105th Firemen’s convention kicks off in Westfield

WESTFIELD – Some 450 firefighters and guests were as mellow as the late afternoon weather, a tour of their camping spots revealed Thursday at the first full day of the Southwestern Association of Volunteer Firemen’s 105th annual convention being held in Westfield.

“(Today) will be the big day,” predicted Jim Pacanowski, general chairman of the event.

Tim Conmy of the Lake Shore Dept. in suburban Buffalo is membership secretary of SWAVF and confirmed 452 members and guests were registered late Thursday, and he expected some 500 or 600 more today and Saturday.

A hard early morning rain gave way to sunshine and mild temperatures, all welcomed by campers interviewed at some of the 31 dugouts throughout the village.

Lake Shore is the guest of Kevin Seblink on Union Street across from Welch Field. “These guys are great. All they’ve done is feed me,” Seblink said.

Dick Drew, a life member of the department, was equally enthusiastic about the location, “Couldn’t ask for a better spot,” he commented, adding, “It’s been gorgeous.”

Drew said he expected about 25 members of Lake Shore will visit for at least one day.

The SWAVF includes Alleghany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Erie county volunteer departments with 46 departments including Westfield present this year, the first time Westfield has hosted since 2005. Nineteen of the departments attending the convention are from Chautauqua County including Bemus Point, Brocton, Busti, Cassadaga, Chautauqua, Dunkirk Volunteer Firemen’s Association, East Town Dunkirk, Ellery Center, Falconer, Fredonia, Frewsburg, Kiantone, Mayville, Portland, Ripley, Sheridan, Silver Creek, Stockton and Westfield.

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