Produced by: BVFD Firefighter Kaelin O'Leary
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Shortly after 1:15 PM on Sunday, January 22nd, Belle Valley was dispatched to send our tower to assist Wesleyville Hose Company (Station 30) with a reported structure fire at Bates Collision, 3017 Buffalo Road. Tower 369 and Utility 367 responded, and found a working fire on arrival.
Wesleyville Deputy Chief 310 had command, and we were first tasked to investigate the adjacent building (Coney Island Lunch) for extension of the fire to that building, then to proceed to the roof of Bates Collision to open holes in the roof to allow the smoke and heat from inside to escape. Shortly after beginning this task, all firefighters were ordered to leave the interior of the building and the roof due to concerns about roof collapse.
We were then requested to set up the tower and prepare to flow water to the roof if needed. Firefighters on the ground were able to bring the fire under control without the need for additional water from the tower. Belle Valley remained on the scene to assist with clean up.
Numerous units responded to this fire, including an engine from Wesleyville; an engine and a ladder from Brookside; an engine, ambulance, and rescue from Fairfield; an engine from Lawrence Park; an engine from Harborcreek; and an engine from Kuhl Hose. Crescent also sent a ladder to standby at Harborcreek; Fuller sent an engine and Greenfield sent a rescue and an ambulance to standby at Fairfield; and Kearsarge sent an engine to standby at Belle Valley. Quite a bit of juggling was needed to make sure all areas of the county were protected during this call.
We sometimes get asked "why do so many units get sent to what turns out to be a 'relatively small' fire"? There are several reasons. The first is that the officer in charge of the fire (typically the chief or assistant chief or deputy chief of the department in whose area the fire is) has to consider a number of factors when evaluating how much manpower and equipment to request. In this case, the structure was a commercial auto body repair and painting facility containing not only vehicles, but also many highly flammable paints and chemicals. In addition, the relative proximity of the buildings in that part of Wesleyville means that a fire that gets out of control could quickly spread to many other structures. The second is that with the decline in the number of volunteers available to the fire departments, we often have to try multiple units to make sure that we can get at least one who has enough personnel to respond. If this fire had occurred on a Monday afternoon instead of a Sunday afternoon, it's not likely that as many units would have been available.
Information on the units responding credit to Erie PA Fire News, and photo credit to Scooter Blakely and BVFD photographer Jeff Lopez.
Click on the photos below to enlarge them.
Click on the text above for an entertaining and informative short video about fire safety.
2016 was a record breaking year for Belle Valley in terms of call volume! We handled a total of 977 calls, easily besting our previous high of 811 calls in 2014.
We would like to take a moment to thank our top ten responders for the year, as these men and women went above and beyond to serve their community.
Belle Valley couldn't operate without all of our dedicated and hardworking members, along with donations from the community. We would like to thank all of you who volunteer in any capacity, and who support us thru direct donations, as well as supporting our fundraisers such as bingo, craft fairs, and social hall rentals.
Thank you for yet another great year, and we look forward to serving Millcreek Township Residents and surrounding areas throughout 2017 and many years to come.
On December 13th, Belle Valley was dispatched to assist Brookside Fire Department (24) at a structure fire with our tower. T-369 arrived on scene and assisted with both roof ventilation and interior fire fighting. Sadly, an occupant was found to have perished in the fire.
On December 10th, Belle Valley Fire Department had our annual family Christmas party. President Jeff Skonieczki asked Santa for a new pumper.
Christmas came early for Station 36, as we are proud to announce that Engine 364 has officially been ordered from Sutphen. The new pumper is scheduled to arrive in July of 2017.
We would also like to thank Kearsarge Rescue 444 and crew for standing by at our station tonight so our members could enjoy a night with their families.
Also at our family Christmas party on Saturday, the annual awards ceremony took place. The 2016 award recipients are as follows:
Thank you to all members for their hard work and dedication to the department this year.
In early December, Belle Valley announced the officers and support personnel for 2017. In some departments these are elected positions, but at BVFD, the chiefs appoint these positions every year.
We look forward to a great year!
On November 6th 2016, BVFD held its elections for the 2017 Chiefs & Business Officers. Quite a few changes are taking place, as several long time members take a well-deserved break, including retiring Treasurer Jim Petrone.
Congratulations to all winners!
Club House Dr. - Brookwood Village Complex
Monday April 29
Command: Chief 360
Around 12:30 this morning, we were dispatched for a structure fire on Club House Drive in the Brookwood Village Apartments. Chief 360 arrived to find smoke showing from the apartment. After further investigating it was determined to be a working fire on the second floor. Engine 362 pulled an 1-3/4" line, backed up by a second line from Engine 683. Engine 444 supplied Engine 362 and their crew assisted in overhaul. Crews made a quick knockdown holding the fire to a bedroom. The apartment sustained a lot of heat, smoke and water damage. Several people in the apartment were displaced but there were no injuries. Command special called Erie FD Engine 13 due to the type and construction of the building, they were returned soon after arriving. Brookside Truck 249 held the RIT assignment. Engine 363 and Tower 369 were also on scene. BVFD official are conducting the investigation.
Fire: Belle Valley, Kuhl Hose, Kearsarge, Brookside, Erie
EMS: Millcreek Paramedics
Law: Millcreek Police
West 18th & Cranberry St
Monday April 11
Command: Chief 360
On Monday afternoon all of the on-duty Erie FD crews along with West Ridge Tower 479 were battling a warehouse fire on West 20th St. Smoke from the fire could be seen for miles as it consumed the downtown area. As that fire was being fought a 911 call reported that the fire on West 20th had set a building at an asphalt plant on West 18th near Cranberry St. on fire. At the same time a third fire was reported in a residence on the lower west side. Belle Valley, West Lake, Kearsarge were dispatched to the fire on 18th Street. After a few minutes Lake Shore was also added to the assignment. Chief 360 arrived to find an industrial facility with a working fire. Truck 489 was the first rig on scene. They set up for master stream operations. Belle Valley Engines 362 & 363 both responded. Several blitz guns, deck guns, large handlines and elevated master streams were used in the operation. Lawrence Park and Brookside FD's also assisted for a while before being sent to yet another fire on 32nd Street. Later in the incident Rescue 368 along with Truck 478 were requested for air filling operations. Erie Co. Haz Mat were also on location of both the 18th & 20th street fires to conduct air quality tests. All units were on scene until approximately 8pm. There were no injuries.
18th Street Fire
Fire: Belle Valley (E362,E363,R368), West Lake (T489,E482), Kearsarge (E444), Lake Shore (E502,R508,A507), West Ridge (U478), Lawrence Park (E283), Brookside (R248), Millcreek 920, Erie Co. Haz Mat, Kuhl Hose (Tk685, Rehab 68)
20th Street Fire
Fire: Erie (E6,12,11,8,13, T2, E6x, E12x, 322, 325, 320), West Ridge (T479,E474), Kearsarge (E442), Perry HiWay (E434), Kuhl Hose (Tk686), Erie Co Haz Mat
Footmill Road south of Robison Road
Friday April 1
Command: Chief 420
Perry HiWay, BVFD and MPS were dispatched to an MVA on Footmill Road south of Robison around noon on Friday. First arriving crews found a single vehicle fully involved in fire head-on into a tree. One person was still inside the car. Crews from Engines 434 and 362 worked to extinguish the blaze. Rescue 368's crew contained fuel leaking into a small creek. After the fire was suppressed crews determined only one person was in the car and was deceased. PA State Police and the coroner were on scene and investigating.
Fire: Perry HiWay, Belle Valley
EMS: Millcreek Paramedics
Law: PA State Police, Erie County Coroner
Arbuckle Road & Old French Road
Tuesday February 16
Command: Chief 360
Tuesday morning BVFD was dispatched to an accident involving a loaded school bus and a car. Heavy snow was falling at the time of the accident. Dispatchers reported that one person in the car was unresponsive. Chief 360 requested Rescue 444 from Kearsarge and a three additional ambulances respond. MP37 arrived to find one car with moderate to heavy driver side damage after being t-boned by the school bus. That patient was extricated and transported to the trauma center. Rescues 368, 444 and ambulances from MPS and ECI evaluated the approximately 50 students on the bus. Three complained of injuries but only one was transported to a hospital. The intersection was closed for a couple hours due to the accident. Millcreek Police are conducting an investigation.
Fire: Belle Valley, Kearsarge
EMS: Millcreek Paramedics, Emergycare
Law: Millcreek Police