's crop was stored at other locations, so while about 1,000 crates of onions were lost, most of this season's harvest was not in the building.

What was in the building was all of the company's sorting and packing machines, all of which were destroyed in the fire.

"Obviously, these agriculture-design buildings have no built-in protection systems, so that’s a game changer for us," said Tim Yaeger, emergency management coordinator. "Then not having the adequate water supply for us initially, we were playing catch-up the entire time."

Clearly, the fire started in the southeast corner of the building. The cause, however, is unknown. Yaeger said investigators will look at electrical and equipment as the potential spark that lit the inferno. 

Elba crews were first on scene and started an exterior attack. Yaeger said that it's possible even by that time, given the wide-open spaces inside the building, the fire could have spread extensively.

It didn't take long for flames to reach the west end of the building, and a short time later, five- and six-foot high flames could be seen flitting through the roof.

Heavy equipment was brought in to knock down walls and open holes in the roof to help firefighters get water onto the fire.

But all morning, the water supply was a major obstacle to fighting the fire.

There was only one low-volume fire hydrant in the area, so as many as 20 tankers were called in from four counties to help shuttle water from fill sites (ponds, generally) and to porta-ponds set up on North Byron Road.

"Some of the primary fill sites weren’t adequate because of the drought we had this past summer so they had to establish and look for other fill sites, which unfortunately were further away," Yaeger said. "Some points were four, five, six miles away."

While nobody wants to be dragged away from friends, family, parades and football to fight a fire on Thanksgiving Day, the timing of the fire had one benefit: plenty of manpower. Many volunteers were home today instead of at work on a typical Thursday.

"I was fearful on the way here when the alarm came in, you know, people go away, go to visit family, a lot people go out of town, so I was concerned about what our manpower situation was going to be," Yaeger said. "Surprisingly, it may have worked in our favor. We had more than adequate manpower."

Every fire company in Genesee County was mobilized in some way for the fire. If the department wasn't on scene, and most of them were, they were acting as standby or fill-in for the departments who did respond.

Responding from the county included Elba, Byron, South Byron, Bergen, Oakfield, Stafford, Alabama, Alexander, Le Roy, East Pembroke, Bethany, Pembroke and Indian Falls, with Darien and Pavilion placed on standby or fill-in.

Departments from Orleans County, including Albion and Barre, responded, as well as Brockport from Monroe County and inmates from Wyoming Correctional Facility.

All volunteers, all giving up all or a portion of their Thanksgiving to fight a fire.

But Yaeger suggested we not concentrate on the sacrifice of the volunteers.

"It’s difficult, but our hearts and thoughts go out to the business owner," Yaeger said. "That’s the primary concern. We don’t ever want to see this kind of destruction. It’s a total loss. That’s our real thought. For the firefighters, to be away from their families is difficult, but that’s what we do. In times of need, the fire services have got to be there and we were. It’s unfortunate it was today."

Previously: 

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November 24, 2016 - 2:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, elba, news, agriculture, Torrey Farms.

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Photos from the fire that broke out about 7:30 a.m., today, at Big O Farms, a property of Torrey Farms, where onions are processed.

We'll have more coverage later. Initial coverage, here.

Give thanks for our volunteer firefighters.

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November 24, 2016 - 7:33am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news, elba.

A barn fire is reported at 5520 N. Byron Road. Elba and Byron fire departments are responding. "It is believed to be 'The Big O', which is the onion growing company's name. Smoke is seen coming from the structure.

UPDATE 7:35 a.m.: This is a confirmed, working barn fire. Town of Batavia Fire Department is called to stand by in Elba's fire hall. Bergen, Oakfield and Stafford are also called to the scene.

UPDATE 7:39 a.m.: This has gone to a third alarm. Alabama, Alexander, Bethany and East Pembroke fire departments are also called to the scene, along with the Town of Batavia's ladder truck.

UPDATE 8:05 a.m.: South Byron Fire Police are called to shut down traffic at North Byron and Transit roads. Churchville is asked to fill in at Bergen's fire hall.

UPDATE 8:17 a.m.: Alexander, Darien, Pembroke and Indian Falls are asked to have crews stand by in their respective fire halls in case needed. Two tankers out of Brockport are requested to the fire.

UPDATE 8:48 a.m.: National Grid is on scene. Barre is responding. Attica is asked to fill in at Alexander.

UPDATE 9:12 a.m.: "We have rolling flames," says a firefighter.

UPDATE(S) 10:49 a.m. (by Howard): When I left the scene 20 minutes ago, the fire was still burning. Fire crews are likely to be on scene all day.  I'm going to start working on my pictures and head out later for follow up.

UPDATE 11:14 a.m.: This story from 2013 contains some shots of onion processing in this building.

UPDATE 12:23 p.m.: Le Roy's rescue engine is requested to the scene.

UPDATE 12:32 p.m.: Pavilion being requested to fill in at Le Roy's hall. (CORRECTION: Pavilion asked to stage in their own hall to cover Stafford and Le Roy)

UPDATE 1:36 p.m.: A man just showed up with "a bunch of Thanksgiving dinners" for the firefighters.

UPDATE 1:42 p.m.: Le Roy returning.

UPDATE 2:23 p.m.: Alexander is returning.

UPDATE 2:36 p.m.: Several other departments have been released, including all of the out-of-county departments

UPDATE: More coverage here.

UPDATE 4:59 p.m.: Town of Batavia's Ladder 25 is back in service.

November 19, 2016 - 12:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Stafford, news.

A brush fire is reported at 6364 Britt Road, Stafford.

The fire is near a tractor and/or a garage.

Stafford fire is dispatched.

November 11, 2016 - 12:04am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, batavia, news.

A structure fire is reported in the second-story apartment at 226 Ellicott St. Fire could be seen from the window. City fire command reports bulk of fire is knocked down, checking for extensions. Elba's rescue unit was called to respond as was Alexander's Fast Team but both services were canceled. Town of Batavia is asked to stand by in quarters.

UPDATE 12:15 a.m.: Fire is out. Town of Batavia released from standby.

UPDATE 6:28 a.m.: Press release:

On Friday, Nov. 10, at 11:49 p.m., the City of Batavia Fire Department was called for a report of smoke and fire coming from a second-story window at 226 Ellicott St., City of Batavia. Upon arrival at 11:52 p.m., firefighters found fire coming from a second-story window of a two-story, wood frame structure. The first story houses a hair salon and the second story is a single-family apartment. Firefighters forced the second-story door and made a quick interior attack of the fire with a handline. The fire was contained to the room of origin and called under control a 12:15 a.m. There was no one home at the time of the fire. The two residents that reside there are being assisted by the Red Cross. The City of Batavia Fire Department was assisted by the Alexander Fire Department, Elba Fire Department, Town of Batavia Fire Department, Genesee County Emergency Management Office, and the City of Batavia Police Department. The fire remains under investigation by the City of Batavia Fire Department. 

November 8, 2016 - 7:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia, news.

A possible fire on a school bus is reported at the gas station at 8204 Park Road, Batavia.

The passengers, if any, are off the bus.

Town of Batavia fire responding.

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