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Monday, June 30, 2014 at 4:05 pm

City fire hires experienced firefighter from Lockport

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire

An experienced firefighter joined the City Fire Department today. Zach Gowanloch spent two-and-half years with Lockport before falling victim to a budget ax. Recently married and a new father, Gowanloch is also EMT trained.

"I came down, met with the chief, liked what I saw, was very impressed, met with a couple of the guys," Gowanloch said when asked about why he applied for the job. "It just seemed like a nice place to work."

Gowanloch and his wife are looking for a new home in Batavia.

Monday, June 23, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Fire Helmet Raffle to benefit program that provides kids with warm winter coats

post by Billie Owens in batavia, City Fire, helmet raffle, local 896

On July 10 the City of Batavia Firefighters Local 896 will hold its first Helmet Raffle benefiting "Firefighters for Operation Warm." The raffle will be at Tully's restaurant on East Main Street at about 9 p.m.

Local 896 is raffling off a brand-new N6A Sam Houston structural fire helmet (winner picks color, style and custom leather front).

The 2nd place prize is a $75 gift certificate to "The Fire Store" and 3rd-place prize is $50 to "The Fire Store."

Tickets are a $10 donation with all proceeds benefiting "Firefighters for Operation Warm," which provides brand-new 100-percent American-made winter coats to children in the City of Batavia. This is the second year City firefighters are partnering with Operation Warm to provide the gift of warmth to children in our community.

In addition to the raffle, Tully's is donating 10 percent of its receipts on July 10 to the coat charity (only at the Batavia location), provided that the customer presents a special coupon at the time of check out.

For raffle tickets and Tully's special coupons, contact Adam Palumbo at apalumbo@batavianewyork.com. Visit <http://www.operationwarm.org/Batavia> for more information and to donate.

Friday, June 20, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Photos: Local firefighters set record with more than $9K collected in 'Fill the Boot' campaign

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire, Fill the Boot, IAFF Local 896

Today was the day to fill the boot and a lot of people did. City firefighters, members of IAFF Local 896, were positioned on Ellicott, Main, and Court streets this morning to collect donations from passing motorists as a fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

It was another banner year for the firefighters with a new record amount of $9,635.39, according to Local President Greg Ireland.

Above, Adam Palumbo collects a donation.

Jeff Stevens collects a donation.

Firefighter Tim Stengel collects a donation.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at 9:50 pm

Jim Maxwell named NYS Fire Chief of the Year

post by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, Jim Maxwell

Press release:

The City of Batavia Fire Chief Jim Maxwell has been selected by the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs (NYSAFC) as the 2014 Career Fire Chief of the Year. Chief Maxwell received this award at the NYSAFC annual conference held on June 12th.

Chief Maxwell started working for the City in August 2010 as a 23-year veteran of the Kodak Fire Department (KFD) Eastman Kodak Company. During his career with the Kodak Fire Department, he is credited as serving as a HazMat resource tech, senior firefighter/EMT, lieutenant, captain and battalion chief. Chief Maxwell has also been a volunteer firefighter with Lakeshore Fire Department and North Greece Fire Department for more than 30 years.

City Manager Jason Molino said, "Chief Maxwell is an exemplary leader who has always been focused on putting needs of the City of Batavia residents above all else. He is forever committed to making the Batavia Fire Department the best it can be, and continues to dedicate himself to the men and women he serves with. It has been an absolute privilege working with such a professional and accomplished leader like Jim, and I congratulate him on being honored with this award."

This award is presented to association members for demonstration of exemplary leadership that has not only benefited an individual fire department, but also the emergency services of New York State. Honorees are chosen each year based upon their exemplary leadership, innovation, professional development, integrity, service to the public, and contributions to the fire service as a whole.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 3:15 pm

City firefighters announce annual 'Fill the Boot' campaign for June 20

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire, Fill the Boot

The annual "Fill the Boot" campaign comes to Batavia again Friday, June 20.

Off-duty City firefighters, members of IAFF Local 896, will position themselves on Ellicott, Court and Main and collect spare changes and donations from passing drivers.

This years cochairs for the event are Jeff Stevens, left, and Greg Ireland.

City firefighters have been participating in the fundraising event for MDA for 20 years.

Last year, they helped raised $8,500, which was a new record in donations locally.

Money collected benefits the children who are diagnosed with any of the more than 40 neuromuscular diseases that fall under the MDA umbrella, including ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Donations cover everything from wheelchairs to braces, physical therapy sessions to summer camps for those afflicted.

Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Molino announces two prestigious awards for the city and for a firefighter

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire

The City of Batavia has received two significant awards, City Manager Jason Molino announced at a press conference held at the Fire Hall this afternoon.

The city is receiving a Strategic leadership & Governance Program Excellence Award from the International City/County Managers Association, and Firefighter Chuck Hammon is being honored by NYS Child Safety Advisory Board with a Shining Star Award for his efforts to increase the number of child safety seats installed in the city.

The ICMA will recognize the City of Batavia at its 100th annual conference in Charlotte, N.C., in September.

The award recognizes the creation and implementation of the city's strategic plan.

"With input from the community and the hard work of City Council and staff, we have been able to create an effective planning process that has demonstrated real results in efficient operations and meeting the service needs of our residents," Molino said. "Though our continued efforts to improve our operations, make sound decisions and strong investments, the city is being recognized for making a meaningful impact for our residents, businesses and visitors alike."

Hammon was recognized because over the past three years, he's taken the city's child safety seat program from almost nothing -- only two trained installation technicians -- to a program with 18 technicians and more than 150 installations and inspections a year. Batavia has one of the most active fire stations for child safety seats in WNY now, Molino said.

Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Photo: YMCA preschool students tour Batavia's fire house

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire

A group of preschoolers from the YMCA got a chance to tour city fire's headquarters this morning. The kids got to spray a fire hose and learn about fire safety and look at all the equipment on the fire trucks.

Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Photo: Child car seat event sponsored by Tompkins Insurance

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire, Tompkins Insurance

City Firefighter Mike Dorgan helps Reese Koukides, 3 1/2, into her new car seat at a child car seat safety inspection and installation event in the City Centre Parking lot this morning. The event was sponsored by Tompkins Insurance.

Monday, March 24, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Photos: City firefighters practice rescue skills in icy water at Dewitt

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire, DeWitt Recreation Area

City firefighters were at Dewitt Recreation Area today for a round of ice and cold water rescue training.

Lt. Bob Fix, a certified ice and cold water rescue instructor, conducted the class.

The purpose of the course is to provide fire personnel with the skills and knowledge required to safely and effectively respond to incidents on our through ice.

There are 325 acres of open water within city limits. The Tonawanda Creek runs for 2.79 miles through the city.

Upon completion of the training, participants will be certified in ice rescue awareness, operations and technician levels for three years.

A seagull was more interested in the open water as a possible fishing hole than rescue training.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Donated buildings in the city provide invaluable training resource for fire department

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire

The chance for city firefighters to train and practice in an actual structure in the city is invaluable to the department, Chief Jim Maxwell said today while discussing an opportunity to use to houses on West Main Street this week.

Since the houses are slated for demolition, firefighters can cut, chop and smoke up the place ("cold smoke," as it's called, since it's not heat generated).

"From the new firefighter to the 20-year veteran, it's very valuable," Maxwell said. "It's a controlled situation, but they get to go in and practice what they would do in a normal fire."

The houses are being provided to the department for training by the owners of Castilone Chrysler, Steve Castilone and Greg Strauss, and are located at 310 and 312 W. Main St., Batavia.

Castilone and Strauss are expanding their dealership (rather than move it out of the city) and they acquired the neighboring properties for that purpose.

Maxwell said having structures in the city for training really cuts down on overtime. Rather than requiring firefighters to come in during typical off-duty hours and train at the Fire Training Center on Bank Street Road, on-duty firefighters can train in the city so they're still available for calls as needed.

"We're able to get all of the platoons through without getting into an overtime situation, so it's very valuable to use," Maxwell said.

Training includes ventilation (cutting holes in the roofs), search and rescue (artificial smoke is generated). There will be more training over the next few days, weather permitting, and it will be squeezed in with hazmat training taking place this week at the fire station.

There won't, however, be any live fire training at the two houses, Maxwell said. It's just too risky to do in the city.

Photos submitted by Frank Capuano

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