EMFD fights Berg Avenue fire


East Meadow Fire Communications received a 911 call at 11:19 p.m. from Firecom, announcing a house fire at 352 Berg Avenue.

One minute later, Chief of Department Philip Fertitta, Second Assistant Chief James Walsh and Safety Officer 6155 sent their response via radio and were soon followed by Third Assistant Chief Paul Kosiba.

Four minutes into the alarm, Engines 611, 612, and Ladder 617 were on the road.

Assistant Chief Walsh, first on the scene, immediately sent a Signal 98 (Active Fire: First pumper in connect to a hydrant and stretch 2 attack lines). Just seconds later, Chief Walsh upgraded the alarm to a Signal 10 (Working Fire: General alarm adding Engines 3, 4, and Rescues 4, 5, and Rapid Intervention team).

By 11:23, "First Due" Ladder 617 turned the corner, followed by the First Engine, Engine 1, who engaged East Meadow's operation 1 (Hydrant to house stretching two attack lines) as Engine 612 and Ladder 619 arrived to supplement "first in" crews.

As hose lines reached the front door, fire was showing out the left side door and soon at the front. Firefighters quickly gained entry and the interior battle was on. On the outside, firefighters vented the home to release the intense heat and control the path of fire travel, while others made their way to the second floor in search of any trapped occupants, finding none.

Within 15 minutes of arrival, all visible fire had been knocked down, as crews from Northside Engines 3 and 4 arrived to help. By this time, mutual aid assistance was entering East Meadow firehouses in preparation for any other alarms.

With smoke clearing and hose lines shutting down, it became clear that the fire had been confined to the front left side first floor of the residence floor due to the quick response and aggressive interior attack of East Meadow volunteers. Rescues 4 and 5 established a medical triage and treatment area where one resident was evaluated and another was transported having labor pain. No firefighters were injured, although the fire was confined to its original room, heat, smoke, and water damage was extensive throughout the home.

Mutual aid assistance was supplied to our firehouses from Levittown, Wantagh, North Merrick, and Hicksville Fire Departments, while the North Bellmore Fire Department Ladder 657 responded to the scene for RIT operations in the event a firefighter was trapped.

In all, 77 East Meadow volunteers responded to the fire along with approximately 25 more from the mutual aid assignments. The EMFD Ladies Auxiliary responded to ensure all exhausted firefighters were hydrated after the fire. An investigation into the cause of the fire was placed into the hands of the Nassau County Fire Marshal's Office. Damage to the home is expected to reach more than $50,000. 

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.