Albion firefighters prepare to help in Buffalo

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 November 2014 at 5:57 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers – A snowmobile owned by the Albion Fire Department could be used to check on residents stranded in a storm in the Buffalo area.

Dusty DeCarlo moves a four-wheeler out of a trailer at the Albion Firehall. DeCarlo would check the vehicle for use in a major snowstorm in the Buffalo area.

Albion Fire Chief Rocky Sidari, left, Harry Papponetti and Greg Marston check a rescue trailer for possible deployment later tonight and tomorrow. Firefighters also readied the trailer with gas cans, generators and other equipment.

ALBION – The Albion Fire Department is preparing to be deployed to Buffalo, to assist crews in checking on residents and motorists who are stranded in a colossal snow storm. Firefighters could deliver food and medication. The exact assignment isn’t yet known.

Fire Chief Rocky Sidari expects official confirmation soon that a local team will be sent to the Buffalo area, where about 5 feet of snow has been dumped. The Albion Fire Department has an off-road four-wheeler with a track system. That vehicle can maneuver in the huge snowfall. The Fire Department also plans to take a snowmobile and a rescue trailer.

Sidari was sending text messages to firefighters, trying to round up a crew. Sidari received six confirmations by 5 p.m. The group is expected to leave at 8 p.m. If they are deployed as expected Sidari said firefighters would be committing to a 24-hour shift.

Past Fire Chief Harry Papponetti has seen it before in the Blizzard of ’77. He told firefighters at the fire hall they need to careful and never be alone in these harsh elements.

“It’s blizzard-like conditions,” he told them. “It’s not going to be an enjoyable thing.”

Papponetti’s son Steven is a student at Hilbert College in Hamburg. He told his father the storm was unbelievable with the rapid pace of accumulations.

“He can’t even find his vehicle,” Papponetti said. “It’s buried.”

Ron Armstrong, another past fire chief in Albion, talked with his granddaughter in Lancaster, where Armstrorng said 5 feet of snow has fallen.

“There is so much snow they can’t even get their doors open,” he said.