Wellsville’s firefighters, who helped out in Western New York’s recent snow emergency, are (from left, standing) Brock Stonemetz, Rod Winans, Ryan Nixon, John Fleischman, Mike Lutz and Tony Guyot. Seated (from left) are Gabe Dennis and Bill Cavanaugh.
By KATHRYN ROSS
WELLSVILLE — The City of Good Neighbors doesn’t start or stop at the city limits.
A little less than two weeks ago, when the city of Buffalo, known as the City of Good Neighbors, and the South Towns were hit with massive amounts of snow, they weren’t the only ones who were neighborly. Eight firefighters from Wellsville showed their good fellowship as well.
At Monday night’s village board meeting, Fire Chief Kevin Fleischman told trustees the firefighters — Rod Winans, John Fleischman, Mike Lutz, Bill Cavanaugh, Ryan Nixon, Brock Stonemetz, Gabe Dennis and Tony Guyot — made the trip to Angola in Erie County. There, they spent 24 hours of an assigned 18-hour shift helping out the Evans City fire department.
“They were there a little longer than expected,” Fleischman said.
The crew responded after a request was sent out for volunteer crews, he explained, adding that other departments from around the county also responded, including Allentown, Bolivar, Clarksville, Friendship and Willing.
Wellsville’s crew took Wellsville 2, a pumper; Wellsville 6, a brush truck; and an ATV, Wellsville 604. The equipment and firefighters were all covered under the auspices of mutual aid.
“Wellsville was still well-protected in case of any emergencies,” Fleischman said.
Mayor Randy Shayler commented, “Its commendable that these individuals would take time from their own lives to go outside their area to help someone else. It speaks well of the individuals who went and well of this village.”
Fleischman said the last time Wellsville firefighters responded to the Buffalo area was eight years ago.
While the chief didn’t have to ask the board’s permission to send the department’s men or equipment out of town, he did have to ask to hold a fundraiser at the Bowl-M-Over bowling alley in February.
Shayler explained that, according to state municipal law, even if it doesn’t include closure of streets or involve the department’s buildings, village fire departments are required to ask permission from their village boards to hold fundraisers, such as the annual bowling tournament.
The board gave its approval for the Feb. 25 event, but the fire department’s business didn’t stop there.
Fleischman said that this past weekend, while getting ready for the annual craft show, firemen had to purchase some light fixtures to have enough light in parts of the building for the show. The Department of Public Works had the changes on its agenda but had not yet had time to get to the “winter project” before the bulbs blew. Dean Arnold, head of the department, told Fleischman that he expects to get to the project on Wednesday.
Trustee Mike Roeske, however, said there is another problem at the fire hall, brought to his attention by the Women’s Firemen’s Auxiliary, concerning access to the fire hall basement.
He explained that the women have to go all the way around to the upstairs of the fire hall and then downstairs to unlock the door so that they can load their vehicles when they are providing support for the firefighters in the field.
“Some of these women are older and it’s hard for them to navigate the narrow stairway to the basement where their kitchen is located, so that they can open the door to load their vehicles,” Roeske said, wondering if something can’t be done to allow the door to be unlocked from the outside.
Arnold said that he would look into it.
And Arnold said he had looked into the matter of the malfunctioning traffic light at the intersection of Madison Street and the Arterial that Roeske brought up at the board’s last meeting. Roeske said the light failed to function properly causing traffic to back up on Madison Street.
Arnold contacted the New York State Department of Transportation as requested and found that the traffic signal was not malfunctioning. He said, “DOT changed the location of the signaling device, a small metal plate on the road, and people aren’t pulling up far enough before they stop in order for it to trigger the light. Drivers must pull up to the stop line.”
When Roeske asked if the plate can be painted so drivers can see it, Arnold replied, “You can’t mess with DOT.”
Which led Roeske to comment, “DOT isn’t maintaining the Arterial the way they should.”
He pointed out that broken fencing and overgrown weeds along the north end of the Arterial are detrimental to the image of Wellsville. “If you want to present a good image of Wellsville,” he said, “the broken chain link and overgrown brush aren’t doing it.”
Arnold said he would contact DOT about the problem.
In an unrelated matter, when asked about the need for a village bulletin board and possible funding, Shayler agreed that it is a problem and said that he would look into the creation, funding and location for such a project.
In a moment of remembrance, the board adjourned its meeting in honor of longtime board member William “Bill” Hendricks, who passed away on Nov. 22.
The board next meets prior to its regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 12 at 5:45 p.m. for a reorganizational meeting.