Alarm Totals for 2017
February -- 57
March ----- 110
Alarms - 224
Drills - 10
Meetings - 3
Other Details - 4
Total - 241
Drills - 36
Other Details - 15
Standby - 3
Total - 934 activities for 2016
The first call from the ice storm the fire company received would be Sunday night at 5:45pm at 2118 Baird Rd for a transformer that exploded. That would be the first call of the next 869 alarms received just in Penfield over the next 10 days. As the night went on the volunteer fire company went into 24/7 manned basis which would last for the next week as trees began to break under the heavy coating of ice. The night of the 3rd was just the start of things, the fire company had responded to several calls up to midnight which are documented. These calls would be for wires down or arching and sparking and trees down on structures, it’s the next morning when everybody woke up and saw the damage is when things would get really busy.
Sometime during the night a general order was given that all apparatus were to return to quarters immediately. It became to dangerous on road ways for apparatus and personnel. Firefighters would have to wait till morning to start again. Once such story involves 374 heading west on Penfield Rd between Salt and Harris. It was mentioned that as they passed through Penfield Rd heading back to the station on Harris several trees were coming down and blocking the road behind them.
With no power and no heat residence turned to their fire places for heat. Some of these fireplaces had been neglected over time and needed maintenance otherwise it would lead to bigger issues –
On hand written notes by Chief Ski the fire company responded to over 28 calls of various problems from wires down to natural gas leaks at appliances, to the smells of something burning indoors, to trees on structures with collapse. One call for mutual aid sent an engine to a house fire in Fairport at 3pm. For the Penfield the first house fire would come in at 11pm at 50 Timberbrooke Drive. Cause of the fire was fireplace related
Hours after Timberbrook the fire company responded to 847 Whalen Rd for a basement fire, again the cause being fireplace related. At the same time of the Whalen Rd fire units also responded to 85 Harwood Circle for an attic fire. Units found fire in the attic from cracks in a fireplace chimney. Both fires were declared out by 6am. For the rest of day the fire company responded to several natural gas leaks from appliances and automatic fire alarms till 8:30pm when a partition fire was reported at 2 Corwin Drive. While units were working this fire another fire came in at 8 Cambray place for a chimney fire.
The start of 135 water problems began around the town. Chief Ski’s notes indicate that the fire company began investigating the various water problems around town. This was just day one of several. There is note in here that as the community tried to get things back on track and the fire police were requested to man various intersections for traffic duty during the 7am rush hour due to all the traffic lights being out. At 10am firefighters responded to 2460 Browncroft for a chimney fire. The rest of the day firefighters again responded to dozens of calls for wires down or wires burning in trees, trees on houses, etc. One serious sounding call was for a couple on Meadowview over come from Kerosene fumes from an improperly vented heater.
For those who remember this day it was like it was happening all over again. The awful cracking noise of tree limbs breaking all around never knowing where or when the next one was going to fall. It went on for hours as already stressed and weakened trees buckled from the wind.
123 water problems were listed out in Chief Ski’s note for this day. Very few if any address were repeated from the previous day. Other than the water problems fire calls were still on the rise with wires down and an automatic alarm, trees falling on houses.
Also on March 7th 13 crews from different county fire agencies came into Monroe County to help. Fire Companies including Cato, Port Gibson, and Victory ended up helping in Penfield.
Bitter cold day at 23 degrees with a low of 18 with light snow. Still several thousand without power.
391 water problems were now on the list for Penfield for this day alone. Fire Calls were still way up but the number for service calls was exploding. There were only so many resources and the volunteers were getting weary. Not to mention the cold conditions that were now hampering the area. From what I understand the volunteers were just running from call to call to call, there may have been a short break to get things collected at the fire station but then it was right back out to the community all day and all night.
Temperatures responded a little breaking the freezing mark at 34 degrees, but settled back to 27 at night. 50 Water problems were recorded that day from Chief Ski.
Temperatures once again dropped below freezing with a high of only 30 and a low of 16 with clear conditions.
Chief Ski’s notes ended one week after the ice storm and on the 10th the 24/7 coverage ended from the fire station as things tried to resume a normal course. By no means was this the end of the disaster for many across the town as power hadn’t been fully restored. On March 19th the Quarry on Whalen road would start burning the tons of brush and trees from the storm and would burn straight thru till April 30th.
The Penfield Volunteer fire service wouldn't have worked without the great people of this community who took the time to make a difference whether it was the firefighters, ladies aux organization, and even the explorers post whom all joined in to make it all work.
After writing this article the stories started popping up from the members -
It was mentioned that several times while out trying to help out falling tree branches were a constant issue. "You could be standing in one spot, then move to get something then all of a sudden there's a huge tree branch come crashing down right where you had just been, it would have killed you if it had had been 2 seconds sooner"
Another story mentioned was at the time 2nd Assistant Chief S. Fitch was out helping at a call when his personal was struck and damaged by a falling tree
|Penfield Engine 373 drives down Embury Rd on March 4th 1991|
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