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JK students help provide Thanksgiving Day dinners to 12 Batavia families

By Staff Writer
thanksgiving dinner john kennedy school

Twelve families in Batavia will likely have a more filling and flavorful Thanksgiving than might otherwise have been possible, thanks to the students at John Kennedy Intermediate School, City Fire, and Batavia PD.

The students packed Thanksgiving dinner prep kits to be delivered by Batavia PD to the selected families.

Firefighters delivered turkeys and all the fixings for a complete holiday dinner.

Photos via Batavia City Schools

thanksgiving dinner john kennedy school
thanksgiving dinner john kennedy school
thanksgiving dinner john kennedy school
thanksgiving dinner john kennedy school
thanksgiving dinner john kennedy school

Fire prevention coloring contest winners announced

By Press Release
Thomas VanRemmen -Jackson Primary,
Submitted photo colored by Grade K-1 first place winner Thomas VanRemmen (Jackson Primary, Mrs. Restivo Kindergarten).

Press Release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department is proud to announce the winners of our 10th Annual Fire Prevention Coloring Contest. With over 400 entries from Batavia Schools, this contest was very difficult to judge.

Congratulations to the following winners:

Grade K-1

First Place - Thomas VanRemmen -Jackson Primary, Mrs. Restivo Kindergarten

Second Place - Everleigh D.- St. Josephs, Mrs. Case, Kindergarten

Third Place - Bryson Lee -Jackson Primary, Mrs. Reeves- 1st grade

Grades 2-3

First Place - De’Aungelo Rolle- John Kennedy, Mrs. Antinore 3rd Grade

Second Place - Josephina Varland- St. Paul Lutheran- Ms. Austin 3rd Grade

Third Place - Claire Lutey- St. Josephs School- 2nd Grade

Grades 4-5

First Place - Caleb Janis- St Paul Lutheran School- Mrs. Dunn 5th Grade

Second Place - Raven Casey Batavia Middle School St. Mrs. Falleti, 5th Grade 

Third Place - Lyla McClellan- St. Paul Lutheran School, Mrs. Dunn, 5th Grade

An awards luncheon will be held Saturday, Oct. 28 from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the City of Batavia Fire Station located at 18 Evans St. for all 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. The 1st place winner of each group will receive a ride to school on a City of Batavia Fire Engine. Congratulations to all the winners.

De’Aungelo Rolle-
Submitted photo colored by 3rd Grade first place winner De’Aungelo Rolle (John Kennedy, Mrs. Antinore).
Caleb Janis-
Submitted photo colored by 5th Grade first place winner Caleb Janis (St Paul Lutheran School- Mrs. Dunn).

New fire truck on its way to Batavia, 20-year payment plan

By Joanne Beck


josh grahm batavia fire chief
2022 File Photo of City of Batavia Fire Chief Josh Graham, who is anticipating delivery of the department's latest fire truck in November.
Photo by Howard Owens 

As Batavia’s city fire department prepares to welcome a shiny new, customized fire truck into a bay at the renovated Evans Street site, City Council dealt with details of the $800,000 purchase Monday evening at City Hall.

Council voted on three resolutions:

  • Approve the purchase of the fire truck project completion;
  • Authorize and provide for the “incurrence of indebtedness” for the purpose of providing a portion of the cost of acquiring, constructing, enlarging, improving and or extending its new fire truck facility to serve an area lawfully within its jurisdiction to serve; and 
  • Authorize a general bond to finance the acquisition.

The city will pay for Engine 12 with a $665,000 loan at 2.5 percent interest for 20 years, a $100,000 grant and city fire reserves of $36,681.

Councilman-at-large Bob Bialkowski wanted to know more about the second resolution regarding the incurrence of indebtedness for the purpose of acquiring, constructing and enlarging the truck’s new facility in Batavia. Does that mean there will be more work done at the first station, which has recently been updated with a new driveway apron and other interior upgrades?

There’s no extension of the building, City Attorney George Van Nest said.

“This is draft language from USDA. This is a standard USDA resolution that they require;  it’s part of the closing package,” Van Nest said. “The entire statement says resolution of the City Council of the City of Batavia authorizing and providing for the incurrence of indebtedness for the purpose of providing a portion of the cost of acquiring construction, enlarging, improving and/or extending its fire trucks. So, in that case, cross everything out except for acquiring fire trucks, and we're good to go.”

Engine 12 will put Engine 11 into reserve, and the current reserve will go to surplus, Fire Chief Joshua Graham said. 

“They’re out there right now to do the final inspection, which they’ve been doing all day and tomorrow at the factory,” he said. “Once they finish the inspection, we’re estimating it to be shipped to Colden Enterprises in Kenmore sometime around the first of November, and they’ll have it outfitted with tools and accessories. And then sometime in mid-November, it’ll be delivered to us, and the only thing we’ll have to do with it is the detailing.”

City Manager Rachael Tabelski, who reviewed the financial plan, said that she appreciated the interest rate the city was able to get as part of the deal.

“I'm just very glad we were able to get a 2.5 percent interest rate because we do have almost enough in reserves to pay this off. But at this point, the funding and reserves is making more interest being there than what we pay out,” Tabelski said. “And with the help of (City Clerk/Treasurer) Heidi, who does a really nice job with all of our investments, looks at each of these opportunities, and we're actually able to make a little bit more on our investments in our reserve funds.”

Council members, all of whom had previously voted for the purchase of the fire truck, approved the resolutions. 

“I hope it lasts us many, many years,” Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said. 

After the meeting, Graham said that the current reserve engine dates back to 2002, and its age means “it’s starting to have a lot of maintenance issues.”

“So moving the current first-run engine back to reserve, and then implementing this new version first,” was his primary reason for necessitating a new truck purchase, he said. “The truck itself is completely built in the factory, and the crews are out there now going over it with a fine toothcomb. The only thing they're doing when it comes up here is that it doesn't come with the mounts for our tools and things to put the tools on it. So they install those on the truck up here. Then it'll come over to us, and then the city actually makes the decals.”

He plans to take the new pumper on a little cruise through the city to show the citizens the new vehicle, most likely sometime in mid- to late November. 

Free child safety seat check Saturday

By Press Release
File photo from 2021 by Howard Owens

Press Release:

On Saturday, Sept. 23 the City of Batavia Fire Department hosting a free child safety seat check at the fire department at 18 Evans St. Batavia.

Nationally certified technicians will be on hand to answer questions, check recalls, and assist with making sure your seat is correctly installed. 

Contact City Fire Headquarters for more information at 585-345-6375.

Batavia PD beats City Fire 14-13 in last at bat

By Howard B. Owens
batavia pd softball

After trailing the entire game, Batavia PD staged a comeback win in the bottom of the seventh inning to take the third meeting in a charity baseball game between the police department and the City of Batavia Fire Department.

The final score was 14-13 on Saturday evening at Dwyer Stadium.

Proceeds benefited the Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation.

Photos by Howard Owens.

batavia fire and batavia pD softball

Photo: Wet concrete outside Batavia's Fire Hall

By Howard B. Owens
city fire apron
New concrete outside of the Fire Hall on Evans Street in Batavia.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Batavia's Fire headquarters has a new apron, or driveway, as part of a construction project at the facility.

Previously, Chief Joshua Graham told The Batavian: "The construction that took place back then was not designed for the weight of today’s fire apparatus. Due to that fact, the concrete is cracking up and falling apart," he said to The Batavian Thursday. "The apron itself consists of tearing the only concrete out and pouring new slabs. We then have to wait until it has hardened enough to support the weight of our trucks."

City's fire station under long-awaited construction this summer

By Joanne Beck
City fire station construction
The City of Batavia Fire Department is slated for a renovation project this summer that will begin with replacement of the front entrance apron, and visitors are asked to use the rear entrance of the Evans Street station.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Summertime's warmer temps usually bring on road pavings, driveway sealings and roof replacements, and the city's fire department is also receiving some much-needed construction during the season, Chief Joshua Graham says.

The department's Evans Street station apron is being replaced as part of a larger renovation project that has been planned for many years and will update the station with new equipment, bathrooms and Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant amenities. 

The concrete is original to the building's construction, which was done in 1977, Graham said. 

"The construction that took place back then was not designed for the weight of today’s fire apparatus. Due to that fact, the concrete is cracking up and falling apart," he said to The Batavian Thursday. "The apron itself consists of tearing the only concrete out and pouring new slabs. We then have to wait until it has hardened enough to support the weight of our trucks."

That's only the beginning, he said, as the apron sets the stage for a larger indoor renovation project.

"We are renovating parts of the interior of the fire station as well. Again, the facility is original to 1977 and, as such, has only one bathroom and open showers for the firefighters," he said. "We also have a non-ADA compliant bathroom up front, which would be public use. When the project is complete, we will have three separate bathrooms with separate showers, including one ADA-compliant. We are adding a wall to separate the living space (kitchen, bunk rooms) from the rest of the station."

There will also be a new sprinkler system, updated fire alarm system, new generator and some minor cosmetic repairs, he said. 

"All of these fixes are much needed, and I’m thankful to the city for seeing that they are completed," he said.

Earlier this year, City Council approved a recommendation from management to reallocate $635,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funds for upgrades at the City Fire and Bureau of Maintenance department facilities. 

These two capital projects were first eyed in 2017 and were then put on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic.

“We finally got a project engineered and out to bid. It came back much higher,” City Manager Rachael Tabelski had said during that January council meeting.

She recommended taking funds previously allocated for the Cohocton Water and Austin Park playground projects and reroute them to the fire station and Bureau of Maintenance projects, and council agreed.

Graham sent out a press release on Thursday to notify the public of the apron construction to take place over the next several months and a request for visitors to use the rear door of the station during that time.

"We do not have a doorbell on the back door, so if no one is there to greet you, please call the fire station phone at 585-345-6375," he said.

In the coming weeks, as the construction crews work to replace the apron, fire department staff will be responding from the rear of the station. Please do not park anywhere near the rear bay doors, as the fire apparatus will need room to pull out and respond to calls, Graham said.

Additionally, the retired flag drop box has been temporarily moved to the rear of the station as well. It is still accessible to the public.

"I appreciate your understanding as we complete these much-needed renovations," he said.

City fire department warns of lithium-ion battery fires, offers advice on fire prevention

By Press Release

Press release: 

The City of Batavia Fire Department reminds residents to use caution when using and storing lithium-ion batteries. There was a recent fire in the City caused by lithium-ion batteries in an electric bike. 

These fires burn hot and fast while simultaneously releasing large amounts of toxic smoke and can quickly spread throughout a structure as well as nearby structures. There were 200 fires in 2022 in New York City alone were caused by batteries from e-bicycles, electric scooters, and similar devices.

As the devices that use lithium-ion batteries grow in popularity, so do the chances of similar incidents happening in the City of Batavia. When these batteries start on fire, they can be difficult to extinguish. When they burn, they burn extremely hot and fast. These fires ignite nearby combustibles much quicker than a standard fire. 

It is vitally important that consumers use, store, and charge them according to the manufacturer's guidelines. It’s also a great idea to remain close by while these batteries are charging and unplug them when they are full.

To help prevent a lithium-ion battery fire, please follow these safety tips:

  • Be sure you have working smoke alarms installed on every floor of your residence.
  • Use only the original equipment manufacturer's batteries and charging cords.
  • Refrain from using aftermarket batteries and chargers. While they may be cheaper to purchase, these batteries are more likely to pose a burn, fire, or explosion hazard.
  • Store any scooters, e-bikes, etc., outdoors if at all possible. If you have to store them inside, keep them away from doors, windows, stairways, and egress paths.
  • Do NOT use extension cords or power strips to charge the batteries.
  • Place the batteries on a hard flat surface, do not charge on a pillow, couch, or bed.
  • Charge only one battery at a time, and do not allow it to remain plugged in once it’s full.
  • If you notice any changes in the batteries, such as damage, odor, change in color, increase in heat, change in shape, leaking, smoking, or failing to keep a charge, stop using it immediately.
  • Keep an ABC class fire extinguisher or a dry-chemical extinguisher on hand.
  • Do not throw lithium-ion batteries in the trash. These batteries should be recycled and you can find a location at the following link

If you have any questions, please contact the City Fire Department at 585-345-6375.

Photos: Ducklings rescued on Raymond Avenue

By Howard B. Owens
ducklings rescued

City firefighters were called to Raymond Avenue this morning to rescue a family of ducklings that had fallen into a storm drain.

Photos by Frank Capuano.

ducklings rescued
ducklings rescued

Photos: motorists asked to Fill the Boot for MDA

By Howard B. Owens
fill the boot

City firefighters, Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 896 members, are positioned at strategic locations in Downtown Batavia today (Friday) until 2 p.m. collecting donations for Muscular Dystrophy Association as part of their annual Fill the Boot campaign.

Photos by Frank Capuano

fill the boot
fill the boot
fill the boot
fill the boot
fill the boot

City Fire planning more hydrant flushing on Monday and Tuesday

By Press Release
fire hydrant flushing
File photo of hydrant flushing at a location on Ellicott Street, Batavia.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flushing / testing fire hydrants on Monday and Tuesday from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the general area of North of Main Street and West of Bank Street. 

Homes and businesses nearby will be affected. These tests may result in temporary discoloration of water in that area. As in the past, please do not attempt to wash any clothing if your water appears discolored. If you do experience a discoloration of your water, run cold water for about 5 minutes or until clear.

This annual testing is essential to maintain the communities class III Insurance Services Office (ISO) public protection classification, and to assure that fire hydrants are operating efficiently for fire protection purposes. Along with maintaining the fire rating, the test monitors the health of the city's water system, identifies weak areas in the system, and removes material that settles in the water lines. Checking each hydrant improves fire department personnel's knowledge of the hydrant locations.

If you have any questions, or should notice a hydrant in need of repair, please contact the fire department at 585-345-6375.

Photo: Fire hydrant flushing on Ellicott Street, Batavia

By Howard B. Owens
fire hydrant flushing
City of Batavia firefighters flushing a hydrant on Ellicott Street on Thursday morning.
Photo by Howard Owens

It's an annual rite of spring: Fire hydrant flushing, which helps keep the hydrants servicable for emergencies.  City Fire crews flushed hydrants in a couple of city neighborhoods this morning.

In a release, City Fire explained the necessity of fire hydrant flushing:

This annual testing is essential to maintain the communities class III Insurance Services Office (ISO) public protection classification, and to assure that fire hydrants are operating efficiently for fire protection purposes. Along with maintaining the fire rating, the test monitors the health of the city's water system, identifies weak areas in the system, and removes material that settle in the water lines. 

Proclamation: Greg Ireland honored for 23-year service

By Joanne Beck


Greg Ireland likes to tell people that one of his best days happened 23 years ago. That’s when he was hired by the City of Batavia as an emergency medical technician. Apparently, the feeling has been mutual all these years since Ireland has climbed the ranks, being promoted to firefighter in 2002, lieutenant in 2015 and captain in 2018.

He was given a warm send-off Monday evening during his last department move to retirement. City Councilman Rich Richmond read a proclamation that summarized Ireland’s two dozen years of service that included firefighting, educating other first responders throughout Genesee County, and being “a positive role model to all of the fire department throughout his 23-year career,” Richmond said.

“In the true spirit of appreciation, for many years, Captain Gregory Ireland has served as a City of Batavia employee, the City Council and the City of Batavia herby make this proclamation to sincerely thank him for 23 years of dedicated service in our community, and wish him well in his retirement,” Richmond said.

During an interview with The Batavian in June 2022, Ireland had given notice and already walked out the door.  That last day was emotional, he said, as being part of the city Fire Department had “definitely been part of my lifestyle.”

“Emotions came in waves. It was the right decision at this time,” he said at the time. “I’ll have the opportunity to be home with my family … that’s going to allow me more time with my family and my kids. That was the main driver behind it.”

After more than two decades as a city employee, Ireland has been a recognizable face throughout the community. He started out as an emergency medical technician when the city-owned and operated its own ambulance service. He credits Sept. 4, 1999, as “the best day of my life” for a career move out of the radio — and the airplanes and helicopters used for part of his traffic reporting job.

“I actually flew on an airplane for almost two years every morning. I did that for a bunch of stations up in Buffalo,” he said. “It was a great experience, but not what I wanted to do.”

An Alexander High School and Genesee Community College graduate, he worked in Buffalo for a while before making the move. He began as an EMT in 1999, with a background of having volunteered for the Alexander fire department, and a year or two before that, Ireland took a first aid class. The handwriting seemed to be on the wall before a teenaged Ireland took serious note of it. He moved through the ranks from basic to intermediate EMT and then to paramedic. By 2002, he was offered a job as a firefighter, which was a major goal.

In 1999, the opportunity for a job came up, and it “turned into a great career,” he said.

He couldn’t help but humbly accept the honor before the council and remind everyone how he feels.

“I always say Sept. 4, 1999, was one of the luckiest days of my life,” he said. “They’re always going to be part of my family.”

Photo of Greg Ireland accepting proclamation from City Councilman Rich Richmond during City Council's conference session Monday at City Hall, by Howard Owens.

City Fire annual report: Call volume up 11.6 percent

By Press Release

Press release:

As 2022 has drawn to a close, the City of Batavia Fire Department has evaluated the services and programs provided throughout the year.  The annual evaluation of calls for service metrics, training and citizen outreach is part of the department’s continuous quality improvement process.

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect people around the world, City Fire operations have been able to roll back COVID-19 protocols and operate in a Post Pandemic “normal status.”

“I am honored to lead the City of Batavia Fire Department.  In my first few months of employment, I have been working to bring the department to full staffing, analyzing the condition of the fleet, and meeting with command staff and firefighters to listen to their ideas and concerns.” 

“The number one priority of the Department is life safety, followed closely by protecting property and the environment. The professionals that make up this department will continue to train and serve to the highest of standards”

“Below, please find the year-end summary for 2022 and thank you for your continued support of the City of Batavia Fire Department,” said Josh Graham, City of Batavia Fire Chief.

Total alarms for 2022, 2669

  • Fires, 59
  • Overpressure Rupture, Explosion, Overheating, 15
  • Emergency Medical Services, 1,940
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents, 51
  • Pedestrian Struck, 14
  • Extrication (vehicle, machinery, building), 2
  • Elevator Rescue, 4
  • Ice/Swift Water Rescue. 2
  • Hazardous Conditions, 80
  • Service Calls, 111
  • Good Intent Calls, 126
  • Fire / Carbon Monoxide Alarm Activations, 308
  • Severe Weather, 2
  • Special Incident Type, 11
  • Mutual Given, 23
  • Mutual Received, 15

Fire Prevention

  • Fire prevention programs, 31events, 104 adult / 2124 children Points of Contact  (Includes: station tours, fire drills, and school visits)
  • Fire Extinguisher Trainings, 19 events, 691 points of contact
  • Smoke Alarm / CO alarm installs, 29
  • Smoke alarm / CO alarm battery replacements, 21
  • Juvenile Fire Setter Interventions, 2
  • Car Seat installations/inspections, 158

Fire Inspection/Code Enforcement

  • Special Events Inspections, 80
  • Commercial Building Inspection, 334
  • Multi-family Dwelling Inspections, 38

General Information

  • Busiest Month, December (234)
  • Busiest Day, Tuesday (375)              
  • Busiest Time of Day, 1000 – 1059 hrs. (160)
  • Slowest Month, January (150)
  • Slowest Day, Sunday (280)
  • Slowest Time of Day, 0400 – 0459 hrs. (38)

City Response Time (Time of Dispatch to on-scene arrival)

  • 10 minutes or less, 99 percent
  • 8 minutes or less, 97 percent
  • 6 minutes or less, 90 percent
  • Two or more calls for service simultaneously, 519

Overall, the total call volume for the year was up by approximately 11.6 percent. 

“I accepted this position after being impressed with my research on the department as well as the City, and neither has let me down. The individuals that make up the City of Batavia Fire Department continue to be some of the most professional and competent people I’ve had the pleasure of serving with. In addition to this group, I’d like to say thank you to the other City of Batavia departments, leadership, Genesee County partners, dispatchers, City of Batavia business owners, residents and local media outlets for all of their support and dedication,” said Fire Chief Josh Graham.

Batavia PD and FD to battle it out on the ice this Sunday

By Press Release


Press release:

This Sunday, Jan. 8, at 6:30 p.m., the City of Batavia Police Department and Fire Department are squaring off for a hockey match-up. 

The two agencies have battled it out on the softball diamond in years past. 

The game will take place at the David M. McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena. 

The board of directors at the ice rink has gone above and beyond to make this event both successful and memorable.

Robbie Nichols (owner of the Batavia Muckdogs) brought this idea to both departments.  Nichols hosted similar events in Binghamton.  Marc Witt (employed by Nichols and the Muckdogs) has taken lead on organizing the game. 

The doors at the ice rink will open at 5:30 p.m.  Patrons will be welcomed by some high-energy music to set the tone for the evening.   The teams will take the ice for warm-ups around 5:50 p.m.

At around 6:30 p.m., the show starts.  Team introductions will have all patrons on their feet.  The National Anthem is being played by Miles Meyer on electric guitar.  Puck drop is scheduled for 6:35 p.m., directly after the ceremonial puck drop. 

The ice rink secured a one-day liquor license and will be stocked with your favorite food/beverages.  The night will include 50/50 drawings.  Staff is still trying to work out the logistics of the fan favorite “chuck a puck.”  The Batavia Rampart Mite Teams will keep fans entertained by playing during intermissions. 

All proceeds will benefit the David McCarthy Memorial foundation.    

Submitted photo.

It will be a merrier Christmas for local kids after toy donations collected at Ken Barrett

By Howard B. Owens


City Fire, WBTA, Ken Barrett Chevrolet and Cadillac, along with the Salvation Army, teamed up again for their annual toy drive to benefit families in Genesee County who may not have the financial means to meet all of their kids' Christmas dreams.

Photo: Ryan Whitcombe, Nathan Kinne, Nici Johnson, Ken Barrett, and Todd Rapp. Photo by Howard Owens

Torch gets passed on for firefighting family and new city chief

By Joanne Beck


Josh Graham’s career path began awhile ago as a kid going on ride-alongs with his firefighting grandpa.

And now, the torch has seemingly been passed on to Jaxon, Graham’s 11-year-old son. Jaxon has regularly accompanied his dad to the Arcade department to clean or roll the hose and other tasks. In other words, “he’s right there with us,” Graham said.

The father-son team intends to be a firefighting duo for some time to come no matter where they are.

“He’s got his Arcade Fire Department jacket. He gets a weekly allowance if he does his chores, and he likes us to put that on Amazon; he’s been ordering medical equipment to build his own EMT bag,” Graham said Tuesday at his office at Batavia City Fire headquarters. “I plan on seeing myself retire from here.”

Graham, a Corfu native now living in Arcade, has been in the fire business for more than 20 years, ever since he volunteered as a firefighter at age 16. He was hired by the city as fire chief, and has been learning his new role for about a month now.

Equipped as an assistant fire chief with Arcade, associate degrees in Strategic Operations Management and in Fire Science and a bachelor's degree in Fire and Emergency Management, Graham reached the rank of Senior Master Sergeant in the military, and  held the position of Deputy Fire Chief with his Reserve Flight.

The 37-year-old was only hesitant about one thing when taking his current administrative position.

“If there was a reservation about taking this position, it was probably that I love riding in that truck on calls. Where I came from, the fire chief and the deputy chief did not respond to calls, unless there was something catastrophic. This position is kind of unique in that I can go to whatever calls I want to go to,” he said. “So even though I'm not riding in the fire truck, I can still respond to the calls. I'm still assisting on the scene and things like that.”

That doesn’t mean he can skimp on administrative duties, and he has been working on paperwork, schedules, new and future hires, trainings, and — tis the season — the city’s annual budget.

City Manager Rachael Tabelski has been knee-deep in the budget process, she said, beginning to meet with department heads to find out what their needs are, and what can and cannot be included in the overall financial plan. For Graham, he is determining what equipment, materials, and other costs will be part of his roughly $4.4 million budget this next year.

“So we're at the very beginning of all that, but the city manager has been great," he said. "And anything that our initial talks, that she and I discussed, and something that we need is justified, she's been very understanding of that stuff. So, there's a balance … it's just finding that balance that allows us to continue to operate efficiently and serve the community while not going crazy.”

Renovations have been slated for the Evans Street station, including at the one bathroom available to the men and women personnel, he said. Work has just been put out for bid, so that’s likely a project that will go into next year.

So what is it about the role of firefighter — and chief — that has drawn him in so deeply?
“I've always wanted to be a firefighter since I was a kid. I just like the thought of helping people. And 9/11 had a lot to do with it as well,” he said. “I was a junior in high school when 9/11 happened … that made me want to serve my country, so I figured I would join the military as a firefighter.”

He, his wife Carrie and Jaxon live in Wyoming County and will continue to do so until Graham has passed his six-month probation period. After that, the family will move to the city, per residency requirements. The new chief is also a state fire instructor, which means teaching classes periodically in his home county.

While much has remained the same when responding to fires and accidents, two things have changed, he said: more lightweight structures that don’t hold up to flames and electric vehicles. EV batteries are "super hot" and can burn for hours. Although he hasn't encountered such a situation here yet, it's something to be aware of and trained for, he said. A typical vehicle fire may use up to 1,000 gallons of water, versus 20,000 to 30,000 for electric vehicle batteries, he said. 

When asked what moments hang with him from being on the job, he first thought about the survivors: to be there and calm them down and help them to get through the incident. He also remembers saving people who were in cardiac arrest — dramatic saves that don’t often happen when people are having heart attacks, he said.

Six new hires and a transfer from Jamestown have meant more training and initiation of personnel. But he doesn’t believe in fixing what isn’t broken, and the city fire department is in great shape, he said.

“When I came in, I saw that they were doing a fantastic job,” he said. “My goal is to maintain the same level of proficiency and level of care that’s been provided for quite some time.”

His induction has been more about meeting people, learning about what and who is at the station, and throughout the city, including Tabelski, the Public Works Department personnel and city police, he said.

To say he’s been busy is an understatement.

“I told someone I think I’ve eaten lunch three times since I started,” he said with an unreluctant smile. “It’s absolutely a lifestyle, for the last 20 years.”

The department is climbing its way back up to full platoons, with an expected total of 36 people in the next year. Retirements, transfers, and — yes, still — COVID issues have bogged down hiring practices for the last couple of years, he said. He's ready to lead.

"I always say I have a servant leadership style," Graham said. "My job is to make sure that everybody that works here has everything they need to do their job, and that would include their morale, it would include the equipment, training, anything that may come up as a hindrance to them being able to do their job and serve the community is something that I need to handle."

In his free time, Graham enjoys hunting deer and turkeys, and camping and riding ATVs with his family.

Photo: Newly appointed City of Batavia Fire Chief Josh Graham at the Evans Street station. Photo by Howard Owens.

John Kennedy student gets surprise ride to school on Ladder 15

By Alecia Kaus


A surprise ride to school on Ladder 15

Madelyn Alford, the second-place winner from John Kennedy School in Group 2 (2-3rd grade) of the City Fire, Fire Prevention Coloring Contest, had a big surprise today.

Alford received a ride to school on City Ladder 15 on Thursday morning.

First-place winner, Kylie Lutey of St. Joseph's School, who had won previously,  decided to defer her ride to the second-place winner.

Photo: Lt. Bob Tedford, Madelyn Alford, and Firefighter Brian Fix. Photo by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service.


Photos: First grader at Jackson wins coloring contest, gets ride in Engine 11

By Howard B. Owens


Joseph Schafer won City Fire's fire prevention coloring contest in the K-1 group and his grand prize was a ride in Engine 11 to Jackson School this morning.

His smile says it all but his mother said the ride this morning was a surprise. He had been sick so his parent held off telling him he won until he was well and could return to school. He was thrilled this morning, she said. "It's his favorite truck and his favorite people," she said.



St. Paul student rides to school in fire truck after winning coloring contest

By Howard B. Owens


Wednesday morning got off to a special start for Abigail Varland, a fourth-grade student at St. Paul Lutheran School.

She got a ride to school in City Fire's Engine 11.

Abigail was one of the city's winners in the department's fire prevention coloring contest.

Photo by Jennifer Dunn.

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