Story and Photos by Steve Grogan, Ex Capt. Lynbrook FD

First 4 photos by Jason Lapp, Malverne FD Juniors

January 5th, 2002


Lynbrook’s Bravest fought its second major house fire and its third fire since Christmas Day on Saturday, January 5, 2002.  On January 5th, Lynbrook’s volunteers were called out just after 3:30 PM to a reported house fire at 68 Davison Avenue, just off Hempstead Avenue.  Lynbrook firefighters, including First Deputy Chief John Obanhein, were on the scene within one minute of the alert and Deputy Chief Obanhein immediately broadcast a “Signal 10” for a working fire.  Heavy smoke was already billowing from the house and flames were blowing out of side windows in the two-story house when the first firefighters arrived.   Luckily nobody was in the house at the time.

          Vulcan Company was first fire truck on the scene, followed by Tally-Ho Company, Engine Company, Truck Company and Hose Company.  Vulcan Company immediately dropped hose lines at the house and proceeded to the hydrant up the block.  Truck Company moved into the front of the house and raised its ladder to the roof.  As Vulcan Company firefighters stretched three attack hose lines into the burning house they were assisted by Tally-Ho and Engine Companies firefighters.

          As firefighters entered the house through the front door they were met with a wall of fire that was quickly consuming the first floor of the house.   Besides the intense heat they were also met with a heavy volume of smoke that blinded them and made movement into the house difficult.   At one point the side windows

of the house exploded in a ball of flame and rained glass on firefighters in the driveway.

In the meantime, Truck Company moved firefighters to the roof who cut holes in the roof with saws to ventilate the heat and smoke so firefighters could fight the fire below.  Firefighters crawled with their hose lines to the back of the house to a right rear bedroom where the main part of the fire was ragging.   One line was also sent to the left side of the house where the kitchen and dining room was also fully involved.  The third line was sent to the second floor where the fire had also extended.  The fire was so intense at one point that Hose Company stretched an additional hose line to extinguish embers that had started a small fire on the garage of a neighbor’s home, as well as to wet down the roof of the neighbor directly next to the burning house.

Because Lynbrook firefighters were committed at the scene, Fire Chief John Matzen, who coordinated and directed the firefighting efforts, requested a mutual aid response from neighboring villages.  East Rockaway Fire Department sent a ladder truck, while Rockville Centre sent a ladder and an engine, and Lakeview sent an ambulance, to the scene.  The Malverne Fire Department sent an engine company and the Woodmere Fire Department sent a ladder truck.  Both of them stood-by at the Earle Avenue firehouse to cover other possible Lynbrook calls.

It took firefighters, who braved the intense heat and heavy smoke, to bring the fire under control in approximately 35 minutes.  They then spent another hour and a half overhauling the house and making sure the fire was completely out. 

Four Lynbrook firefighters were injured fighting the fire.   Two of them were treated at the scene by the department’s Emergency Medical Company and released.  A third firefighter was transported by the Lakeview FD to Mercy Hospital for hospital treatment.  His injuries were not severe.  The fourth was hurt after he fell down the stairs in the blinding smoke searching for the occupants of the house who turned out not to be home.

Chief Matzen requested a routine investigation by the Nassau County Fire Marshal’s Office.  Their investigation determined that the fire was most likely started by an electrical problem centered on two heaters that had been plugged into the same outlet in the back bedroom.  It is believed that the wiring overheated and started a fire in the bedroom wall.  As no one was home the fire burned and spread throughout the house for quite a while before being noticed by neighbors.  Damaged to the house was estimated at $250,000.  Firefighters were at the scene till nearly 6 PM.

Chief Matzen praised the efforts and teamwork of the volunteers.  “Even though the fire was consuming the house, our Lynbrook volunteers, placing themselves in harms way, made their way through the intense heat and smoke to extinguish the fire.  Our residents should be proud as I am of their efforts.”


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02/19/17 09:06

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Revised: 19 Feb 2017 09:06:47 -0500 .