Fireplace gets out of control, damages home


Valley Stream firefighters quickly stopped a blaze that began to spread from the fireplace of an East Beverly Parkway home last Thursday afternoon, saving the two-story house from ruin.

Firefighters were called to 59 E. Beverly Parkway shortly after 3 p.m. on Jan. 24. According to Second Assistant Chief James Ervolino, the homeowner had a fire going in the fireplace which got out of control. Flames spread into the walls.

“All you need is a small void around the chimney,” Ervolino said, adding that the Fire Department responds to at least one blaze like this each winter.

Firefighters had to break a couple of stained glass windows on the side to vent smoke from the house and extinguish flames that were burning around one of the window frames. The fire was confined to the living room around the fireplace and damage was minimal.

However, Fire Chief John Beck said the home was uninhabitable after the fire, because the Long Island Power Authority had to cut electricity to the entire house after the fire burned some electrical wires in the wall.

Ervolino said the homeowner called the Fire Department when he noticed the fire getting out of control. About 40 firefighters from Valley Stream, Elmont, Malverne and Hewlett responded to the scene under the command of Beck. The fire was under control within 20 minutes. No injuries were reported and everyone made it out of the home safely.

Beck said he and Ervolino were on scene within a minute of the call, and the first engine was there within three minutes. That quick response, Beck said, definitely saved the home, which had little visible damage from the outside.

The fire occurred during an extended period of cold weather, with temperatures in the lows 20s that day. While Beck said the temptation can be to keep a fireplace going constantly on cold days, homeowners must be careful and avoid stacking the wood too high, a condition he observed in this fire. “Don’t keep it burning for too many hours straight,” he said. “Make sure that the area is kept clean.”