Two Glen Cove men were rescued from their burning home last Friday morning after a housemate allegedly set the house on fire. The Glen Cove Fire Department, Police Department and EMS arrived at the scene, on Raymond Street, at around 9 a.m. and found the men trapped in the house. The quick response of the departments, as well as the actions of a neighbor, likely saved the men’s lives, according to officials.
“I want to commend our first responders for their professionalism and their bravery on Friday,” Mayor Tim Tenke said. “If it was not for their swift and heroic action, a devastating event such as this could have proved fatal for those involved.”
Before officers arrived, neighbor Larry Pascucci had propped his own ladder against the burning home, and that, police said, enabled Glen Cove Police Sergeant Marco Telese, Detective Eddy Linares, Detective Lt. John Nagle and Officers Matthew Gillespie and Brian Genova to extricate a 70-year-old resident from a second-story window and guide him down the ladder to safety.
“This was a great example of a tragedy being avoided due to the seamless work [of] all of our emergency services, doing what they do best,” Police Chief William Whitton said. “Lives were saved because of the collective quick thinking and selflessness that was on display at the scene of the fire.”
The second resident, a 51-year-old man who was unconscious, was rescued by firefighters from another second-floor bedroom. Fire Chief Marvin Tate said that five firefighters in particular were crucial in the rescue: former Capt. Donnie Schneider Sr., Billy Neice Jr., Peter Michaelas, Mike Mienko and Javier Valentin of the Freeport Fire Department. “Those five individuals were key in getting the critical victim out of the house,” Tate said. “If it was not for their efforts, that gentleman would not be where he is today.”
The 51-year-old victim was treated by Glen Cove EMS at the scene and airlifted to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow for treatment of his severe burns. He remained in critical condition as the Herald went to press. The 70-year-old victim suffered smoke inhalation, but has been released from the hospital.
EMS Chief Robert Picoli commended EMS responders Chris Demetropolis, Jason Heller and Matthew Shanhai for their “excellent patient care skills,” and said their fast response and joint effort were critical to the outcome.
“If it wasn’t for the police and Fire Department’s immediate actions on Friday, both of the residents could have died,” Picoli said. “If the three agencies hadn’t all worked together, there would have been a different outcome.”
Later that morning, Glen Cove police arrested Alex Kirton, 47, the third resident of the home, and charged him with first-degree arson and two counts of first-degree attempted murder. He was being held without bail at the Nassau County Correctional Center in East Meadow, Nagle said.
Glen Cove police, the Nassau County Police Department Homicide Unit and Arson/Bomb Squad, the State Police and the Nassau County fire marshal’s office were continuing an investigation. A citation ceremony for the first responders was planned for Friday in Glen Cove.