The Yorktown Heights Engine Company finished 2011 with the highest number of answered calls in a year, 778 emergency runs.
The department shot past the previous record of 614, which was recorded in 2009, during the nor’easter storm on Oct. 29.
Fire Commissioner Lou Mastro attributes the high call number to the storms the area endured last year. “We had major snow storms early in the year,” said Mastro. “Then we had the hurricane and then the big snow storm in October.”The fire department, which is an all-volunteer force, took in an average of 2.1 emergency fire runs every day. The department does not handle medical runs. That is the job of the Yorktown Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
“The volunteers save taxpayers millions of dollars every year,” said Chief Clint Loretta. “Every day, your neighbors volunteer their time to protect the lives and property of the residents, businesses, commuters and visitors of our town.”
There were over 80 calls within the 48-hour period of Hurricane Irene. Then in October’s nor’easter the firemen responded to 60 calls within a 48-hour period.
“The young guys were great, they were just living out of the firehouse,” Mastro said. “The rest of us would wait for a call at home, but those guys really hung in there.”
The Ladies Auxiliary would help bring food and drinks to the firemen during their busy periods.
Loretta is looking for more residents to join the ranks. “The increase in call volume means that the Yorktown Heights volunteers are being worked more than ever, which means we need more strong bodied volunteers to supplement our current force,” the chief said.
The Yorktown volunteer firemen meet on Monday nights at the station on Commerce St. Those interested in joining the department are encouraged to stop down there.
YHFD is responsible for fire protection for approximately 36.2 square miles and 30,000 residents and businesses. Although primarily a residential district, the dwellings range from modest single family homes to multi-million dollar mansions. It also includes six schools, a theater, 2 golf course, 6 miles of the Taconic Parkway and the IBM Watson Research Facility.
Additionally, the Croton Watershed area, which contains New York City’s water supply, comprises a moderate portion of the south end of the district, so there are no water mains available.