Fire Destroys Lynbrook House - Two Firefighters Injured

Story and Photos by Ex-Captain Steve Grogan

A fast moving fire destroyed a house in Lynbrook on April 7th that nearly trapped the occupants before Lynbrook volunteers with the help of neighboring departments put the fire out.  Two volunteers were injured. 

On Wednesday, April 7, 2004, a couple, a grandmother, and two children moved into the second floor of an old two family house located at 32 Horton Avenue, opposite Greis Park in Lynbrook.  The first floor residence of the house was vacant.  At about 8:15 that night after a day spent moving into their new home, heavy smoke suddenly engulfed the house from a fire that began in the basement.  The family called the Lynbrook Fire Department and told them they were trapped on the second floor.  Lynbrook’s fire radios were activated with the notification that the people were trapped.  Lynbrook Fire Chief John Crowley and his three deputy chiefs were first on the scene. 

Upon arrival, Chief Crowley immediately announced on his radio a “Signal 10” for a working fire as fire trucks began responding to the scene.  Chief Crowley said that the smoke was so thick from the fire that when he pulled into Horton Avenue from Sunrise Highway the street was completely covered in smoke and the house could not even be seen.   Upon the arrival of the fire chiefs the fire had already engulfed the whole north side of the home from the basement to the second floor and roof.  The chiefs also learned that the occupants of the house had in fact gotten out of the house and no one else was inside.

The first fire truck on the scene was Tally-Ho Engine 3 whose firehouse is on Horton Avenue just two blocks away.  Tally-Ho took the hydrant in front of 40 Horton Avenue and began stretching attack lines to the house.  In total, five hose lines were stretched from Tally-Ho.  Four attack lines and an additional back-up line.  As the fire trucks from Lynbrook’s other companies arrived on the scene they helped by manning the additional lines.  Tally-Ho had two lines operating while Hose Company, Engine Company and Vulcan Company each took a hose line to fight the fire which was quickly spreading and engulfing the whole house from the basement to the roof.  The first line was taken to the basement after the fire was knocked down on the outside of the house.  Another line was taken to the rear of the house while two lines were taken into the front door and to the second floor.  While the fire was quickly extinguished in the basement the fast spreading fire had already made its way up the interior walls to each floor and through the roof.   At times flames were leaping twenty feet above the roof.

While firefighting operations were initiated Lynbrook’s Floodlight Unit set up its command post operation to communicate with Nassau County’s Firecom and neighboring fire departments as well as putting up its light towers to light up the fire scene.   The Emergency Medical Company was also on the scene with its two ambulances to treat any possible injuries. 

Both of Lynbrook’s Truck Company ladders were put into operation.  The tower ladder set up in front of the home on Horton Avenue while the second ladder set up on the north side of the house on East NY Avenue.  Engine Company stretched two feeder hose lines to the tower ladder from a hydrant over two blocks down on Hawthorne Avenue in Valley Stream.    The second ladder was used to put manpower on the roof to vent the fire.   The ladder trucks had some difficulty in maneuvering because the house was surrounded by tall trees.  Water from the Lynbrook’s tower ladder on Horton Avenue was later used to extinguish the fire in the roof and the second floor after Chief Crowley ordered all firefighters out of the building for a short time for fear of the roof collapsing.  After part of the roof did collapse into the second floor firefighters went back inside to continue to put out pockets of fire.

Mutual aid was called from Lynbrook’s neighboring fire departments.  The Valley Stream FD sent a ladder and an engine company to the scene.   The engine company from nearby Brooklyn Avenue fed water to their ladder on the East NY Avenue side of the house.   Valley Stream’s ladder helped to put out the fire in the rear of the house.  East Rockaway FD also sent a ladder to the scene which set up on Horton Avenue.   Malverne FD sent an engine that stood by to cover other calls in Lynbrook as did the Rockville Centre FD who sent a ladder to stand-by.  The Lakeview FD sent an ambulance to the scene.

It took over an hour for firefighters to bring the fire under control and nearly two more hours to totally extinguish the fire.  Two firefighters were injured.  One with a possible broken ankle was treated by the Emergency Medical Company and then transported by the Lakeview FD ambulance to South Nassau Hospital.  A second firefighter also with a foot injury was treated by the Medical Company and released.  There were no other injuries.  

Chief Crowley called the Nassau County Fire Marshal’s Office to the scene, not because the fire was suspicious in nature but because of how fast the fire had traveled throughout the house.  There was a possibility that the fire may have been caused or at least spread by a gas leak in the basement of the house.  As of yet no determination has been made by the Fire Marshal’s Office.  Damage was placed at over $350,000.   Firefighters were at the scene till 11 PM.     


02/28/17 16:02

Copyright © 2000-2004 Lynbrook Fire Department. All rights reserved.
Revised: 28 Feb 2017 16:02:22 -0500 .



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