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Lynbrook Firefighters Battle Hempstead Avenue House Fire

Story & Photos by Ex Captain Steven Grogan

One firefighter suffered a broken collar-bone, another suffered from heat exhaustion, and four others received minor injuries at a raging fire that engulfed an old two and half story house at 188 Hempstead Avenue on May 8, 2009.  

At about 3:20 PM, the owner of a store in front of the house smelled smoke and notified the Lynbrook Fire Department which was dispatched to the scene.  The home, built in the early 1920’s is located behind a row of 10 stores on Hempstead Avenue between Alexander and Duncan Avenues.   The front entrance to the home is through a door between the store fronts.  A long corridor then leads to the house in the rear. 

Upon the arrival of the first firefighters heavy black smoke could be seen in the rear and above the store fronts.  Third Deputy Chief Anthony DeCarlo, upon his arrival, broadcast a “Signal 10,” for a working fire.  Vulcan Company 2 was first on the scene and took the hydrant on Hempstead and Alexander and stretched two attack lines.  They took the first line in through the front door on Hempstead Avenue while Tally-Ho Engine 3 members who had also arrived took the second back-up line into the building. 

The lines were taken to the second floor and eventually the attic area.  Truck Company also arrived and placed their ladder in front of the building.  Engine Company 1 drove around the block and took a hydrant on Grace Avenue. 

Engine Company 1 was forced to take down a portion of a neighbor’s back fence so they could stretch another two lines into the backyard of the burning home and where the majority of the fire could be seen.  One attack line was taken in through the back door to get at the fire on the first floor rear living room.  Hose Company also arrived and stretched an additional line to cover the store exposures closest to the house.  A search of the house by those first firefighters that entered the burning house found that no one was home.

It appeared that the fire began in the first floor rear living room and spread quickly up the walls into the second floor and then up into the attic and roof.  With the fire burning on all floors, Deputy Chief DeCarlo requested mutual aid from other departments in the Fourth Battalion, as well as other neighboring departments. 

In the meantime, Lynbrook Fire Chief Kevin Bien, who responded from out of the village, arrived and took over command of the fire scene.  He then worked with the arriving neighboring fire chiefs and coordinated the combined effort to extinguish the fire.  The swift attack on the fire with the hose lines brought the fast moving fire under control in less then 30 minutes.  Firefighters, however, overhauled the house for another hour and half.  Lynbrook’s Truck Company was assisted by neighboring ladder companies in opening the roof and pulling ceilings and walls to let firefighters put out the remaining pockets of fire throughout the house. 

The Nassau County Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the scene to investigate the cause of the fire.  The cause is presently “undetermined,” however it is not considered suspicious in nature.   Due to the extensive fire damage it is not known if the house is repairable.

The firefighter with the broken collar-bone was transported to South Nassau Hospital by Nassau County Police ambulance and was admitted.   Four firefighters with minor cuts and abrasions were treated by Lynbrook’s Emergency Medical Company.  Rockville Centre’s Floodlight Rescue Company also assisted and set up a triage tent across from the fire scene and treated the firefighter suffering heat exhaustion.  They also supplied water and comfort to other exhausted firefighters.    

Chief Bien expressed his thanks to the Lynbrook volunteers and to those neighboring departments for their assistance.  He said, “Everyone did a great job today, and working together as a team we were able to extinguish the fire.” 

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02/21/17 10:25

Copyright © 2009 Lynbrook Fire Department. All rights reserved.
Revised: 21 Feb 2017 10:25:36 -0500 .



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