Massena firefighters respond to record calls

Looking back at 2021, members of the Massena Volunteer Fire Department and Village of Massena Permanent Firefighters IAFF Local 2220 say they had a busy year. They responded to 665 fire calls, which is 10% higher than the previous number of calls in one year. Bob Beckstead/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — Looking back at 2021, members of the Massena Volunteer Fire Department and Village of Massena Permanent Firefighters IAFF Local 2220 say they had a busy year.

They responded to 665 fire calls, which is 10% higher than the previous number of calls in one year.

Of those, 23 were structure fires, including nine mutual aid to neighboring departments; 25 were cooking/electrical fires; 74 were motor vehicle crashes; 12 were vehicle fires; 246 were EMS assists; 139 were commercial alarm activations; 41 were residential alarm activations; 41 were outside fires; 21 were trees, wires or poles down; 20 were service calls; 15 were smoke investigations; three were wildland fires; three were water rescue calls; and two were fire police calls.

“It was a record year for us,” Second Assistant Chief Thomas C. Miller said. “That’s dedication.”

He said the department responded to an increase in the number of alarm activations, both in homes and at businesses.

“A year back, a lot of people didn’t have home system alarms. With the increase in that, we’ve seen an increase of alarm activation calls,” Mr. Miller said.

Those calls aren’t just for Massena. The department also responds to calls as needed in surrounding communities like Louisville and Brasher.

“We’re part of the county-wide mutual aid plan. We provide mutual aid to our surrounding communities,” he said.

All together, the department has more than 50 active members who are available to respond to calls.

“We’re fortunate to have 54 active members at this point,” Mr. Miller said. “The bare minimum that a fireman can respond to is 20% of the calls.”

Fires don’t stay on a regular schedule, so members must be available both day and night. He said that the number of calls between midnight and noon, and between noon and midnight are about even.

“It’s pretty close for the number of calls in a breakdown between those two,” Mr. Miller said. “There’s no specific time where you can say you get more fire calls. We have a lot of history that will tell you that.”

In addition to the fire calls, the department’s code enforcement officers and building safety inspectors handled over 2,000 responses for building inspections, code complaints, building permits, plan reviews and other tasks.

Car seat technicians were also busy distributing, installing and inspecting more than 30 car seats for local families and children in need over the past year.

“We are proud to serve this community. We will always be there whenever you need us. We hope you all have a happy, healthy, and safe 2022,” members of the Village of Massena Permanent Firefighters IAFF Local 2220 said in a Facebook post.

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