The First Volunteer Fire Company of Bergholz, Inc.
We recently completed our 100th year of service to the residents of the Town of Wheatfield, NY. One hundred years of pride and professionalism as our members dedicated continuous service to our community and we look forward to the next one hundred years.
If you have thought about volunteering but you don't know where to start, we are here to help. On this site is an application page that you can fill out and submit. One of our first responders would be glad to reach out to you. We are always accepting interior and exterior firefighters, fire police, emergency medical technicians and driver/pump operators. If you have something that would keep you from physically participating but you have a talent that would assist on our administrative side, please let us know. We also have an auxillary that supports our fire company through fund raising and assistance on larger emergencies. You can also contact us at our fire station by calling and leaving a message at 716-731-4848.
Bergholz Trains at Wheatfield Training Tower
Recently, Bergholz firefighters conducted firefighting exercises at the Wheatfield Training Facility. Non toxic smoke was used to "smoke up" the tower. Crews practiced their search and rescue skills and air management. Pump operators were able to utilize their skills practicing getting water to the crews in a simulated manner. The bottom photo gives a glimpse of the environment our firefighters may encounter when entering a building filled with smoke.
Fire Captain Mike Manth giving orders to Interior Firefighter/EMS Captain Dustin Kowalik
Driver Trainer/Pump Operator Doug Wittkowsky showing probationary firefighter and his daughter Sarah Wittkowsky how to get water to the crews.
Firefighter Mike Landen prepares to enter the tower to search for a "victim"
What could await our interior firefighting crews. It is important for them to be able to work in these types of conditions but to also recognize when it is safe or not safe to enter a structure.
CHOWDER SALE JULY 10th!!
We want to thank all of our customers for your continued patronage. We have decided to continue our monthly chowder sale in a "Drive-Thru" manner. Please follow the signs posted for the route and directions that are also listed below. There are some changes to the sale listed below:
- You will not be permitted to bring your own personal container.
- The price of chowder is now $9.00 per two (2) quart container and $18.00 per gallon. PLEASE NOTE THE PRICE CHANGE.
- From Niagara Road - Take Rohr Street south to Cayuga Street then turn left.
- Proceed on Cayuga Street to Luther Street and then turn left.
- Take Luther Street to the side driveway on the east side of the fire station.
- Once you are on the property, please stay in your vehicle and in line. A member will assist you in placing your order, paying for the chowder and then the chowder will be brought out directly to you. Please note that you can pay in cash or you can now pay through Pay Pal as well!!
Again, thank you for your patronage and we hope to see you at the fire house!
Our current Member Spotlight will highlight Assistant Chief/Interior Firefighter Jim Kish
Question 1 - You are a newer member to the Bergholz firefighting crew. We see that you have been a firefighter for some time. How many years have you been a volunteer firefighter and how did you get interested in becoming a firefighter?
Answer - I have been a member here at Bergholz five years as of this past April and I was previously a member and past chief of the St. Johnsburg Fire Company also in Wheatfield for 29 years so 34 years altogether. I grew up around the fire station. My father was a 45 year member also of St. Johnsburg before he passed in 2015. I would go with him to drill sometimes and on weekends we would go to the hall to help clean the trucks or the truck hall. I became hooked early on.
Question 2 - You stated you were a past chief and now we see you are an officer at Bergholz. What offices have you held through the years?
Answer - I actually started as sargent-at-arms for a few years and then I was on the Board of Directors for three years. I was Third Assistant Chief/Training Officer for five years and then Second Assistant for six until becoming Chief in 2007 which I served as for six years. I have held the office of Lieutenant at Bergholz and I am currently in my first year as Second Assistant Chief and I'm also in my fourth year as Recording Secretary.
Question 3 - What experiences have helped create or mold your background as a firefighter and an officer?
Answer - I was fortunate enough in my first few years to have had the experience of actually putting out real fires and not putting them out in training. Not to say that we want real fires but I learned quite a bit of knowledge through application of what I had learned through training classes and also practicing at our hall. As an officer, you learn the right ways to do things and you apply that to your crews and your officers. Practice like it's real all the time. I was a tad bit reckless at one time and the passing of a close friend, co-worker and firefighter was a huge wake up call for me. I decided to straighten myself out and put a big emphasis on training and safety and I made sure to follow those principles through the years.
Question 4 - Who are some of the people who have influenced you on your path through the years?
Answer - There are so many people but first and foremost my dad Jim Sr. He and I had a difficult relationship sometimes but I learned what to do and not what to do as well (laughs). As a firefighter, I would say Brent Mueller and Gary Janik from St. Johnsburg. They took the time patiently to help me when I asked questions and they also became close friends of mine. Billy Manth from North Tonawanda Fire was a huge influence. He wasn't afraid to tell you when you did something wrong and I really respected his guidance especially when I became chief. Phil Richardson for the sweat and work he put in to help us try to put together as professional an organization as we could and I thank him. As an officer, I tried to mold myself after Rich Donner from St. Johnsburg. I learned more from Rich than anyone else. I never saw someone so cool and collected running a scene in my life and I tried to emulate him. He is the best. I also want to mention every single person I've trained with, responded with and were apart of my journey throughout the years from St. Johnsburg, Bergholz, Tri-Community and I cannot forget Twin City Ambulance especially Tom Maxian and Bill Major. They believed in me and I have never forgotten that. My wife Shannon who I can't begin to say how her support allows me to do this every day.
Question 5 - How many more years do you see yourself doing all of this?
Answer - As long as I physically can. I still love going to calls and helping my community. Not everyone can say or do that.
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