KENNEDY – Battling flames is the job of brave firefighters like those who responded to Wednesday’s massive blaze in Kennedy that destroyed two homes. However, when dealing with hot weather and the lack of easy water access, it’s no easy task.
WNY News Now spoke with Kennedy Fire Department Chief Keith Bean about what it takes to battle these fires in high temperatures.
“We have a really good EMS side of it where we go to rehab and make sure everybody gets a lot of fluids, take rotation. We have a lot of departments here from surrounding areas to come in as manpower; not only interior but exterior to help out and try to maneuver people around so that they’re not getting overheated,” explained Bean.
During Wednesday’s response, crew had issues with one of their dry risers, an empty pipe that is connected to a water source like a lake or pond, but they were able to source ten tankers of water to put out the flames.
Rural counties like Chautauqua rely heavily on mutual aid, to have enough manpower to take every call.
“During the day everybody works, you have a day crew but most of them are retired. Some work night shifts and they’re in bed sleeping. It’s very very very important to have mutual aid that’s gonna be able to come out and help out,” says Bean.
Firefighter engineer and leader of the Rescue 7 Response Team, Dave Bartkowiak, was among those on scene providing support to firefighters. .
“Rescue 7 and its companion truck Rescue 7-1 which is housed at the East Dunkirk Fire Station provides air supply and scene lighting for any fire or emergency we’re called to. We fill air bottles as they get depleted by the firefighters so they can go back to work. And we’ll do scene lighting if it’s a nighttime call; car accidents, major incidents,” explains Bartkowiak.
Air tanks sound off when they have 33 percent remaining, that’s when firefighters swap their pack fresh ones, The used tanks are collected and refilled by Rescue 7’s crew.
“This is the fourth run for this truck in nine days. It started out last week Monday at the Pawn Star’s fire in Sheridan, and then Thursday there was a house fire in Falconer. And on Sunday there was a house fire in Gary, and now this fire here. And mixed in there, there was a fire alarm activation that didn’t amount to anything, but we went anyway,” says Bartkowiak.
While Rescue 7 is owned by the county, it is entirely staffed by volunteers.
There is a need for fire personnel, so anyone in the community who is interested in signing up to save lives are encouraged to reach out to their local fire department.