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April 27, 2019 - 4:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, corfu.

A car fire is reported near the railroad tracks on Snipery Road, Corfu.

An initial report said a train was coming and there was a request to contact the train company.

The car is fully involved.

Law enforcement requested to the scene.

An ambulance requested to the scene. A person may have some burns.

UPDATE 5:06 p.m.: According to a trooper and a firefighter at the scene, a woman set her own Jeep on fire about 35 yards from the railroad tracks. A train passed by but there was no hazard posed to it since the burning vehicle was far enough away. The woman had soot on her and may have inhaled smoke; it is unknown if she suffered burns. She was taken to an area hospital for evaluation and treatment.

April 19, 2019 - 10:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, batavia.

A caller reports seeing and hearing a transformer explode in the area of Maple Street and Ganson Avenue, Batavia.

City fire responding.

April 18, 2019 - 3:04pm

Press release:

As the opioid epidemic continues to distress our community, local agencies are coming together to offer more services to those in need.

“Last fall, 24 counties in New York State, including Genesee, that are deemed ‘opioid burdened’ received funds from the CDC and New York State Department of Health to take local action to address the epidemic,” said Paul Pettit, Public Health director for Genesee and Orleans counties.

“After looking at our current services and speaking with local partners we wanted to launch an innovative program we learned about a few months earlier during a GOW Opioid Task Force meeting where Police Chief Volkman from Chatham spoke about the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative, more easily known as PAARI (pronounced PARR-REE).

"Using the funding to bring the successful approach of this program from Chatham into Genesee, will allow those who want to get into substance use treatment a 24/7 opportunity by going to one of the partnering first-responder agencies for help.”

The PAARI program will launch locally on Tuesday, April 23rd.

It will allow anyone who wants help with their addiction to walk into any police station or the city fire station and get the help they need. The program is supported by City of Batavia Police, City of Batavia Fire Department, Le Roy Police, and Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.

“The funds will help pay for overtime that will likely be incurred by staff of Public Safety agencies, as well as help pay for peer recovery coaches from Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA) that will be contacted once a person seeking treatment walks through the door," Pettitt said.

"GCASA is an equally important partner in this, as they have hired the peer recovery coaches, who have been trained in providing services in the community early after receiving these funds.

"The peers will work with each individual and identify where they can go for the proper services,regardless of if it’s local or not, and make sure they get there. Ultimately, being a support in that moment and in the future, too. This program highlights the commitment and collaboration of our community partners to help address this crisis.”

GC Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr. agrees with Pettit regarding the collaboration of our first responders and the commitment to help address the opioid epidemic.

“This is a good collaboration between police, fire and the public," Sheron said. "I fully support the program and hope it will help people get the treatment services they need.”

For more information or for immediate help, please call GCASA’s peer services hotline at 585-815-1800.

April 18, 2019 - 4:40am
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy, fire, news.

A possible fire is reported at 18 Genesee St., Apt. 5 E, in the Le Roy Meadows Apartments. Smoke is reported in the building. Le Roy fire and ambulance are responding along with the city ladder unit.

Caledonia Fire Department is on standby. Everyone is out of the structure, but firefighters on scene are unable to make entry and request a second alarm.

Bergen and Pavilion are called along with a fast team out of Mumford. Stafford to fill in at Le Roy station.

UPDATE 4:43 a.m.: The second alarm is canceled. Fire is extinguished, per command. Ventilating structure.

April 17, 2019 - 4:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news, elba.

A structure fire is reported at 4325 Ridge Road in Elba. The initial call was for the smell of something burning inside the residence. The location is between Fisher and Quaker Hill roads. Elba Fire Department is responding along with Mercy medics. A person at the scene is said to have trouble breathing.

April 17, 2019 - 12:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, batavia, news.

A large amount of debris is reportedly burning on the lawn at 3816 Pearl Street Road, Batavia. The fire was called in by a neighbor. Town of Batavia Fire Department is responding.

The location is between Treadeasy Avenue and Donahue Road.

A statewide burn ban has been in effect since March 16 and it ends May 14.

April 13, 2019 - 3:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, fire, byron.

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An outbuilding, with a car nearby, is reported on fire at 6478 Freeman Road, Byron.

Byron fire, South Byron fire, and Stafford fire dispatched.

The vehicle has caught fire. 

UPDATE 3:22 p.m.: A second alarm is requested. Mercy EMS for firefighter support also requested.

April 10, 2019 - 8:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, batavia.

Bonfires are reported in the backyards of homes on Wood Street and Manhattan Avenue, City of Batavia.

City fire and Batavia PD have been dispatched to both locations.

UPDATE 8:51 p.m.: At the Wood Street location, the occupants are smoking brisket. The City fire assignment to that location is back in service.

UPDATE 8:54 p.m.: A scene commander tells dispatch there's no need for law enforcement at the Manhattan Avenue location.

April 7, 2019 - 2:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in bergen, news, fire.

A resident is reportedly burning leaves and the fire is blowing toward a field, according to a caller.

Bergen fire was dispatched to a "burn-ban violation." 

Open burning is prohibited in New York until May 14.

UPDATE 2:04 p.m.: A Bergen chief reports no fire. Bergen assignment back in service.

April 7, 2019 - 12:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, batavia.

City fire and law enforcement has been dispatched to Oak Street and Allen Street for a report of somebody burning leaves.

UPDATE 12:51 p.m.: Engine 11 responding non-emergency.

UPDATE 1:02 p.m.: Fire is out. Engine 11 back in service. The homeowner was advised.

April 6, 2019 - 3:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, bergen, news.

A one-acre brush fire is reported in the area of 7958 Townline Road, Bergen. Bergen Fire Department is responding along with a brush truck from Byron.

April 5, 2019 - 12:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news, batavia.

A possible furnace problem is causing a house to fill with smoke at 5238 E. Main Street Road, Batavia. The location is at the eastern corner of the intersection with Broadlawn Avenue. Town of Batavia Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 12:44 p.m.: The fire department is on scene and reports nothing showing; investigating.

UPDATE 12:46 p.m.: Command reports other units can continue in non-emergency mode. The furnace was recently filled with fuel. No fire; ventilating structure now.

April 4, 2019 - 3:47pm
posted by Billie Owens in corfu, fire, news.

A field fire is reported at 1712 Genesee St. in Corfu. Corfu Fire Department is responding and a tanker and UTV from East Pembroke are to respond as mutual aid.

The fire is said to be 1,000 feet from a building and moving toward it.

The resident was using a burn barrel when the field fire broke out. Law enforcement is also responding.

The countywide burn ban remains in effect

UPDATE 3:55 p.m.: Corfu command reports the fire is under control.

UPDATE 3:59 p.m.: East Pembroke is back in service.

April 1, 2019 - 4:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, notify, batavia.

After a meticulous investigation inside the burned-out home at 109 Evans St., Batavia, fire investigators have determined the fire that claimed the life of John Sherman, Sr., 41, has been ruled accidental.

In a press release, City Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano said investigators concluded the fire started on a stove top in the kitchen.

Joining city fire investigators in the investigation was a Batavia PD detective and two investigators from the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control.

There were eight people in the residence Saturday morning when the fire broke out and spread quickly. Smoke detectors and closed doors helped save the lives of several occupants, Napolitano said, but Sherman was unable to escape from a room on the second floor.

After Sherman was rescued by firefighters, medics initiated CPR and he was transported by Mercy EMS to UMMC, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Sherman was born Aug. 8, 1977, to Jan Beach of Batavia. He was a graduate of Alfred State and Empire State College and worked at Pizza Hut in Batavia and was recognized locally for his culinary and sculpting skills. He was a member of City Church and volunteered at the Animal Shelter. For his full obituary, click here.

Multiple pets were rescued or managed to escape the fire but one dog did die inside the residence.

In City Fire's release, Napolitano reminded residents of the importance of working smoke detectors and sleeping with bedroom doors closed.

Saturday, Napolitano said, "A room that has a door closed is a safe haven," Napolitano said. "They were alerted by a smoke detector and they were able to safely exit the house. That is why it's so critical when you have young children or yourself in a home, you need to sleep with the door closed. It stops the fire from entering. It gives you a shelter so you can shelter in place, a safe haven, or whatever you want to call it. But it gives you an opportunity to escape."

March 31, 2019 - 1:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia, news.

City fire is on scene of 109 Evans St., Batavia, the location of a fatal fire Saturday morning, after smoke was spotted coming from the building.

A commander on scene reports that there is some smoke coming from the second-floor eave.

The fourth platoon is requested to the Fire Hall.

Engine 11 and Ladder 15 are on scene.

March 30, 2019 - 4:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire, Evans Street, news, notify.

109evansfire200b.jpgA deadly fire at 109 Evans St., Batavia, this morning, claimed the life of 41-year-old John Sherman Sr., said City Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano this afternoon while supervising the investigation into the cause and origin of the fire.

He said it's too soon yet to even speculate on how the fire started.

There were at least six or seven other people in the residence when the fire started, Napolitano said, and some of them owe their lives to smoke detectors and the fact that they were sleeping with the doors of their bedrooms closed.

"A room that has a door closed is a safe haven," Napolitano said. "They were alerted by a smoke detector and they were able to safely exit the house. That is why it's so critical when you have young children or yourself in a home. You need to sleep with the door closed. It stops the fire from entering. It gives you a shelter so you can shelter in place, a safe haven, or whatever you want to call it. But it gives you an opportunity to escape."

Sherman was the owner of the 1,528-square-foot house, which was built in 1890 and has an accessed value of $69,000.

Evans Street remains closed during the ongoing investigation but Napolitano said the investigation is nearing completion. 

Joining city fire investigators in the house is a Batavia PD detective and two investigators from the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control.

It's city fire policy to call in state investigators when there is a fatal fire.

Napolitano described the investigation process as meticulous.

"They're methodically going through layer by layer, removing debris, removing furniture, trying to put a puzzle together, if you will," Napolitano said. "You know when you open up that box with all the puzzle pieces and you have to find the outside edge first, and then you build. That's what they're doing. They're building a puzzle."

It's a bit like reverse engineering the fire, he said.

"We're trying to figure out, OK, from the patterns and the indicators that were left, how and where that fire started, and how it traveled, where it migrated to, what could be a cause, what could be the origin."

The chief said the results of the investigation will be released as soon as some conclusions are reached about the findings.

Previously:

March 30, 2019 - 10:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, batavia, notify.

One person died in a house fire this morning at 109 Evans St., Batavia.

The fire was reported at about 7:15 a.m.

When firefighters arrived on scene, they found heavy smoke and flames at the rear of the house from the ground floor to the roof line.

Capt. Bob Fix described the situation as "untenable" and it wasn't possible for firefighters to enter the house until the fire was knocked back.

"We were dispatched to report of a building on fire just down the street from the fire station," Fix said. "As we pulled out of the station we could see heavy smoke in the sky so we knew we had a fire."

There were at least seven people in the residence at the time the fire was reported, including four adults who lived in the house. Residents told firefighters that one person was still in the house and provided firefighters with the person's location in the residence.

"We found heavy smoke and flames coming from the back side of the building as well as several people telling us the there was a victim inside a window," Fix said. "We attempted to make entry. Conditions were untenable at the time. We got some water on the fire there and tried to make entry again a short time later."

Once firefighters were able to make entry, they located the victim on the second floor and carried him out a window and down a ladder. He was placed on a stretcher and Mercy EMS personnel immediately began performing CPR.

While CPR was in progress, he was transferred to a nearby ambulance and transported to UMMC where he was later pronounced dead.

The victim's name has not yet been released.

"As it happened, the call came in right shift change and we had quite a bit more people available than we normally would have," Fix said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and Chief Stefano Napolitano said it's too early in the investigation to even speculate about the cause. The origin appears to be on the first floor.

State Fire, as is standard operating procedure, assist City Fire with the fire investigation.

The house is uninhabitable and The Salvation Army was contacted to assist the four adults who lived at 109 Evans.

Three pets, two dogs and a cat, were rescued from the fire.

Assisting City of Batavia was Town of Batavia fire, Alexander fire, and Darien fire.

Also assisting at the scene was Batavia PD.

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March 30, 2019 - 7:18am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, batavia, news, notify.

Heavy smoke and fire are reportedly coming from a residence at 109 Evans St. in the city. City Engine #11 is on scene, reporting a working structure fire at a two and a half story building. Smoke and flames showing. One person is still said to be inside.

All city platoons are called to respond. Mercy medics are on scene. Alexander's Fast Team is called for mutual aid; Town of Batavia is to report to its quarters; and Darien's rescue unit is called to the scene.

UPDATE 7:20 a.m.: An engine from Town of Batavia fire is called to the scene; one other from the town is to report to its headquarters for standby. Firefighters are working to extricate a person from the house on Evans Street.

UPDATE 7:28 a.m.: "Fire's been knocked down; looking for any hidden fire," fire command resports, and the person inside has been extricated and is being seen by medics. Utilities have been notified.

UPDATE 7:31 a.m.: "Looking for hot spots in the ceiling -- C side," reports command, "no fire below you (on the first floor)." A crew is called to the second floor to pull open the ceiling to check for extensions.

UPDATE 7:36 a.m.: Working to ventilate the structure now.

UPDATE 7:41 a.m.: Stairs to the second floor are bad. Firefighters are to enter and exit from the C side ladder. Water and electricity have been secured -- cut -- to the building.

UPDATE 7:45 a.m.: "We're hitting some fire from the Bravo-Charlie (C-D) corner." The male resident, who was pulled from the second floor, which was fully charged with smoke, is being transported to UMMC in emergency mode.

UPDATER 8:32 a.m. (by Howard): Alexander and Town of Batavia going back in service. Salvation Army requested to the scene to assist four adults. Code enforcement also requested to the scene.

March 29, 2019 - 4:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, notify, Darien, fire.

Darien beekeeper and mead maker Michael Potoczak is managing to keep his chin up along with his spirits after a swift-moving fire early Sunday morning destroyed his businesses at 541 Bell Road.

Around 6 a.m. on March 24, callers half a mile away on Sumner Road called 9-1-1 to report the blaze. The Darien Volunteer Fire Department arrived on scene quickly, but the buildings which contained the beekeeping and winemaking equipment were already "on the ground."

A Sheriff's deputy pounded on the door of the nearby house to alert the residents, prompting the family's two dogs to bark, waking up Potoczak and his two sons -- who all got out safely, including the dogs. A beloved 14-year-old calico cat named Lily perished in the fire.

"I tried to save my diesel truck," said the 77-year-old, who is an associate professor emeritus of Math and Physics at the University of Buffalo. "But it was so hot I couldn't even get near it to open the door."

The cause of the fire is unknown.

"I've really stood strong. I just deal with it. But it does get emotional," Potoczak said, noting that he lost all the equipment that he had accumulated during 45 years of beekeeping and making wine from honey on his 150-acre property.

He's not sure what the future holds for the businesses -- Potoczak Bee Farms and Midgard Winery -- but he will have a better idea of whether starting completely over is possible once the insurance claims are settled in the coming weeks.

Turns out the metal buildings, 40' by 60', were insured but nothing inside them was covered.

"They really did a number on me," he said. "The insurance agent came out and I took him through and showed him everything. He said I'd have the same coverage; it's not even close. He put in zero where it said the value of the contents and I didn't notice that. You have to have someone who knows insurance read the document to know what it says."

By Potoczak's estimation, his loss is worth $400,000 or more. He figures the buildings' value at $250,000 (insurance says $130,000), plus he lost the heating furnace, a new skidster worth $33,000 and the $20,000 diesel truck; $75,000 in winemaking equipment including four stainless steel fermenting tanks worth $4,000 each, filters, and $85,000 in beekeeping equipment.

How much he can recoup will influence his decision whether to continue the businesses, which are intended as a way for his children to make a living.

His customers, he says, "have been phenomenal" and are encouraging him to start anew.

His beehives are all outside and located at different 20 sites for his WNY customers. The mead, which he has sold for about five years, can be found in 50 WNY liquor stores, including locations in Genesee County (Mr. Wine & Liquor), Wyoming County (Warsaw, Attica), Orleans County (Medina), and Erie and Chautauqua counties. The fermented honey wine is about 12 percent alcohol by volume, on a par with, say, cabernet sauvignon.

Regardless of what the future holds, Potoczak's daughter, Elizabeth Knaus, said she is grateful to everyone who came to her family's rescue.

"I would like to send out a big thank you to the emergency personnel who responded so quickly," Knaus wrote in an email. "Also to the our neighbors who could see and hear the fire and called it in. If it wasn't for them, I probably would not have my dad or my brothers today. Thank you!"

Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Knaus.

For initial report, click here.

March 28, 2019 - 11:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Stafford, news.

Stafford Fire Department is dispatched to the area of 6305 East Bethany-Le Roy Road, Stafford, for a report of a grass fire.

UPDATE 11:30 a.m.: A tanker from South Byron requested to the scene.

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