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Teenagers Save Elderly Couple from Burning House
Story & photos by  Ex Captain Steven Grogan

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Three teenagers are heroes today after awakening and helping two residents from their burning home on Union Avenue in Lynbrook early Monday morning, August 24, 2009.

Shortly before 1 AM, Danny Gallagher of Lynbrook, was walking down Union Avenue, and nearby, two friends, Gideon Stryker and Jacob Kayen, both of Hewlett, were also walking on Union Avenue near South Middle School.  All three first saw heavy smoke and as they got closer saw the roof of a house opposite the school at 342 Union Avenue engulfed in flames.  They ran to the house.  As one of them called 911 on his cell-phone the others began banging on the front door of the house.  It first appeared that no one was home but after repeated banging and shouting the elderly homeowners finally came to the door.  The youths then led them from the house after telling them their house was on fire.  They had been sleeping with the air conditioner on and totally unaware that the attic and roof above them was ablaze.

Newsday would later report that the homeowners said that the bedroom had been getting hotter that night so they raised the air conditioner to cool the heat down.  At that time the fire was all ready burning above their heads.  The couple had gone back to sleep. 

With the youth’s 911 call, the Lynbrook Fire Department was dispatched at 12:56 AM to the fire.  Upon arrival of Lynbrook Fire Chief Kevin Bien, a Signal 10, for a working fire was broadcast to the now responding fire units as the fire quickly rose about 20 feet above the burning roof. 

Engine Company 1 was first on the scene and took the hydrant in front of the school.  They took the first hose line up to the second floor and began fighting the fire which had now extended throughout the attic area.  A second line was also brought into the house by Engine Company and Tally-Ho Engine 3 members, which had also arrived.  When Truck Company arrived they laddered the house while its members helped pull ceilings in the upstairs bedrooms to get at the fire.  Later, using a portable ladder, firefighters climbed into the burnt-out attic to put out additional pockets of fire.  In the meantime, members from Hose Company, Vulcan Company, and the Emergency Medical Company stood-by.  The Command Post was also in operation during the fire and coordinated the mutual aid units and handled communications with FIRECOM. 

At the request of Chief Bien, Lynbrook received mutual aid assistance from a Fast Team from East Rockaway and a second ladder from Rockville Centre at the scene.  Additionally, Rockville Centre and Lakeview supplied additional stand-by equipment to cover any additional alarms in Lynbrook.  

Firefighters were at the scene till shortly after 2:30 AM.  The fire was believed to be caused by an electrical problem.  The homeowners were not injured and neither were any firefighters.

Chief Bien, who told Newsday, “They saved the couple’s life,” praised the three youths for their live saving efforts in getting the homeowners out the house, as well as the efforts made by the volunteers to quickly attack the blaze and contain the fire to the attic area.    

The day after the fire, Newsday mistakenly reported that only two teenagers were involved in the rescue of the senior citizen couple.  The paper left out Danny Gallagher of Lynbrook, who has already showed some interest in joining the Lynbrook Fire Department.

Additionally, camera crews from NBC, ABC, and Fox 5 News, were in Lynbrook on Tuesday interviewing the three teenagersat the house, as well as Assistant Chief Anthony DeCarlo, who filled in for Chief Bien who was working.  Our local Lynbrook Herald newspaper also interviewed the three and is writing a story for this week’s edition.

Chief Bien, on behalf of the Lynbrook Fire Department, will be recognizing the three with Citations at a Lynbrook Village Board meeting in September. 

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02/20/17 06:04

Copyright © 2009 Lynbrook Fire Department. All rights reserved.
Revised: 20 Feb 2017 06:04:44 -0500 .



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