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Winthrop Street House Fire

Homeowner Awakes to Fire; One Cat Died, Another Saved. 

Story & photos by  Ex Captain Steven Grogan

   

The woman who resides at 45 Winthrop Street in Lynbrook awoke to the smell of smoke at about 4:15 AM on the morning of Saturday, November 20, 2010. 

She quickly rose from the bed and was met by heavy smoke and tremendous heat as she came out of her bedroom into the hallway.  A fire was burning in her basement and she could not get down the hallway through the heavy smoke to get out the front or side doors of her home.  In the chocking smoke she also could not find her two cats.  She was forced back into her bedroom and had to jump out of her first floor window into the backyard.  She then ran across the street to her neighbor and called the Lynbrook Fire Department.

Lynbrook firefighters, under the command of Chief Raymond Burke, were on the scene in a matter of minutes.  Tally-Ho Engine 423 was the first arriving engine and took the hydrant across the street from the burning home.  Firefighters immediately stretched a hose line to the side door of the house.  Tally-Ho members first encountered fire in the first floor hallway, off the kitchen, and on the nearby basement staircase.  That was quickly extinguished before they took the hose line down the basement stairs to fight the main body of fire.  A basement fire is one the most dangerous type of fire to fight.  The tremendous heat and heavy smoke are coming up the stairs as firefighters fight their way down the stairs to get at the main body of fire.  There is also the danger in the smokey darkness that the staircase could be burning and unstable.  The fire which started in the front corner of the basement had spread up the wall paneling and across the ceiling to the staircase where it climbed up the staircase walls to the first floor. 

With the first line down into the basement a second hose line was brought in to the first floor with the assistance of Engine Company 421 members.  A third back-up line was also stretched by Hose Company 424 and Vulcan Company 422 members, and they stood-by.   Truck Company 428 provided manpower to vent the house windows and provide overhaul of the basement after the fire was extinguished.   

Additionally, mutual aid was received by the Malverne Fire Department’s Fast Team which responded to the scene while three other surrounding departments provided an engine, ladder, and ambulance, to stand-by to cover other alarms in Lynbrook. 

During the height of the fire and while searching the first floor, Second Deputy Chief Anthony DeCarlo, found one of the woman’s cats under a bed and carried it to  safety.  It was semi-conscious.  The Emergency Medical Company, also on the scene, fully revived the cat with oxygen.  The second cat was not so lucky.  It was found dead near the basement staircase. 

Firefighters knocked down the fire in about 30 minutes and were at the scene for about 90 minutes.  A preliminary investigation determined that the cause of the fire was an electrical short in a wall socket that had a number of extension cords off of it.      

The homeowner suffered minor burns to her hair but she refused medical attention.   There were no other injuries.   

     

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02/21/17 09:03

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Revised: 21 Feb 2017 09:03:03 -0500 .

 

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