At 10:42 a.m. on Nov. 6, the East Meadow Fire Dispatcher received the first of a few calls reporting a House Fire on Clover Court. Immediately Engines 1, 2, 3, 4, Ladder 1, 2, and Rescue 5 were alerted.
By 10:44 Chief of Department James Walsh signaled he was responding, soon followed at 10:47 by Engine 612. The first unit out off the general alarm assignment.
At 10:48 Chief Walsh arrived on the scene announcing "Smoke Showing". After a quick size up, the Chief radioed a Signal 98. (First pumper in connect to a fire hydrant and stretch two attack hose lines, as dispatch re-alerts the initial response for additional manpower).
Finding the electric service on the house on fire, and smoke building up inside garage (attached to the home), Chief Walsh quickly called for PSE&G requesting a "forthwith response" to cut off the power to the home before firefighters could use any water.
At 10:48, first due Engine 612 arrived on the scene and followed the Signal 98 procedure, as all other companies were either on the road or readying to respond.
A few minutes later, Ladder 617 arrived on the scene to assist in opening up walls and carefully checking for extension a safe distance from the electrical service.
Within 10 minutes it became evident that the "first due" companies would be able the hold the fire at bay in the wall behind the electrical service, as more firefighters and rescue personnel, some leaving their place of work, amassed in the street.
Taking no chances, Chief Walsh requested dispatch to "cover the houses" bringing in the North Bellmore FD, North Merrick FD, and Wantagh FD, to standby in the event of any other emergencies in town.
Rescues 4 and 5 established medical command, triage, and a treatment area in the event of any injuries. There were none.
Now on scene, PSE&G linemen disconnected the service to the home. Only then, were firefighters able to confirm the full extinguishment of the fire area.
Due to the quick response of firefighters and PSE&G, damage was held to the interior and exterior garage wall, and parts of the interior ceiling where firefighters opened to ensure no hidden spread of fire.
In all, 55 EMFD volunteer firefighters and rescue personnel responded to the incident on 10 pieces of apparatus, with another 15 volunteers from neighboring towns on standby.
A minor fire by comparison to others, with a few tense moment from complications of dangerous electricity requiring a strategy to prevent fire spread into the attached home.
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 40 years of Dispatch and Supervisory experience.