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July 8, 2018 - 3:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in stumblin' inn, elba, fire, news, notify.


An excavator is tearing down what remains of the Stumblin' Inn in Elba this afternoon while fire crews keep the smoldering wood wet and attack hot spots that flare up as they get air.

"The building was constructed in the late 19th century, balloon construction, and there was fire throughout the building," said Jim Bouton, deputy emergency management coordinator. "The only way to successful to get to the hot spots now is with heavy equipment to haul the building apart so they can get to these hot spots in the building, otherwise we’re going to leave here and there is a potential for this lighting back up and we don’t want that to occur."

Bouton explained that as the fire caused the roof to collapse, it created trapped hot spots that can't be reached without pulling the wood apart, and as that happens, air hits those pockets and feeds the fire.

Crews will keep working on the fire until there's no evidence of remaining hot spots.

Meanwhile, the Village of Elba remains closed to through traffic.

The cause of the fire is officially undetermined. Investigators suspect an electrical issue.

UPDATE 4:55 p.m.: In about a half hour, all equipment will be removed from the roadway, so it can be cleaned up, the chief says.






July 8, 2018 - 2:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in elba, news, notify, stumbling' inn, elba hotel, fire.


Over the decades, many local residents enjoyed their first beer at the Stumblin' Inn in the Village of Elba, and some also drank their last there, noted Chuck Hoover, who drank his first beer there when he turned 18 (the legal drinking age then).

Today, the bar, former hotel (built in 1875), live music venue, and community hub was destroyed by fire.

"At about 9 a.m. we were dispatched for fire on the outside of the building, a couple minutes later when we arrived there were flames coming from the north-northeast side, coming out of two bottom windows, and one window on top," said Elba Fire Chief Mike Heale, adding that they are investigating whether the blaze began inside or outside.

The fire quickly went to a second, third and possibly fourth alarm, Heale said.

Multiple power lines stretched in front of the building were a problem and the logistics of setting up the hydrants and tankers, and truck placements were difficult in the village setting, Heale said, but thanks, in part, to recently installed village fire hydrants, firefighters were able to put a lot of water on the fire quickly.

The balloon construction of the building allowed flames to quickly climb into the attic and then across the length of the structure, which is a total loss.

"We got a good jump on it," the chief said. "We were on point with our pre-plan. We caught a break with the (lack of) heat. ... We attempted to go in through the backside but we immediately pulled people out."

Building owner Steve Goff and his brother, Jim Goff, manager of the bar, both got out of the building safely before the first firefighters were on scene. Steve Goff acquired the building in 1979, when the bar became the Stumblin' Inn.

Rehab for firefighters was set up at the Elba Fire Station and there were enough responders from two counties so that firefighters were rotated through to keep them hydrated.

The fire was reported to be under control shortly before 1 p.m.

According to the 1985 History of Genesee County, published by the Holland Purchase Historical Society with assistance from the Genesee County Department of History, Elba's first hotel, the Pine Hill Hotel, opened in 1815 and was owned by Steve Harmon.

The hotel was destroyed by fire in September of 1874. A new hotel was built and was in operation by July 23, 1875. The Elba or Swartz Hotel (a reference to the Swartz family who took it over from W. B. Moreau in 1882 and operated it for more than 50 years) was passed down through the years and had several different owners before Goff bought it.

Other owners have included Charles and Frank Zambito, Tony and Alice Tartaglia, Tom and Marty Greer, Betty and Tom Hemmerick, and Peter C. Marowski.

"Hotels and taverns have also played an important role in the lives of Elbans since the early days when Wyllis Tavern provided, food, drink and lodging for travelers and a place for local people to meet for refreshments and to get the news," the history book notes.

"It's been here for a lifetime," said Doug Chappius, who along with his wife, Sandra, have owned and operated Chap's Elba Diner at 5 S. Main St., Elba, for the past seven years. "I can remember when I was a kid coming here. As soon as I turned drinking age, that's where I went. I'm from Albion. I remember riding snowmobiles, four-wheelers here.

"Everybody used to come here. It's a loss for party people."

Chappius said when the fire broke out, "a lady came into the restaurant and she said 'There's a fire over there. Can I get a bucket of water to put it out?' She didn't seem very excited but I told my dishwasher to bring a bucket of water over there.

"I guess there was a little fire on the floor -- inside right by the front door -- and by the time he got there, it blew the window out and he backed off and came back."

Chuck Hoover, a lifelong resident of Elba, says "It's a sad day in Elba" because the Stumblin' Inn holds a lot of memories; it was an Elba landmark.

"It was a place where people gathered to meet, they sponsored go-cart rides, held parties," Hoover said. "It was just a good place for people to gather and meet. Listen to some live music from time to time. We use to go there after the field day, after reunions. It was old-school."

He said the Stumblin' Inn has been a community gathering place for years and the Goffs hosted many community charity events.

Bob Given, who has lived in Elba for 55 years, said he remembers when the hotel was three stories and there was a dance floor on the third floor. There was a restaurant that served spaghetti and fish fries on Friday night.

"The older you get, the less you frequent those places," Given said. "I'm glad it went on a day like today -- not with the wind blowing or in 10-below weather."

The Stumblin' Inn was popular with local musicians and area residents who enjoy live music.

"The Stumblin Inn has been a staple in the local music community for so long, it's hard to imagine a world without it," said Paul Draper, a local musician and music promoter. "It's a place where a lot of us musicians cut our teeth and were able to grow and learn to be better entertainers.

"There are not too many places around that would give a new band with no name or following an opportunity to play. The Stumblin' provided that. This is truly a sad day for the local music community and we are already prepared to help Jim and 'Stork' in any way that we can."

Howard Owens contributed to the story. Photos by Howard Owens.



Jim Bouton, deputy emergency management coordinator, comforts Steve Goff, owner of the Stumblin' Inn. Goff is also pictured below talking with Deputy Austin Heberlein.








July 8, 2018 - 9:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, fire, news, notify.

A fully involved structure fire is reported at 1 S. Main St., Elba, the Stumblin' Inn.

Elba fire dispatched. 

Batavia's Fast Team, Oakfield, Alabama, also dispatched.

UPDATE(S) (By Billie) 9:49 a.m.: Byron Fire Department is asked to stand by in its fire hall. Fire police are coordinating to shut down roads in the vicinity to accommodate fire equipment. National Grid and National Fuel contacted to shut down utilities. The upstairs apartment is in flames.

UPDATE 9:55 a.m.: Barre Fire Department is called to provide mutual aid.

UPDATE 9:57 a.m.: More Elba Fire Police are called to the scene. Firefighters are going to hook up a ladder in the back to attack the fire. "Can you get the owners off that back deck?!" one firefighter yells to another.

UPDATE 10:02 a.m.: "Smoke is changing. Smoke is changing -- gettin' darker!" a fireman says.

UPDATE 10:06 a.m.: "Presbyterian Church people are startin' to show up. They can get to the church but they can't get much farther," says a fire policeman. More fire police from Barre, Byron, Oakfield are to be called to the scene.

UPDATE 10:09 a.m.: All interior firefighters are ordered out of the structure.

UPDATE 10:10 a.m.: Mercy medics #2 and #3 are called to the Stumblin' Inn.

UPDATE 10:17 a.m.: Utility reps are on scene. All power is turned off. National Fuel rep is on scene. National Grid has a 30-minute ETA. Power needs to be shut off still. Byron is asked to send an engine to stand by in Elba's hall.

UPDATE 10:27 a.m.: Two Barre Fire Police have arrived. One will be deployed at Church Street, the other at Bridge. Tankers called to provide mutual aid from Bethany, Stafford and Alexander.

UPDATE 10:36 a.m.: A tanker from East Pembroke is called to the scene.

UPDATE 10:52 a.m.: More fire police are called in from Stafford, East Pembroke and Alexander. They are going to post someone at Drake Street Road and Weatherwax Road, and then at Pekin Road and "back out to Townline." National Grid is arriving on scene.

UPDATE 10:57 a.m.: All occupants are believed to be safely out of the building.

UPDATE 11:03 a.m.: The Elba chief said the first started on the northeast corner of the first floor and flames were shooting out of three windows when they arrived. Now there is heavy black smoke showing but no flames. More fire police out of Orleans County are called in. "People are sneakin' by" laments the Elba Fire Police commander.

UPDATE 11:38 a.m.: All eastbound traffic will be closed at Route 262 per fire command. Law enforcement is requested to the fire command center.

UPDATE 12:07 p.m.: Power to the village is shut off.

UPDATE 12:56 p.m. (By Howard): The chief reported the fire under control about 10 minutes ago. Extensive overhaul underway. Power will be restored to the village shortly.

UPDATE 1:11 p.m.: Red Cross requested to the scene to assist one adult.

UPDATE 2:04 p.m.: Firefighters are packing up. An excavator is arriving on scene to finish demolition of the building.

UPDATE 5:45 p.m.: Roadways are being reopened.

UPDATE 6:30 p.m.: Elba assignment to 1 South Main St. is back in service.

July 2, 2018 - 5:59am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, byron, news.

A dump fire in Byron has rekindled at 5955 Transit Road. It was first reported Friday evening about 7:30. All manpower from Byron Fire Department and South Byron is called to the scene along with mutual aid and tankers from Elba, Clarendon and Barre.

"It was dead for two days. I have pictures," says a responder. "It's going good now," is the reply.

This is a "fill site at CY Farms," according to a dispatcher, who is asked to contact the Department of Environmental Conservation about the rekindle.

The farm has "an excavator on the way" to the blaze.

July 2, 2018 - 12:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia, news.

City fire is on scene of an attic fire at 19 S. Lyon St., Batavia.

The First Platoon was requested to standby at headquarters.

Mercy EMS requested non-emergency as a precaution.

National Grid is requested to the scene. 

UPDATE 12:24 a.m.: Extensive overhaul required. First Platoon requested to the scene.

UPDATE 12:29 a.m.: Fire under control. National Grid on scene.

UPDATE 12:33 a.m.: Code enforcement requested to the scene.

June 29, 2018 - 7:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, byron, news.

A fire is reported at a dump at 5955 Transit Road, Byron.

Byron fire, along with Byron's ambulance, South Byron, Elba, Bergen all dispatched.

The Ladies Auxilary is also dispatched.

June 16, 2018 - 1:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, batavia, news.

A person is burning garbage behind the residence at 40 Tracy Ave., Batavia. City fire and police dispatched.

UPDATE 1:31 p.m.: Fire is out; Engine 11 back in service.

June 15, 2018 - 12:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, notify, news, fire, Maple Street.


Press release:

On Friday, June 15, at or about 12:42 a.m., the Batavia Police Department and City of Batavia Fire Department responded to the report of an active house fire at 35 Maple St.

A female located on scene believed her children were still in the residence. Officers from the Batavia Police Department and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office attempted to make entry into the residence but were unsuccessful. City of Batavia Fire Fighters made entry and attempted to locate the children.

By approximately 12:56 a.m. all children from the residence were located safely and accounted for at a neighbor’s residence. The Genesee County Department of Social Services was contacted to aid with the children.

During the fire investigation it was learned that the fire stemmed from a domestic incident between the female that lived in the lower apartment and her boyfriend. The male, identified as Plush Dozier (DOB: 11/21/1995), had become upset with his girlfriend and an argument ensued.

Dozier set her and the apartment on fire. During the initial stages of the incident all of the children were able to leave the apartment. The female was transported to an area hospital, where she is listed in stable condition. We will not be releasing the female’s name or location for the safety of her and her family.

Dozier was located at the scene and taken into custody without incident. Dozier was arrested for two Class A felonies: arson in the first degree (PL 150.20-01), and attempted murder in the second degree (PL 125.25-01).

Dozier was arraigned in Batavia City Court and put in Genesee County Jail without bail. Dozier is scheduled to appear in Genesee County Court at a later date.

During the course of the active house fire, and subsequent investigation a City of Batavia police officer, and a City of Batavia firefighter were both injured. The officer and the firefighter were treated and released from UMMC with non-life-threatening injuries.


June 15, 2018 - 10:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, crime, news, notify, batavia.

An arrest has been made in connection with a fire reported at about 12:30 a.m. at 35 Maple St. that endangered the life of a woman sleeping in an apartment on the first floor, The Batavian has learned.

Batavia PD will put out a press release with more details shortly.

In the initial call for the fire, it was reported that two children were inside the residence while the frantic mother was outside when police arrived. The children were later located at a neighbor's house.

In all, four children lived in the apartment and all four were accounted for by 1 a.m.

The woman was transported to UMMC for a medical evaluation. There's no further word at this time on her condition.

The suspect was reportedly arraigned in City Court this morning and ordered held without bail.


June 15, 2018 - 12:49am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, batavia, news.


A working structure fire is reported on Maple Street in the City of Batavia. Two children are reportedly inside. It's gone to a second alarm. City fire is responding and Darien fire is called as mutual aid.

UPDATE 12:52 a.m.: The fire is at 35 Maple St. It's "knocked down." The children thought to be inside were actually at a neighbor's house and they are safe. Town of Batavia fire, Alexander's Fast Team, and Darien's rescue are also responding. 

UPDATE 1:27 a.m.: Overhaul in progress. Alexander is back in service. An adult resident was transported to UMMC for evaluation. There were four children who resided in the apartment. All four are accounted for and safe.

UPDATE 1:45 a.m. (By Howard): Officer Arick Perkins and Sgt. Eric Bolles where the first responders on scene. Bolles said Perkins tried to enter the residence but the smoke was too thick. Bolles said it was only about an inch off the floor at that point.  

Captain Robert Fix said when the first firefighters arrived on scene there was heavy black smoke and flames visible through the front window.

"The engine crew did a great job on getting in the front door and getting a good knockdown on the fire," Fix said. "They took care of it pretty quick. We had some fire on the outside we hit with a second line and were able to keep it in check."

There were some tense moments where the children were unaccounted for, with firefighters inside looking for them and officers from the City, County and State looking in windows with flashlights trying to see what they could see. Then a neighbor came out of her house with two of the children. Officers immediately converged on her front porch and confirmed all children were safe.

"Whenever you get the call that there are people trapped inside, especially kids, that elevates everything significantly," Fix said. 

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

June 12, 2018 - 1:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in DeWitt Recreation Area, fire, batavia.

A grass fire is reported at DeWitt Recreation Area on the north side of the pond.

Access would be behind WNY Concrete.

City fire responding.

UPDATE 1:04 p.m.: A dispatcher got WNY Concrete on the phone and confirmed it is behind their building but they don't know if the fire department can get to the location from behind their building.

UPDATE 1:06 p.m.: City crew on scene at WNY Concrete confirms there's no good access from that location.

UPDATE 1:07 p.m.: Best entrance, a crew member reports, probably behind Upson Maybach.

UPDATE 1:16 p.m.: There are several small fires. Firefighters are extinguishing with water cans now.

UPDATE (By Billie) 1:43 p.m.: They ended up using a tanker to put out the fire. The assignment is back in service. Parks personnel on at the scene.

June 12, 2018 - 2:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, bergen.


There were two fires reported on Monday at 46 South Lake Ave., Bergen.

The first one was caused by a microwave oven being placed on top of an electric range in an apartment and the range getting accidently turned on.

The cause of the second fire is under investigation but it's possible it was caused by the first fire.

In the case of the first fire, property owner Michael Marvin said he had a new tenant moving into the apartment in his duplex and somebody dropped items off for her earlier today. The new tenant wasn't home when the fire started but the smoke detectors went off and Marvin called 9-1-1 and Bergen Fire arrived on scene quickly and put the fire out.

The first fire was reported at 5:25 p.m. and Deputy Chief Chuck Dodson said when the fire department left the scene there was no indication that anything at all was still burning.

"We did extensive overhaul, the ceiling, the walls, the adjoining rooms, we used a thermal imaging camera, we used Class A foam, which is something that allows the water to penetrate into the wood, so when we left here, we were pretty confident the fire was out," Dodson said.

The second fire was called in by Marvin at 10:55 p.m.

Marvin said he had gone to bed a short time before and had fallen asleep. Something woke him up. It wasn't the smoke detectors. They weren't working after the first fire. He thinks it was the smell of the smoke.

"I was in my room," Marvin said. "I could barely see. I was glad I woke up or I would be dead. I couldn’t even see to get out the door."

Marvin said he got out of the house but then went back in to get his dog.

After rescuing his dog, he rescued the bright red 1966 Chevy Camero SS he's restoring, pushing it out of the garage.

At midnight, firefighters were trying to knock down the last of the hotspots in the structure.  The house was still standing but the damage to the entire probably means it is a total loss. Dodson said the goal at that point was to salvage as much of Marvin's personal belongings as possible.

Assisting Bergen at the scene were Le Roy fire, city fire, and Churchville, along with Mercy EMS, the Sheriff's Office, and Emergency Management Services.

The Red Cross was dispatched to assist Marvin.

Top photo submitted by John Zinter of Picture This Photography. The first four photos below by Howard Owens. The bottom two photos by Jim Oehler.







June 11, 2018 - 10:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, bergen.

A house fire is reported at 46 S. Lake Ave., Bergen.

It's the same location as a structure fire reported at about 5:25 p.m. today.

Bergen fire, Le Roy fire, and Churchville dispatched.

UPDATE 11:12 p.m.: City fire's Fast Team dispatched. Pavilion requested to fill in at Le Roy Fire Hall.

UPDATE 11:16 p.m.: All units told to evacuate the building.

June 11, 2018 - 5:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news, Le Roy, bergen.

A working structure fire is reported at 46 S. Lake Ave., Bergen.

Route 19 will be shut down. The fire is a one-story ranch with an apartment in the back. A caller to dispatch reported seeing black smoke coming from the rear of the building.

Le Roy fire is responding mutual aid.

UPDATE 5:31 p.m.: The city's Fast Team is called to the scene.

UPDATE 5:32 p.m.: The city's first platoon is recalled to headquarters.

UPDATE 5:33 p.m.: One engine out of Byron is called to fill in at Bergen Fire Station.

UPDATE 5:37 p.m.: The fire is "possibly knocked down," so all remaining units traveling to the scene -- like Chili and Churchville -- are told to back it down.

UPDATE 5:40 p.m.: They are working to shut power off; ventilating structure.

June 11, 2018 - 2:52am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news, Le Roy.

A house fire is reported at 4 Washington Ave. in the Village of Le Roy. The location is between Hilltop and Jefferson. Le Roy Fire Department is responding along with mutual aid from Bergen, Stafford, Pavilion, Caledonia, and the town and city of Batavia.

Command at the scene says they are going to ventilate the front of the structure and start using hand tools to take apart the porch.

UPDATE 2:53 a.m.: Command calls for lighting in the back of the structure.

UPDATE 2:58 a.m.: National Grid has been notified; no ETA.

UPDATE 3:25 a.m.: National Grid's response is canceled. City fire is returning to service.

UPDATE 3:27 a.m.: Bergen and Pavilion are returning to service. The fire is out.

May 16, 2018 - 2:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Oakfield, news.

Fire police are dispatched to Albion Road and Lockport Road and Albion Road and Bliss Road to block traffic while Oakfield fire handles a working car fire on Albion Road.

The car was fully involved with heavy black smoke when the first fire chief arrived on scene.

May 13, 2018 - 5:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, bergen, news, notify.


An apparent house fire is reported at 7354 N. Bergen Road, Bergen.

A retired city firefighter on scene says the fire appears to be in the basement. No flames showing but heavy black smoke.

Bergen fire dispatched along with Byron, South Byron, and Le Roy.

UPDATE 5:57 p.m.: The location is between West Sweden Road and Wood Road.

UPDATE 6:28 p.m.: The fire is under control. The family was away from the residence and took the family dog with them. A pet cat inside the residence died at the scene due to apparent smoke inhalation. Tanker is returning, in service.

UPDATE 7:48 p.m.: A Red Cross response is canceled. The family will stay with neighbors.

UPDATE 7:57 p.m.: Red Cross is continuing to the scene. They have other services to offer the homeowners.

UPDATE 8:12 p.m.: The actions of retired City Fire Captain Pat O'Donnell probably helped save this residence from complete destruction. He closed up windows and doors prior to firefighters arriving on the scene and was able to provide crews with the precise location of the fire once they arrived. "Closing up the house is very important," said Bergen Chief Chuck Dodson. "Out here where we have no water supply, we depend on tankers, we really need all the advantages we can get. Anytime we can get a fire closed up, limit the oxygen, limit the size of the fire, we’re going to be more successful."

UPDATE 8:21 p.m.: Bergen assignment back in service.





This is a form of interior ventilation I had not seen before. The flow of water pressure creates a kind of vacuum in the interior to help suck smoke out of the building.


The horses across the street were a little spooked by all of the activity.

May 13, 2018 - 10:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, Darien.

A garage fire is reported at 2468 Walker Road, Darien.

The garage is near a residence.

Darien fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 10:38 a.m.: Alexander fire and Corfu fire dispatched. Law enforcement on scene reports light smoke showing.

UPDATE 10:41 a.m.: There are three 20-gallon propane tanks on the second floor of the structure and three or four five-gallon gas tanks on the first floor.

UPDATE 10:44 a.m.: Alexander fire can continue non-emergency and Corfu can stand by in their fire hall.

UPDATE 11:03 a.m.: Fire is out. Now doing overhaul.

May 8, 2018 - 5:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, corfu, pembroke, news, notify.

A "very large fire, larger than we had before," according to the East Pembroke fire chief, is reported at Edward Arnold Scrap Processors Inc., 2216 Angling Road, Corfu.

East Pembroke fire along with Corfu, Indian Falls, and Town of Batavia are dispatched in a second alarm.

UPDATE(S)(By Billie) 5:54 p.m.: Oakfield Fire Police are requested to shut down traffic at Angling Road and West Avenue.

UPDATE 5:57 p.m.: A reader sent in this photo above of the huge plume of smoke that is visible from Galloway Road.

UPDATE 5:59 p.m.: Per command, all firefighters responding are told this fire is to be fought defensively.

UPDATE 6:09 p.m.: All available manpower from Town of Batavia Fire Department is requested to stand by in quarters.

UPDATE 6:12 p.m.: Tankers are requested to the scene from Elba, Alexander and Alabama.

UPDATE 6:18 p.m.: Mercy medic #1 is asked to stand by in East Pembroke Fire Hall.

UPDATE 6:28 p.m.: All available manpower, including EMS, from Corfu called to stand by in quarters.

UPDATE 6:48 p.m.: Although smoke spewing from the scene is roughly half what it was, firefighters are having some difficulty fighting the blaze. Storage trailers that are stationed along an access road are preventing firefighting apparatus from reaching the north corner of the site.

UPDATE 10:08 p.m.: East Pembroke is back in service.

UPDATE 10:21 p.m.: Fire photos:










Here's another reader-submitted photo, taken from Stannard Road, Alexander.


May 6, 2018 - 8:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, notify, Pavilion.


A fire is reported at 6875 Ellicott Street Road, Pavilion.

The fire reportedly started with an ATV in a shop. A house is 20 feet from the shop.

Ellicott Street Road is being closed.

Pavilion fire, Stafford fire, Bethany fire, Le Roy fire, and Alexander's Fast Team dispatched.

UPDATE 10:20 p.m.: The fire started with a four-wheeler in the shop and the first unit on scene reported a fully involved structure fire, according to Pavilion Chief Dewey Murrock. "It was pretty intense heat," Murrock said. "The first truck in, we watered down the house and then watering down the garage." (The siding of the house sustained heat damage.)

In addition to the ATV, two tractors and another piece of farm equipment were lost.  

UPDATE 10:35 p.m.: Route 63 is being reopened.








UPDATE: Photos submitted by Judy Johnson



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