Totals for 2020

January --- 79
February -- 71
March ----- 82
April ------- 54
May -------- 53
June -------
July --------
August ----
October ---
November -
December -
Total - 338

2019 - 881 activities
2018 - 924 activities
2017 - 946 activities
2016 - 934 activities

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

25th Anniversary of the Ice Storm

25 years ago today March 3rd 1991 would be the start of a devastating natural disaster for the area.  Over an inch and a quarter of ice would coat the entire area bringing down trees and power lines leaving over one hundred thousand without electricity for days to weeks at a time.  Roads were impassible, schools and other public buildings were closed and became shelters.  Everyday life was disrupted in one way or another and would take weeks before it was back to normal.

                For the Penfield Fire Company the year of 1991 had already been a busy year right up to March 1st.  This was Frank Mioduzewski’s (pronounced Mezz-oh-shev-ski …. sorry Frank, I tried) first term as chief of the fire company.  Chief Frank “Ski” had 18 years of fire experience with Penfield and had worked his way up the line accumulating plenty of experience running things. 

It’s worth noting that January 23rd was an extremely busy day in 1991 in which the infamous Webster warehouses burned down in which Penfield’s ladder 371 was tied up at the scene all night till 6am.  At the same time the Webster fire was happening Penfield had its own house fire on Nine Mile Point Rd at 2am that lasted 2 hours and then immediately following another structure fire after that in a building at 4:30am.

As March unfolded for the Fire Company -
March 1st 1991 - Friday
To start off March the fire company would respond to a fatal car accident at 2439 Penfield Rd at 4:30am on Friday morning.  The fire company responded to a vehicle into a tree with a person trapped, the victim did not survive.
March 2nd 1991 - Saturday
 Saturday, the temperature reached 68 degrees which set a new record.  That day the fire company had responded to a field fire on Cardogan Square around 4pm and spent an hour extinguishing a brush fire with West Webster FD.  After a thunderstorm rolled through at 7pm the fire company began responding to several alarms around the district that came within minutes of each other.   One alarm that was received was for a structure fire at 1150 Penfield Rd.  A lightning strike to the south end of the roof of the Dolomite offices would set the roof line on fire.  Firefighters were out till 11pm cleaning up that fire.

March 3rd 1991 - Sunday 
March 3rd was a dreary day with on and off rain till the evening hours.  The actual ice storm began as the sun set and the temperatures dropped.  Up to this point the fire company had responded to a total of 91 alarms all year long and as you can already see it had been a busy and active first two months. 
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.

March 4th 1991 - Monday
Temperature made it to 32 degrees but dropped back to 28 degrees, the day was mixed with light rain and then snow.
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  

March 5th 1991 – Tuesday
Temperatures made it to 39 degrees late in the day but dropped back to 30 overnight.  All the ice by this time had melted off the tress.
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.

March 6th 1991 – Wednesday
Temperatures hit 55 degrees, it was actually a nice day outside weather wise.
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.

March 7th 1991 – Thursday
Temperatures started off in the 40s around midnight but began to drop back into the lower 20s by night fall.  It began to snow as the day ended.  Wind speeds began to reach 40mph from noon to 5pm bringing down more trees. Even worse, the work that the electrical crews had started was now again being destroyed by nature.
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.

March 8th 1991 – Friday 
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.

March 9th 1991 – Saturday 
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. 
At 4:30am a call for a house fire for 95 Lazy Trail was sounded.  3 hours later firefighters wrapped up, the cause being another issue with a fireplace.  The next call would be a chimney fire at 143 City View which kept firefighters occupied for an hour.  The rest of day was filled calls from automatic alarms to wires down to water and service calls.
March 10th – Sunday 
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. 

In total the fire company responded to 869 alarms over a period from March 3rd till the 13th.  Water problems and wire down calls still came in as late as the 22nd of the month but not as frequently.   A weary fire department would try to recover and move on but as 1991 went on there was more flooding in April which caused over a dozen water problems in a 24 hour period,  13 more house fires over the rest of the year, and 5 more serious car accidents. 

The 1991 ice storm is still spoken of to this day by members whom lived through it.  This article merely captures the time frames of the events as they unfolded, it hardly captures the hard team work, comradery, neighbor helping neighbor attitude, and sacrifice that all volunteers went through during this stressful and difficult time.     The sacrifices the volunteers made just goes to show the type of people they are, willing to put aside their own lives just to help others.
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

About Us / Join Us

The Penfield Fire Company is comprised of 100% VOLUNTEERS of both men and women living in the community of Penfield, NY. Our Units operate within a 30 square mile district that covers over 11,500 residences which makes up a large portion of the town of Penfield along with areas in the town of Perinton. We respond 24 hours a day 365 days a year to help anyone in the community during a time of need.


West Webster 12-24-12

West Webster 12-24-12
In Memory of Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka