At 3:24Pm on a windy Good Friday March 21, 2008 The Mineola Fire Department was alerted for a House fire on Brown Street. First Assistant Chief Rob Connolly arrived on scene and reported Signal 98 – “smoke is showing” from a 2 Story Private Dwelling. Based on the volume of smoke, Chief Connolly upgraded the call to a Signal 10 “Working House Fire”. Chief Connolly entered the home and was met by Ex-Captain William O’Connell of Truck Company Two. Inside the home there were two elderly occupants along with a healthcare worker. Smoke was beginning to fill the house as the firefighters and 3rd Pct. Police Officer John Faicco assisted in removing the occupants.
Engine 167 arrived first on scene and stretched a hose line to the front door. Engine Company Three Captain Michael Freitas and Lieutenant Sandy Sonera led Firefighters Michael Stack and Billy Symington up the stairs to the second floor as conditions rapidly deteriorated. Second Assistant Chief Joseph Pratt began coordinating the interior operations. Ladder 165 arrived on scene and Captain Jeff Clark immediately put his teams to work. Truck Company Two Lieutenant Carl Nunziata Sr. was assigned to lead a Search team with firefighter’s Chris Franz and Carl Nunziata Jr. Captain Clark also assigned Truck Company Two Lieutenant Nick Martone and his roof team including Firefighters Dan Dempsey, Rich Klein and Scott Strauss to begin opening the roof.
Williston Park FD Chiefs Bill Shannon and Gary Smithing responded to the alarm on a Mutual Aid along with Tower Ladder 862. Chief Connolly assigned Williston Park to assist with opening up the roof as smoke continued to billow from the second floor. The crew of Engine 161 also went to work as Firefighters Mike Marotta, Ken Cotroneo, John Paul Macedo and Joe Conlon pulled a second hose line to back up the initial attack line. The fire was darkened down and firefighters began the difficult task of opening up the attic and walls to check for any extension.
Several Mutual aid units assisted the Mineola Fire Department. Firecom dispatched the Garden City Park Fire Department to stand by at scene with a FAST Team. The New Hyde Park and Garden City Fire Departments relocated to Mineola FD Headquarters with an Engine and Ladder to cover Mineola in the event of another alarm. The Mineola Volunteer Ambulance Corp responded to the scene with three ambulances. One firefighter was transported to Winthrop Hospital for treatment of a hand laceration. The American Red Cross was also present to provide refreshments for the firefighters. The Red Cross also assisted the displaced residents with making arrangements for housing.
The Nassau County Fire Marshals office initiated an investigation and the preliminary results indicate that the fire appeared to have started in the kitchen ceiling and spread through the rafters into the attic. The Mineola Fire Department’s rapid and aggressive interior attack is credited with containing the fire to the area of origin and preventing further extension to the surrounding homes.