VIDEO: Rockville Centre Firefighters battle brush fire in Hempstead Lake State Park


Firefighters from the Rockville Centre Fire Department were called to the scene of a brush fire in Hempstead Lake State Park on Jan. 3, extinguishing the approximately 2,000-square-foot blaze in about two hours, according to Fire Chief Brian Cook.

Six other fire departments responded to the blaze: Lakeview, West Hempstead, South Hempstead, Valley Stream and Elmont.

Cook said that the fire, which he estimated to be between 100 and 200 feet wide and 1,000 feet long, was “in a difficult area of the park to get to.” He added that no one was injured as a result of the fire.

“We stretched about a 1000 feet of feeder line from a hydrant in Skelos [field],” Cook said, referring to what is now called the Rockville Centre Athletic Complex. The feeder line brought water to a Reliance Hose Company No. 3 truck located inside the state park. From the truck, firefighters worked to douse the flames until about 5:20 p.m., he added, approximately 40 minutes after the sun had set.

It was a chilly day, with temperatures in the high 20s and a light wind that Cook said likely had no effect on the spread of the fire.

Rockville Centre firefighters attacked the flames from the athletic complex, to the east, Cook said, while firefighters from the Lakeview Fire Department were stationed on the Southern State Parkway, to the west of the blaze.

Cook and Patrick McNeill chief of the Lakeview Fire Department both said they did not know the cause of the fire.

According to Heather McNeill of the Lakeview Fire Department, investigation into the cause of the blaze falls to the State Park Police, who she said are in the process of reviewing security camera footage and examining the scene. She added that the heavy snow the following day made the investigation more challenging than it otherwise would have been.

Cell phone video of the Hempstead Lake State Park fire, taken in the mid-afternoon.
Video courtesy Steve Cusano