Friday the 13th [of March 2015] turned out to be a bad omen for a family on the 100 block of Columbia Turnpike, East Greenbush. About 5:45pm, a passerby noticing smoke pouring from an attic window at the residence, stopped and alerted the unsuspecting residents. After the 911 call, the Clinton Heights Fire Department was dispatched. Car 3 arrived first and reported a working fire. Car 1 arrived seconds later and requested a second alarm. Heavy smoke had turned to flame and with the arrival of Engine 8-5 and Truck 8, an attack line was brought into the structure. After a challenge to find the staircase to the attic where the fire was centered, the firefighters on the line were able to make a quick knock-down of the fire. Extinguishing hot spots pursued. Called to the scene were the Defreestville Fire Department who provided a FAST team; the East Greenbush and Best Luther Fire Departments also added extra manpower at the scene while the Castleton Fire Department provided a cover assignment back at Station II. Especially challenging was the traffic on Routes 9 & 20 (Columbia Turnpike) during the after-work rush hour. The cause of the fire was determined to be careless smoking. All units were back in service by 9:00pm.
As an exercise for the winter months in the Northeast, the Clinton Heights Fire Department retained Lifeguard Systems, Inc. to provide certified training in surface ice water rescue. The two day program took place in East Greenbush on January 24th and 25th, 2015. Seventeen firefighters participated including personnel from the Melrose Fire Department of Rensselaer County and the Fort Edward Fire Department located in Washington County, New York. The program presented to the participants the disciplines and skill-sets needed to successfully bring to safety a victim(s) who would have fallen through the ice. Among the considerable material the student had to comprehend included the physical/bodily costs to the victim who has fallen through the ice: heat loss, cold stress, hypothermia, blood pressure and other immersion complications. Also considered was the command structure involving the staging of personnel, equipment and apparatus, and of course, the actual rescue techniques. Line tending, proper patient handling, ice transport and the personal protective equipment of the rescuers. The on-ice exercises took place on Hampton Manor Lake, East Greenbush (see photos).
At approximately 9:40 am, the CHFD Foam Task Force was requested to the scene of an overturned tanker truck with a leaking tank on the Berkshire Spur of the NYS Thruway. First arriving units from South Schodack FD determined the product was denatured ethanol and requested HAZMAT resources. CHFD's Foam Task Force which was comprised of the county's foam trailer and Engine Company 8-5 responded under the command of Chief Tracy. After an initial assessment, members began applying a protective blanket of foam in the area surrounding the leak. Under the guidance of NYS HAZMAT resources, the remaining product was transferred to a waiting tanker truck. The truck had been carrying approximately 10,600 gallons of denatured ethanol. Members continued to apply foam to maintain a sufficient blanket of protection. The CHFD responded in conjunction with other Rensselaer County HAZMAT resources from the City of Troy FD and the Battalion 1 Decon. Team. The foam trailer housed by CHFD carries 550 gallons of Universal Gold alcohol resistant firefighting foam which is designed specifically for ethanol type incidents. Engine Company 8-5 carries approximately 90 gallons as well. Units : Car 1, 8-5, U-8, RC Foam Trailer
Firefighters from the Clinton Heights Fire Department along with several neighboring departments recently participated in a "Man vs. Machine" exercise. The two day program was provided by PL Vulcan Fire Training Concepts, led by Captain Mark Gregory, FDNY. Along with Captain Gregory, two additional instructors took the 36 participants through six evolutions touching upon the necessary skill sets and practical solutions needed to address not-everyday-calls but critical ones from machinery entrapment (e.g. meat grinder) to bodily impalement. The exercise also allowed a review of the tools necessary for such unusual calls. A three hour classroom course was followed with four hours of hands-on training. CHFD Chief Seth Tracy welcomed the presenters noting a special relationship between Captain Gregory and his department. Stephen Gregory Sr., Mark's grandfather, a retired New York City firefighter, was a member of the Clinton Heights Fire Department; he volunteered countless hours training local firefighters over the course of his retirement years. He passed away this past late-winter with full honors from Clinton Heights. Present for the course were three generations of the Gregory family: Stephen Jr., Mark Sr., and Mark Jr. This course continued the tradition of the Gregory family sharing their expertise with the members of CHFD. Other fire service agencies joined in the exercise: East Greenbush FD, Rensselaer FD, Defreestville FD, Albany FD, Nassau FD, Averill Park-Sand Lake FD, Schuyler Heights FD, Centervile FD (Greene County) and the NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control.