The following article was submitted by Chief Jeffrey Clark of the Mineola Fire Department
The long awaited demolition of 250 Old Country Road in Mineola to make way for a new building is soon to take place. However, just before the wrecking ball was about to swing Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss and Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano were able to arrange for the Mineola Fire Department to have the opportunity to conduct a drill in the building.
The 10-department drill with over 100 firefighters participating, run by Mineola’s Chief Jeff Clark and the department’s training chairman Jack Stagnari, was a successful learning experience at every level for members of the Mineola, Williston Park, Carle Place, Westbury, Garden City, Garden City Park, New Hyde Park, Floral Park, Stewart Manor and East Williston fire departments.
“The five story “L” shaped multi level brick structure proved to be an excellent training ground for just about every conceivable scenario that we would encounter. Hundreds of feet of line had to be stretched, challenging search and rescues took place, forcible entry, aerial ladder challenges, hose thread couplings not compatible, there was a may-day and a missing firefighter situation and even a suspicious package,” Chief Clark said. “Department Training Chairman Jack Stagnari and Chief Brian Santosus developed the plan and thanks to their efforts the drill was successful.”
Rosanne Ruppel, president of the fire department ladies auxiliary and her members provided a repast following the drill allowing the firefighters to critique the dill. The auxiliary police under Chief Spae helped out with directing traffic away from the scene. MVAC was on hand and fortunately their services were not needed.
“This was a very unique and challenging opportunity,” Stagnari said. “Mineola Company One Captain Marotta led his team to the fifth floor stretching hose the entire way with no stand pipe available. Captain of the Truck Company Mat Sanderleaf’s team searched the fifth floor through a maze of hallways and offices forcing many doors and locating the simulated fires. They also located a victim and the suspicious package. Engine Three’s Captain DeStefano and his crew had to stretch line to the fourth floor on the number 2 side, across an outdoor deck to the adjoining building and then to the opposite end of that area – a challenging task to say the least. I was very impressed with the job Mineola as well as the other departments did.”