New York state briefs

Staff reports

Firefighter killed after being ejected from firetruck

ELMIRA — Ryan T. Barker spent much of his adult life fighting fires and responding to emergencies. On Tuesday, that job took his life.

A West Hill volunteer firefighter, Barker, 25, was killed Tuesday when he was ejected from the pumper engine he was driving. The engine crashed after Barker failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway at about 6 p.m., police said.

The accident occurred just north of Vanherhoff Road on West Hill Road A in Big Flats. Barker was alone in the vehicle and was returning from a grill fire on Harris Hill Road, police said.

“He brought a lot of enthusiasm to our department,” said Joseph Sullivan, chief of the West Hill Fire Department. “He was a very energetic firefighter.”

Chemung County Sheriff Christopher Moss said it could be weeks before authorities complete their investigation. He refused to speculate what caused the accident. No one witnessed the accident, he said.

Barker was trained to drive fire apparatus, officials said. The 1978 GMC pumper he was driving was carrying approximately 750 gallons, or 6,600 pounds, of water when it crashed. Officials would not say if weight was a factor.

The pumper engine was destroyed, officials said. Nearby departments are helping to provide coverage in the West Hill District.

Fate of Steve & Barry’s unknown

UTICA — A spokesman for Steve & Barry’s, a low-priced fashion retail store that filed for Chapter 11 this week, said the company has not made any decisions concerning store closings. The company operates a store at Riverside Center in Utica.

“The company is carefully analyzing all of its operations,” said company spokesman Jim Fingeroth. Officials also said the company will sell all or some of its assets to satisfy debt and eliminate 172 positions immediately.

Other stores in upstate cities include Albany, Auburn, Cheektogwa, Geneva, Henrietta, Ithaca, Kingston, Massena, Middletown, Niagara Falls, Olean, Rochester, Syracuse, Watertown and West Nyack.