On Thursday April 5 at 2:49 p.m. the was alerted for a reported house fire on Columbus Parkway. Second Assistant Chief Leonard Schmitt answered the call, being advised by the dispatcher en route that the call was coming from a next door neighbor who saw smoke coming from the second floor windows of an adjacent home.
Chief Schmitt arrived on scene and transmitted as “Signal 98” which alerts responding firefighters of “smoke showing.” As the chief sized up the scene he was told by neighbors that the occupants may be out of the house for the day but it was uncertain.
Engine 162 and Engine 167 simultaneously arrived on scene and coordinated the engine evolution. Ex-Chief Louis Santosus manned the pump panel as Ex-Captain Jack Fernandes and Firefighter/Trustee Paul Cusato hooked up to the hydrant. First Lieutenant Michael S. DeStefano stretched a line with firefighter Danny Magalhaes and Ex-Captain Joseph Neves. They ascended the interior stairs and met Ex-Chief Robert Connolly who was forcing entry into the second floor apartment.
As Connolly broke down the door, firefighters were met with a heavy smoke condition. Fire was evident in the rear bedroom climbing up the walls toward the attic. The fire condition was reported back to Chief Schmitt who upgraded the call to a Signal 10, “Working House Fire.”
A primary search for victims was conducted as the engine made an aggressive interior attack on the Fire. Ex-Captain Chris Franz, Firefighter Don Franz and Firefighter Tom Behan thoroughly searched the fire floor for any victims. Using the department’s thermal imaging camera they insured that there was no additional fire extension behind the walls. Thanks to the quick efforts of the department the fire was contained to the second floor of the home with no extension into the attic.
Chief Schmitt was assisted at the command post by Captain Sandy Sonera, Lieutenants Carl T. Nunziata and Michael Montavano. The responded to the scene with a FAST (Firefighter Assistance Standby Team) and was also standing by with an ambulance. Mineola’s Firehouse was covered by additional mutual aid companies during the duration of the fire. The Nassau County Fire Marshall is investigating the cause of the fire. No injuries were reported.
This was the second working fire for Mineola in less than a week. On Sunday April 1, Mineola firefighters were alerted for a . First Assistant Chief Jeff Clark was first on the scene and was met by a fully engulfed work van with flames impinging on a store. The proximity of the fire to the front entrance door made it difficult for patrons and employees to evacuate the store. Luckily, a rear exit led them to safety.
Concerned that the fire would spread to the store Chief Clark called for a full Signal 10 response. The fire did damage the exterior of the donut before Mineola volunteers were able to put the blaze in check. Mutual aid was received from the Williston Park and Garden City Park Fire departments as well as Mineola Ambulance at the scene. No injuries were reported and the Nassau County Fire Marshals Office is investigating.