Update: Riverhead firefighter still in hospital since Thursday night blaze

04/02/2011 11:28 PM |

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Firefighters respond to an auto parts store fire south of Route 58.

A 34-year veteran firefighter was injured late Thursday while battling a blaze at a Riverhead auto parts store.

Richie Ligon was taken to Stony Brook University Medical Center for two broken ribs, said Riverhead Fire Chief Nick Luparella.

Mr. Ligon was still in the hospital Monday even though he was expected to be released over the weekend.

“They’re keeping him there for precautionary reasons,” Chief Luparella said. “He’s got a little problem with his blood pressure but he should be released [Tuesday].”

The chief said he couldn’t comment on the possible cause of the accident because it’s being investigated.

Almost a dozen trucks from Riverhead and neighboring departments showed to the 10:15 p.m. call at Apple Automotive Discount Center, located on Raynor Avenue just south of Route 58 and the Apple Honda dealership.

There, firefighters “were faced with extreme heat and smoke conditions,” officials said. But they “made a quick knock-down of the fire.”

“It was contained to one area where it’s believed to have started, and a little bit into the roof,” Chief Luparella said.

“I believe we’re looking at an electrical problem but I haven’t seen the final report,” he said of a possible cause, which town fire marshals are investigating.

The auto parts store is affiliated with the neighboring Apple dealership.

Departments from Jamesport, Flanders and Wading River assisted with the blaze. They were still on hand about 45 minutes later when, at 11 p.m., a fire alarm was called for a house in the Village Greens neighborhood in Calverton.

That turned out to be an oil burner fire that was quickly extinguished, fire officials said.

tgannon@timesreview.com

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