News of Otsego County

Jim Tallman

TALLMAN: CFD Foregoes Donations In Pandemic

CFD Foregoes

Donations In Pandemic

To the Editor:

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.

Cooperstown Fire Department
(Editor’s Note: Regardless, donations may be mailed to Cooperstown Fire Dept., P.O. Box 1, Cooperstown NY 13326)

Fire Companies Salute Our Healthcare Heroes


Fire Companies Salute

Our Healthcare Heroes

Fire trucks from Cooperstown area companies descended on the corner of Fair Street and Atwell Road – the middle of Bassett Hospital’s campus – at 6:30 p.m. this evening, sirens sounding and horns blowing, in tribute to Bassett Hospital employees who have been on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus.  About 100 staffers from the ER, security and other departments poured out onto the lawn, ignoring the wind and freezing temperatures, to accept accolades, some carrying posters to salute the firefighters in return.  The tribute was proposed by Cooperstown Fire Chief Jim Tallman and Fly Creek Chief Chris Vuolo, and coordinated by Victor Jones, assistant director of Otsego County Emergency Services.   Middlefield and Richfield Springs also participated.   Inset photo, Chief Vuolo and Fly Creek Assistant Chief Jess Lanza unrolled a banner honoring our Healthcare Heroes.  Not to be outdone, Jan Calhoun, top photo, hoisted a placard honoring firefighters and EMTs in return.   Among her companions are, far left, Izees Abdallah, and, immediately to Jan’s right, Katie Kraham of Cherry Valley. Click photos to see them full size. (Jim Kevlin/

‘Ball of White Fire’ Engulfs Volunteers

‘Ball of White Fire’

Engulfs Volunteers

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

A colleague hugs Cooperstown Fire Chief Jim Tallman, who was also injured in the Feb. 26 Middlefield fire. (Jim Kevlin/

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.”

THE BOYS ARE BACK! Parade of Firetrucks Escort 2 Injured Firefighters Home


Parade of Firetrucks Escorts

2 Injured Firefighters Home

Injured Cooperstown firefighters (in top photo) Jon Roach, left, and Scott Monington are welcomed back to the village at 2:15 this afternoon by fellow volunteers Chuck Hascup of Hartwick, John Phillips of Fly Creek and Mike Donnelly of Cooperstown. Cooperstown EMS leaders Eric Pierce and Joel Bostwick, who had shaved their heads in solidarity with their injured colleagues, picked up Roach and Monington this morning in a Cooperstown ambulance from the burn unit at Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse.  Meanwhile, county Assistant Emergency Service Deputy Director Victor Jones and Cooperstown Fire Department Vice President Glen Falk planned a parade, inviting the other departments that fought the fire to gather at the Clark Sports Center at 1:30.  Middlefield, Fly Creek, Hartwick, Springfield, Cherry Valley and other departments supplied engines, which proceeded over Murphy Hill, up Route 166 and past the site of the fire in the hamlet of Middlefield, where they were greeted by cheers from wellwishers there.  In bottom left photo, Cooperstown Fire Chief Jim Tallman, who was himself injured and treated at Bassett Hospital, discusses last Wednesday’s events with Middlefield firefighters.  Lower right, Otego Firefighter Rebecca Chambers, who knew Roach from her work with the AMR ambulance service, drove up with kids Monica and Jasper to cheer him on.  Helping Monica hold the sign is Lizzy Mott of Middlefield.  (Jim Kevlin /
Cooperstown FD Douse Fire On County Route 28

Cooperstown FD Douses

Blaze On County Route 28

With the quick response of the Cooperstown Fire Department, a home in the Town of Otsego was saved from complete destruction. The fire, which is still under investigation, broke out at a home at the corner of Wedderspoon Hollow Road and County Route 28 just after noon on Saturday, but was put out in under an hour, according to Fire Chief Jim Tallman. Mutual aid was provided by Fly Creek, Springfield, Milford and Hartwick Seminary. Though the structure was damaged, it was not considered a total loss, and though the home is considered occupied, the owner was not at home during the fire. (Bill Waller Photo)
Following In Fire Chief’s Footsteps,Tallman Grandkids At Open House

Following In Fire Chief Footsteps,

Tallman Grandkids At Open House

Village Fire Chief Jim Tallman’s grandkids dipped their toes in the water this morning at the Cooperstown Fire Department “Heroes” Open House at the fire hall on Chestnut Street this morning, part of the 26th annual Cooperstown Winter Carnival. Visiting from the Albany area, Chief Tallman’s daughter-in-law Allison brought Claire, 4, and Nolan, 20 months, to witness firefighting demonstrations and other activities. The state police had a contingent, and the dean of the EMS squad, Fred Lemister, was demonstrating the Autopulse, a new apparatus that allows CPR to be administered automatically in the ambulance en route to the emergency room. How often has it been used? “Too often,” Lemister replied with his characteristic dry wit. (Jim Kevlin /
Accident at Bocca Osteria Closes NY-28

Accident At Restaurant

Closes NY-28 to Traffic

Cooperstown Fire Chief Jim Tallman hurries to the scene of an accident outside of Bocca Osteria on Route 28, just south of Cooperstown, a few minutes ago. The accident happened when a car pulled out of the Bocca parking lot and was struck by a vehicle coming up 28. . There were no injuries, but traffic is being diverted. (Ian Austin/
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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103