Valley Stream family homeless after fire


A family of five was displaced when a fire tore through their Viola Street home early Sunday morning. It took nearly 100 firefighters from eight departments about two hours to bring the blaze under control.

The fire broke out at about 5:45 a.m. on Oct. 7 in the basement and quickly spread through the house and beyond. James Ervolino, second assistant chief of the Valley Stream Fire Department who commanded the scene, said the flames appeard to have broken through a basement window and set a car on fire in the driveway. The flames then spread to the fence, then to the garage. “It was a fast moving fire, there’s no doubt about that,” said Ervolino, who was on scene within four minutes of the initial call.

The fire also spread to the first floor and attic of the house, and left a path of charred beams and possessions behind. Ervolino said part of the first floor collapsed into the basement. “I’m pretty sure the house is a total loss,” he said. “It was definitely a well-involved fire.”

There are no fire hydrants on the short dead-end street off Liberty Boulevard, Ervolino said, and firefighters had to stretch hoses about 800 feet from the nearest hydrant on Merrick Road. However, despite this obstacle, he said water was on the fire within three minutes of the first arriving units.

The fire was under control shortly after 7:30 a.m., Ervolino said. Three firefighters suffered minor injuries. Two were taken to a nearby hospital — one for a shoulder injury and one for a knee injury — where they were treated and released.

A father, mother and their three children lived in the house and escaped unharmed before firefighters arrived. At least one dog also made it out.

The American Red Cross provided the family with money for food and clothing. A spokesman from the agency said they were able to find another place to stay.

Valley Stream was assisted at the scene by the Elmont, Malverne, Hewlett, Lawrence-Cedarhurst, Woodmere, Lynbrook and Meadowmere Park fire departments. The cause is under investigation by the Nassau County Fire Marshal.