At 9:28am, pagers activated for all East Meadow firefighters for a report of a house fire on Friends Lane in Westbury, an area protected under the boundaries of the East Meadow Fire District.
Also at 9:28 am, Assistant Chief Paul Kosiba radioed his response, soon followed by Assistant Chief James Walsh, Chief Phillip Fertitta, and First Assistant Chief Eric Becker.
Less than 2 minutes later, Assistant Chief Kosiba arrived on the scene, sized up the incident, and announced a Signal 10 (Working Fire, Re-alert a General Alarm adding Rescue 5, a RIT Team, and mutual aid coverage for East Meadow's soon to be empty firehouses).
At 9:33 a.m., East Meadow's Engine Company 4 radioed their response, immediately followed by Engine 613. Within the next 2 minutes, Engine 612, Ladder, 617, Ladder 619, and Engine 611, East Meadow's entire 1st alarm response were now on the road.
As arriving chiefs established East Meadow's Incident Command system and geared up for the attack, "First Due" Engine 614 was bearing down on the scene.
In the background, the sound of sirens grew closer as the southside units of Station 1 and 2 made their way down Carman Avenue to supplement those just arrived.
Engine 4, connected to a fire hydrant laid 300' feet of 5" supply hose to the fire, as firefighters from Engine 3 and 4 quickly pulled attack hose to the home and used tank water to push the fire back from entering other rooms of the home.
With more firefighters arriving on the scene, and two attack lines now in place, the main body of fire was quickly knocked down. Crews from Ladders 617 and 619 joined the interior attack checking to be sure all occupants were out, while others laddered the home, and soon checked for extension of hidden pockets of fire after the knock down.
The Westbury Fire Department was on the scene as the Rapid Intervention Team in the event any firefighters were trapped or in distress. Rescues 4 and 5 established a medical triage and treatment area in the event of any injuries. There were none.
Other mutual aid assistance came in the form of Levittown, Hicksville, North Bellmore and North Merrick fire departments.
PSEG long Island was called to cut power to the home for the safety of firefighters and prevent any further fire, while the Nassau County Fire Marshal was called to investigate the cause. The EMFD Ladies Auxiliary were on the scene to bring energy drinks and water to spent firefighters.
Fire damage to the home was cut off at the room of origin, a converted attached garaged, but not before the connecting door had burned through at the top and allowing heat damage to local areas on the first floor.
The home sustained water damage at the floor with most personal property salvageable as a result of the aggressive attack. The intense heat melted the siding of a neighboring home, however, the quick attack prevented any ignition.
In all, more than 50 East Meadow volunteers responded to the fire, with another 25 responding on mutual aid from neighboring fire departments.
John J. O'Brien is an active Ex Chief of the East Meadow Fire Department. He is the District Supervisor of the Jericho Fire District and has over 30 years of Dispatch and Supervisory experience.