For the sixth time in seven years, the Cooperstown Graduate Program has coordinated with the Army Reserves to do field training in the Cooperstown area.
According to CGP Professor Cindy Falk, about 30 soldiers from Fort Drum, six cadets from Syracuse University and six CGP students from her Culture and Collections class worked together on training exercises over a three-day weekend, from Thursday, March 25, to Saturday, March 27.
“We did what we have been doing since 2015,” Falk said. “We just had to do it differently this year.”
To accommodate coronavirus restrictions, the group had a hard cap of 50, Falk said, and the soldiers, cadets and students were kept apart as much as possible to avoid any health issues.
Beginning Thursday, March 25, the soldiers – reservists from the 403rd Civil Affairs Battalion’s Alpha Company in Syracuse – did classroom training, with a remote seminar from Bassett Healthcare Network officials and in person lectures from the CGP and Fort Drum officials.
On Friday, the soldiers and cadets worked on a mass casualty and evacuation drill.
On behalf of the Cooperstown Fire Department, I would like to let you know we will not be doing our annual Equipment Fund Drive this year. Due to COVID-19 and the economic impact it has had on us all we feel that we should forgo asking for donations.
Through your generous past donations we have been able to purchase the most necessary equipment we needed to replace. Although the prices of goods continue to skyrocket during this pandemic time, we felt this was the right decision to make.
We thank you for your past donations and, of course, the department will continue to gratefully accept donations if your circumstances permit.
JIM TALLMAN, Chief
Cooperstown Fire Department (Editor’s Note: Regardless, donations may be mailed to Cooperstown Fire Dept., P.O. Box 1, Cooperstown NY 13326)
EAT LOCAL – Support local restaurants for the years ‘Restaurant Week.’ Participating restaurants offer a 2 course prix fixe for $20, more deals. Visit website for menu. Presented by Otsego County Chamber of Commerce. Visit otsegocc.com for info.
MIDDLEFIELD – By the time the explosions began – “a ball of white fire,” according to one witness – that came from inside the burning garage in this hamlet on Wednesday, Feb. 26, it was too late.
“It started as this small white ball, and then it became this massive white flame that shot 100 feet out of the building,” said Cooperstown Fire Chief Jim Tallman. “The flames just came straight at us.”
In all, five firemen, including Tallman, were injured in the blast.
Two of them, CFD’s Jon Roach and Scott Monington, were transferred to the burn unit at Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse. Tallman, as well as Middlefield firefighters John Sears and Ryan Smith, were treated at Bassett Hospital and released.
“In 42 years on the job, I’ve never seen injuries of this magnitude,” said Tallman.
The call came in at 8:45 p.m. The Middlefield Fire Department was dispatched to 3679 Route 35, which leads into the hamlet from Route 166. They were soon joined by Cooperstown, Westford, Cherry Valley and Milford, with Springfield and Mount Vision on standby.
Upon arrival, firefighters discovered a two-story garage and a car engulfed in flames.
“Info was conveyed to us that there were explosives” – perhaps propane or acetylene tanks – “on the property,” said firefighter Victor Jones, the county’s deputy Emergency Services coordinator. “But that was right about the time of the explosions.”
He clarified that the garage was a home workshop. “We were caught in a spot where we were vulnerable,” said Tallman. “The fire must have touched some oil or something.”
Tallman received second-degree burns on his face. Roach and Monington were treated for more extensive second-degree burns on their faces and airways.
“The last time we had this multiple injuries at a fire was the Colliersville train derailment” in 1974, said Jones.
“We feel very fortunate,” said Tallman. “And we’re thankful all our guys are on the road to recovery.”
The garage was owned by C.R. Jones, the retired NYSHA curator; his son, Graham, lives in an adjacent home.
GoFundMe drives were set up for Roach, a patient-care technician, and Monington, a correctional officer at the Otsego County Jail. As of this writing, Roach’s has raised $12,125; Monington has raised $6,410.
In addition to the GoFundMe campaigns, the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market set up a “Fill the Boot” drive to collect donations for the fire fighters.
“People have really been stepping up,” said Tallman. “They’re dropping food off for them, different departments are offering to send their members, we even had a fire fighter from Minnesota making a trip out here to see them. As soon as it happened, he emailed me.”
And on Sunday, March 1, Roach and Monington were welcomed back to the Village with a fire truck parade, which took them over Murphy Hill, up Route 166 and past the site of the fire. Cooperstown EMS leaders Eric Pierce and Joel Bostwick, who picked up the injured men in Syracuse, even shaved their heads in solidarity.
“Jon had so many facial burns, including his ears and his forehead, that they had to shave his head to make sure there were no burns on top,” said Tallman.
Tallman has returned to service; Roach and Monington are still recovering. “We’re just happy to have them home,” he said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation with the Otsego County Office of Emergency Services and the state Office of Fire Prevention & Control.
“Once we have those findings, we may look at what we could have done differently,” said Tallman. “You just never expect anything like that.”
Now you see it, now you don’t! It’s magic, in evidence this afternoon at the Cooperstown Fire Department’s annual kids’ Christmas Party. Delighted by the mystery are, from left, Haley Kehoe, 14, and sister Natalie, 8, from Hartwick, Angelo Martinez, 8, Hartwick, and Alex Pernat, 11, Fly Creek. Inset, Abigail Pierce, 3, is determined to win a contest of skill. The annual Christmas party has been a Cooperstown FD tradition since 1940, according to Joe Carentz, who joined the department in the 1960s. He and Bob Satriano said the party used to begin in Smalley’s Theater, a half block away, then end up at the fire hall on Chestnut Street. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
HOLIDAY PARADE – 3 p.m. Celebrate the holidays on Main St. Line up at 3, parade at 4. Main St., Oneonta. Visit www.foothillspac.org
TREE FESTIVAL – 3 – 7 p.m. View Christmas Trees beautifully decorated by area individuals, businesses. Production Center, Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. 607-431-2080 or visit www.foothillspac.org
TREE LIGHTING – 5:30 – 8 p.m. Celebrate the lighting of the Christmas Tree in Muller Plaza, Oneonta.
THANKSGIVING – 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Walk off holiday meal on scenic stroll through historic village with your loved ones. Admission by donation. The Farmers’ Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1450 or visit www.farmersmuseum.org
It didn’t take long. With temperatures in the 60s today for the first time since last fall, the Cooperstown Volunteer Fire Department was responded to the first brush fire of the season, near the intersection of Route 33 and Kraham Road just north of the Village of Cooperstown. No damage was reported. But be sure, more brush fires are to come. (Bill Waller/AllOTSEGO.com)
COOPERSTOWN – In all, six business, including the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Cooperstown Farmers Market and Stagecoach Coffee were selected from 25 finalists to be the 2019 inductees into the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Chamber Business Hall of Fame.
Also named to the Hall of Fame were Pathfinder Village, The Cooperstown Bat Company and the Cooperstown Fire Department.
EARTH DAY FESTIVAL – 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Celebrate Earth Day, have fun, and learn about your environment at fun interactive exhibits, workshop, and more. Milford Central School, 42 Main St., Milford. Call 607-547-2536 Ext 0 or visit occainfo.org/earth-festival/
CIDER RUN – 10 a.m. 5K/10K run open to children and adults to benefit the Susquehanna Animal Shelter. Fly Creek Cider Mill, 288 Goose St., Fly Creek. Call 607-547-9692 or visit www.flycreekcidermill.com
OPENING RECEPTION – 5 – 7 p.m. Celebrate the opening of “An Artistic Discovery,” featuring works by 100 Otsego County students. Displayed thru 3/31. Cooperstown Art Association. Call 607-547-9777 or visit www.cooperstownart.com
FILM SERIES – 7 – 10 p.m. Race Matters Film Series features a screening of a major motion picture, followed by discussion led by community/religious leaders. This months film is “Get Out” (2017). Rated R. Rescheduled from 3/2. Free. The Community room, near JC Penny, Southside Mall, Oneonta.
Give the gift of Christmas to children in need. To participate in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program CLICK HERE!
THANKSGIVING FUN – 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tour the farm, watch interpreters bake treats at the farmhouse, visit the blacksmith, more for this special holiday weekend. Admission by donation. The Farmers Museum, Cooperstown. Call 607-547-1450 or visit www.farmersmuseum.org
VIKING FORGE – 5 p.m. Prepare for battle with BORAN who will teach how to make foam weaponry. Bring 1-3 rolls of duct tape to share. All other materials provided. The Oneonta Teen Center, 4 Academy St., Oneonta. E-mail OurOTC@gmail.com