Story and photos by Alice Gerard
A crowd gathered on the parking lot at the Grand Island Fire Co.’s headquarters at the corner of Grand Island Boulevard and Baseline Road to experience what was promised to be the most exciting event of the Oct. 14 open house.
The crowd was not disappointed by the live fire demonstration. It featured a room with furniture, a Christmas tree, and a stack of gifts inside a small trailer with an open end. As firefighters suited up for the expected conflagration, the fire was lit. It grew rapidly, as fully suited firefighters and the audience – kept a safe distance from the fire – looked on. Before long, the fire turned into an inferno, and the firefighters went toward it with their hoses and other firefighting equipment.
As the audience watched, the fire was put out, and the audience walked away, eager to watch the next event, the departure of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter that had arrived a few hours earlier, presenting a flying show before landing on the parking lot.
In addition to watching the helicopter and the live-fire demonstrations, visitors to the open house could look inside a variety of fire trucks and rescue vehicles, provided by several Western New York fire companies. They could buy food to enjoy at the event, and they had the opportunity to enter a basket raffle – with all proceeds going to the fire company.
The GIFC, which is currently running a fundraiser, is also seeking volunteers. According to Fire Chief John Podlucky, the fire company is looking for “people who are interested in helping their community by serving as either a firefighter or an EMS (emergency medical services) professional. We provide training and equipment at no cost. It’s a family-oriented organization.”
The fire company provides emergency medical services, marine rescue, and fire suppression services to all life and property within the town.
To obtain more information about volunteering for the fire company, check out the GIFC website at https://www.grandislandfire.us/ and click onto “volunteer opportunities.” Other ways to get information about volunteering for the fire company include calling dispatch at 716-773-4334 and asking for an application, or by checking out the GIFC Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GrandIslandFireCompany.
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter attracts a crowd.