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Lynbrook FD Receives Elks Club Award

 Story and Photos by Ex-Captain Steve Grogan

 A suspicious fire fought by Lynbrook firefighters on the evening of November 1, 2006 at a building on Sunrise Highway, has now resulted in the arrest of a Valley Stream man on arson and burglary charges after the man set the fire to cover up the theft of money.

 

At 6: 30 PM on the evening of November 1, 2006, the volunteers of the Lynbrook Fire Department, under the command of Fire Chief Keith Festa, were called out for a reported building fire at 815A Sunrise Highway near Reyam Road.  That commercial address is rented by the Order of the Sons of Italy of America Per Sempre Lodge #2344.  The Valley Stream man arrested is a member of the lodge.

 

When Chief Festa pulled up to the scene heavy smoke was coming out of the broken glass door on the front of the building.  He immediately broadcast a Signal 10 for a working fire to all responding Lynbrook fire units.  Vulcan Company 2 was the first engine on the scene and dropped a line at a nearby hydrant on Reyam Road, and went to the front of the building.  They stretched a two and one-half inch hose line into the building crawling under the heavy smoke down a long narrow hallway to get at the fire in the rear.  An intense fire was found in a back closet and back wall area. 

 

With the one line fighting the fire from the narrow hallway a second back-up hose line from Vulcan, manned by members of Engine Company and Tally-Ho, was brought to the front door.  An additional third hose line was used to cover Cutler’s Lighting for possible extension to the adjoining building.  Hose Company took the hydrant on Norman and Sunrise, on the other side of Cutler’s, in case additional water was needed.  Truck Company arrived with both its ladder trucks.  Both their ladder and bucket was put up to the roof.  Additionally, after the fire was knocked down Truck Company members pulled down the damaged wall area and ceiling area to make sure that fire had been stopped and had not spread further.       

 

During the height of the firefighting effort, Chief Festa requested a “Fast Team” from the Valley Stream Fire Department which sent a ladder truck and an ambulance to the scene.  Rockville Centre FD also sent a ladder.  East Rockaway FD sent an engine and an ambulance to stand-by at Vulcan Company to handle any additional alarms in Lynbrook while the Malverne FD also sent a ladder to stand-by. 

 

Firefighters took about 30 minutes to put the fire out.  They then secured the area of the fire and awaited the arrival of investigators from the Nassau County Fire Marshal’s Office and the Arson and Bomb Squad of NCPD after it was determined that the fire was of a suspicious nature and because the front door glass was broken and had not been caused by the fire.   After the arrival of the investigators samples of a possible accelerant were taken from the fire scene after a dog trained to sniff out accelerants found suspicious flammable substances in and around the fire area.

 

Newsday later reported in an article that the man accused in the theft and arson was Sons of Italy lodge member Louis W. Capone, age 28, of Valley Stream.  He was arraigned on November 3, 2006, in First District Court in Hempstead on the charges and is being held without bail.  Police told Newsday that Capone broke into the building knowing that several thousand dollars could be found there.  Also according to Newsday and the police, Capone stole “several hundred” dollars in cash that had been left in the unoccupied premises.

 

The Emergency Medical Company stood-by throughout the fire but there were no reported injuries to firefighters who fought the fire.  Firefighters were on the scene till around 9:30 PM.

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