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August 27, 2008 - 5:17pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in fire, emergency.

Breaking news... Firefighters are tackling a blaze at a home in Byron right now. Genesee County sheriff's deputies have confirmed that the residence is at 6999 Bank Street Road in the town of Byron. We will update with more information as it becomes available.

UPDATED (Thursday at 7 a.m. by Howard): WHAM reports:

A family that provides foster care for children escaped from a house fire Wednesday afternoon on Bank Road in Byron, Genesee County.

Firefighters said 10 children and 3 adults got out safely from the 100-year-old home.

August 26, 2008 - 12:53pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, fire, emergency.

You've likely already read our coverage of last night's City Council meeting, when we posted it last night, so we won't bother with a recap of Joanne Beck's articles about the meeting in today's Daily News. Instead, we'll jump right to the local section...

Reporter Paul Mrozek tells us that the fire Friday at Willow Specialties caused more than $100,000 in damage—but it could have been much worse. Willow CEO Jeff Daggs said: "Ninety percent of our product is not damaged. That's what we believe right now."

Matt Surtel put together a nice tribute piece about Jenny Snow, the news director at WCJW, Warsaw's AM radio station, who died unexpectedly at her home Saturday at the age of 53.

The Genesee County Legislature will meet Wednesday in a special session to vote on the proposed consolidation of dispatch services that was approved last night by Batavia's City Council. City police dispatchers will make the move to the sheriff's office on Park Road complete by Monday. That meeting will be at 7:00pm at the Old County Courthouse.

Roger Muehlig was in Le Roy Monday when Republican Congressional candidate Christopher Lee stopped by Stein Farms to chat with area farmers about labor issues. Muehlig writes: "Lee, a political newcomer, said he didn't have all the answers, but one of the reasons he was successful in business was that he listens to everyone." That's well and good. But there are already plenty of politicians in Albany who are good at listening. Anyone can listen. We don't need more people to listen. We need people to act.

For these and other stories, pick up a copy of the Daily News at local newsstands. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

August 25, 2008 - 7:42am
posted by Philip Anselmo in wbta, city council, fire.

Batavia's City Council will meet tonight at 7:00pm at City Hall, according to WBTA. The meeting, originally scheduled for August 11, was postponed twice. Council is expected to vote on whether to fund the replacement of a sign for the mall. Also meeting tonight at 7:00pm is the Board of Education. They will assemble at the administration building on Washington Avenue.

No cause has yet been determined in the fire at Willow Industries at 34 Clinton Street that erupted Friday night. The fire was brought under control shortly after midnight. Damage was confined to the warehouse, and some of the materials inside are reported destroyed by fire. Steve Ognibene was driving by that evening when he spotted the fire trucks. He put together this video footage of the scene, which was sent to the Batavian over the weekend:

July 23, 2008 - 4:02pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in fire, weather.

Reports have come in about some wires down on Junction Road between South Lake and Perry roads in the Pavilion district. Fire crews are on the scene. But if you've got to head that way, you may want to think detour.

July 14, 2008 - 8:54am
posted by Philip Anselmo in wbta, senator Schumer, fire, Cristina's.

Check out WBTA for these and other stories:

  • The cause of a fire at Cristina's Restaurant early Saturday morning is still being investigated. The kitchen and restaurant portions of the building suffered a total loss, and the banquet rooms sustained smoke and water damage. Business owner Charles Brumstead is asking anyone who has upcoming reservations at Cristina's to call (585) 343-1029.
  • Temperatures will again climb towards 90 degrees during the second half of this week, and high humidity won't make it any more tolerable. Yay.
  • Sen. Charles Schumer says that families will pay an average of $720 more to heat their homes this winter. In the meantime, he's putting together a proposal that would provide federal aid to help families cover the cost of the increase. We should check out his Web site from time to time to see where it goes.
July 12, 2008 - 9:36am
posted by Philip Anselmo in fire, Cristina's.

These photos were sent to us this morning of the fire at Cristina's Restaurant on Ellicott Street. Batavia firefighters say that the blaze broke out around 1:00am this morning when the building was vacant. There were no injuries, and the fire is reported as under control.

Photos taken by Steve Ognibene.

June 13, 2008 - 1:39pm

From the Daily News (Friday):

  • Intern Kristen Kotz sat down with Batavia Fire Capt. Michael Drew to talk fire safety. Check out the article on the front page for some tips.
  • Genesee County's Planning Board voted to turn the soon-to-be empty lot at the corner of Bank Street and Washington Avenue into a "green area" — United Memorial Medical Center's Growney Building currently located there will be demolished. Reporter Paul Mrozek writes: "UMMC wants to plant grass and shrubs, put in paths and picnic benches and add off-street parking." No date has yet been set for the demolition, and the city of Batavia still has to grant final approval for the plan.
  • Reporter Virginia Kropf wrote a great piece on a group of retired friends who gather twice a week for breakfast at Miss Batavia Diner. It starts: "Retirement for a group of local friends means starting the day off with coffee and camraderie, and if they should happen to solve the world's problems in the meantime, so much the better." What a great lede!

For the complete stories, the Daily News is available on local newsstands, or you can subscribe on BataviaNews.com.

June 4, 2008 - 8:49am
posted by Philip Anselmo in fire, DEC, environment.

Batavia will host a public hearing later this summer on the state's proposed changes to the open burning law. The Daily Mail in Greene County reported that the town of Athens is right now taking a closer look at those changes and urging residents to get involved.

"There are a lot of small communities in the state, particularly here in upstate New York, where burn barrels are used on a regular basis," said a Council member in Athens.

Open fires are currently banned only in cities, villages and towns with populations greater than 20,000.

Changes being considered by the state Department of Environmental Conservation would "limit agricultural burning to naturally grown products such as vines, branches, leaves and stubble." Exception will be made for "fire training, small cooking, campfires and ceremonial fires."

The hearing in Batavia will be held Juy 2. No other information was given about the session, its location or time.

DEC invites all persons, organizations, corporations and government agencies that may be affected by the proposed revisions to attend the hearings. In addition, written statements may be submitted to DEC until 5 p.m., July 10.

For more information on the proposals, information may be obtained from Robert Stanton, professional engineer, DEC’s Division of Air Resources, at the Albany’s Broadway address or by calling (518) 402-8403.

Is open burning an issue in and around Batavia? It's clear that agriculture has a major presence here. Would any farmers be directly affected by these changes? What is being burned now that would not be permitted if the changes go through?

June 3, 2008 - 8:42am
posted by Philip Anselmo in fire, lewiston fire.

The Genesee County Sheriff's Office released an official statement last night citing a smoldering cigarette as the "probable" cause of the house fire at Lewiston Road Friday that claimed the life of 17-year-old Erik Mooney. WBTA reports that Mooney's mother, July Clark,  "told investigators she had been smoking in the enclosed porch where the fire was believed to have started."

Previous related posts:


June 2, 2008 - 2:58pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, books, Gas, fire, circus.

From the Daily News (Monday):

  • A memorial service has been scheduled Friday at 4:00pm at the Oakfield-Alabama High School for 17-year-old Erik Mooney who perished in a fire Friday at his Lewiston Road home. The Rev. Mark Perkins of Oakfield-Alabama Baptist Church will officiate. Erik's obituary is in today's paper.
  • Reporter Paul Mrozek went from the pumps to the car dealerships to find out how some folks are coping with the escalating price of gas. No surprise, he found that quite a few commuters were trading in their big-rig trucks, trying to go from gas guzzler to fuel sipper. The Batavian sought your stories about how to handle the pinch at the pumps last week — and a few folks already started the dialogue. Now it's your turn. Log in and tell us how it has hit you and how you're planning to cope. And if anyone has any great ideas for a way out of the mess-turning-disaster, please, share.
  • Everybody loves a circus! Well, one will be in town on June 10, when the Batavia Kiwanis and Genesee County Agricultural Society welcome the Carson & Barnes Circus to town. Get your seat in the big top between 4:30 and 7:30pm for the show at the Genesee County Fairgrounds. People are invited to watch the big top go up for free starting at 8:00am. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Holland Land Office Museum, First Niagara Bank, the YWCA and the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.
  • Once you've had your fill of acrobats and elephants, head out to the airport between July 2 and 6 for the Batavia Boogie, a skydiving extravaganza hosted by the Frontier Skydivers. For more information, visit Frontier's Web site — if for no other reason than to check out the great photos.
  • Intern Kristen Kotz wrote a fine piece about Batavian Joseph Langen's new book, The Pastor's Inferno, a "fictional account of a priest ... who seeks redemption after abusing a young, male parishioner at his parish." You can purchase the novel or download an ebook version at Book Locker.

Subscribe to the Daily News at BataviaNews.com, or pick up a copy at a local newsstand, such as Main Street Coffee.

May 30, 2008 - 5:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, erik mooney, lewiston fire.

There are no new developments this afternoon in the Lewiston Road fire that claimed the life of 17-year-old Erik Mooney (previous post).

Attempts to contact fire officials this afternoon were unsuccesful.

We also tried contacting somebody with the area Red Cross to see what arrangements were being made to assist the family, but were unsuccessful.

Below are yearbook photos of Michael, 15, and Erik (right).

Michael and Erik Mooney

UPDATE: Video story from WHAM.

UPDATE II:  Here's News 8 coverage.  Watch the video to about 3/4 of the way in and notice how the reporter and producer insinuate that there is something suspicious about Erik not getting out of the house. Classic Mainstream Media technique to remain "objective" while pumping up the story with some controversy.  It's not just a TV thing.  Print does it, too. (Also, warning -- obnoxious pre-roll advertising on the video).

WKBW in Buffalo also posted a video report.

WIVB out of Buffalo has two video reports posted.  Good, detailed, balanced and sensative stories.

May 30, 2008 - 2:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sheriff, fire, lewiston.

In today's Daily News:

  • The lead story is about the tragic death of Erik Mooney, 17, in an early morning fire on Lewiston Road.  Exceptional lede from Scott DeSmit: "Despite smoke detectors, a barking dog and the screams of his mouth, a 17-year-old boy was unable to make it out of his burning house on Lewiston Road early this morning."  The Batavian posted about the fire at 7 a.m. this morning.  The Daily News story ads no new information.
  • In budgeting utility prices for the new Sheriff's Office, the Building and Grounds department did not factor in continuous use of the communications center.  .... What??? .... That nugget is buried in the sixth graph of a story by Paul Mrozek about utility costs being $71,000 over budget.  That's a pretty significant, "oops."
  • Joanne Beck writes about this year's Dancing Under the Stars fundraiser for United Way, which is June 7 at Genesee Community College's Stuart Steiner Theater, 1 College Road.
  • Nice picture page today on page A-10.

Subscribe to the Daily News at BataviaNews.com, or pick up a copy at a local newsstand, such as Main Street Coffee.

May 30, 2008 - 7:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire.

News 10 reports this morning that a 2 a.m. fire at 7881 Lewiston Road took the life of a 17-year-old boy.

Firefighters found him at the top of a staircase. He was taken to United Memorial Medical Center where he was prounounced dead at 3:30 a.m.

His brother managed to escape the fire by jumping from a bathroom window, but injured his arm in the fall.

The mother of the two boys escaped without injury.

The chief said the fire started on a porch and spread to the house. There were heavy flames when they arrived on scene.

The WHEC web story includes video.

We imagine WBTA will update its news page soon and will likely have the names of the victims this morning along with the latest additional information.

UPDATE: The names of the victims have not been released yet, WBTA reports.

UPDATE II: WBTA reports:

The Genesee County Sheriff's office has identified the boy as Erik Mooney of 7881 Lewiston Rd.

Erik, his mother, 41-year-old Judy Clark and 15-year-old brother Michael were all at home when the fire started. Judy suffered smoke inhalation. Michael cut his arm jumping from a bathroom window. Both were treated at UMMC in Batavia.

UPDATE III:  The D&C reports:

Another resident, Scott Clark, 47, was not home when the fire broke out, deputies said. He was at work.

The brothers are both students at Oakfield-Alabama Central School District. District Superintendent Christopher Todd this morning said the mood in the 1,000-student distinct was somber and that many of the students were “having a tough day.”

“It’s awful, but we’ll band together,” he said. Grief counselors are available at Oakfield-Alabama Middle/High School today to assist students, faculty and staff, Todd said.


Judy Clark told firefighters that a sounding smoke detector and barking family dog alerted her of the blaze.

Genesee County Fire Coordinator and Manager Tim Yaeger said authorities are trying to confirm a report that Judy Clark attempted to extinguish the blaze with a garden hose this morning. He said authorities did not know whether that occurred before or after she called 911.

UPDATE IV: WHAM coverage can be seen here

May 29, 2008 - 3:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, pembroke.

UPDATE: Here's the video.  Original post below.  We have no additional information at this time.

Fire dispatchers received a call of a house fire at 8700 S. Lake Road in Corfu area at about 2 p.m.

Apparently, nobody was home and there were no reported injuries. 

A family of five rents the two-story structure.  Reportedly, their cats were in the house and may have perished.

The fire appears to have started in the kitchen area, which sustained the most damage, and spread to the living room and up the stairs.

The Red Cross has been notified.

A cause has not been determined.

Units from Pembroke, East Pembroke, Corfu, Akron, Batavia and others responded.

We expect to post a video within a couple of hours (assuming no technical difficulties).

A reporter from WBTA was also on scene, so tune into 1490 for further reports.

May 23, 2008 - 10:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, byron, reis family.

BataviaFuneralHomes.com contains the following message to the media:

To the Media:

The Byron-Bergen community has again experienced a great tragedy. Our community grieves over the loss of the Reis Family. On behalf of the surviving Reis family, I would like to present you with a few requests.

The memorial service is to be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Byron-Bergen High School in the Gymnasium. The family has asked that no video cameras or flash photography be used inside the building before, durring or after the service.

For your advance information, there will be no casketed remains present at the service.

They've also posted the following obituaries:


May 22, 2008 - 3:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, byron.

GenFireWire.com has a collection of 30 photos from Monday's apartment fire in Byron that claimed four lives.

The photos show both the devestation of the apartment building as well as the efforts of area firefighters to battle the blaze.

May 22, 2008 - 8:59am
posted by Philip Anselmo in safety, wbta, fire, food.

Check out WBTA for these and other stories:

• No working smoke detectors were found in the apartment complex in Byron that burned down Monday, according to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office. A family four died in the fire that looks to have started in their kitchen, possible near the stove.

• Smoked "Kuta Fish" and "Boney Fish" purchased from the African Caribbean Market on North Clinton may be tainted with botulism, according to the Department of Agriculture and Markets. No problems have yet been reported, but the fish should be thrown out.

• Local law enforcement will be holding a child safety seat inspection between 10:00am and 2:00pm — WBTA reports the date of the event as "next Saturday," which we assume to mean two days from now.

May 20, 2008 - 8:25am
posted by Philip Anselmo in wbta, police, fire, byron.

Check out WBTA for these and other stories:

• Investigation into the fire that killed four at a Byron apartment complex Monday continues today. Fifty-one-year-old Sherri Reis is confirmed dead, along with her three children: Timothy Reis, 17; Emily Reis, 19; and Virginia Reis, 21.

• Polls are open at Batavia city schools from noon to 9:00pm today for the school budget and school board votes.

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