The Leader staff


BATH | The Bath Volunteer Fire Department recently highlighted the work done over the course of 2019, from structure fire responses to training to chicken barbecue fundraisers.


Department officials presented the 2019 report at their annual meeting.


The fire company responded to 478 alarms in 2019.


As is generally the case, a large number, 135, were medical and rescue calls. Of those, 71 were for motor vehicle accidents, 57 were for medical assistance and three were for other kinds of rescues.


The next largest group of calls were false alarms.


The volunteer department, up against the same staffing and funding issues as volunteer fire companies across the country, responded to 127 false alarms in 2019, ranging for broken detectors to alarms set off by steam from cooking.


Another 78 calls were reports of hazardous conditions such as gas odors and leaks, gasoline spills, carbon monoxide alarms and other situations.


The department answered 43 legitimate fire calls during 2019. Of those, 11 were structure fires. The rest were an assortment of brush fires, trash fires and other nuisance fires.


Bath firefighters also responded to 31 calls for downed wires.


Spokesman John Conrad Sr. said those numbers don’t account for all calls but show the largest categories of calls.


Aside from calls, members undertook thousands of hours of training in 2019, and conducted regular weekly drills along with special extra drills throughout the year.


Members also conducted educational programs at schools and the library as well as other public programs.


The department also conducted fundraising events throughout the year ranging from regular bingo games to chicken barbecues and breakfasts to their annual gun raffle.


Of course, Conrad said the biggest accomplishment of the year was the addition of the new 110-foot ladder truck -- which saw use as recently as Sunday in responding to a three-story structure fire on Liberty Street.


The truck, which replaced the department’s previous 32-year-old ladder truck, was only obtainable through the assistance of State Sen. Tom O’Mara, R-Big Flats, and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, R-Corning, who worked closely with Bath Mayor Bill von Hagn to secure $671,000 in grant funding to cover about two-thirds of the purchase, Conrad said.