02/17/13 7:51pm
02/17/2013 7:51 PM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead firefighters put out a chimney fire Sunday night.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead firefighters put out a chimney fire Sunday night.

Riverhead firefighters scaled an ice-slicked roof in Calverton Sunday night to extinguish a chimney and roof fire, authorities said.

Fire officials received a report of a structure fire at a house off River Road about 6 p.m. The inside of the chimney as well as a part of the roof were on fire when they arrived on the scene.

The fire department set up two ladders on the steep roof of the residence and began fighting the blaze.

Firefighters Andrej and Branden Ceckowski climbed to the top of the roof and used two chimney flares — which suck the oxygen needed by the fire out of the air — and chemical extinguishers to put out the chimney fire, said second assistant fire chief Kevin Brooks. Firefighters also sprayed the roof with a fire hose to prevent it from catching fire again.

By 6:30 p.m. the fire was out. Though a homeowner was inside the house at the time of the fire, no one was injured, authorities said.

psquire@timesreview.com

01/29/13 11:32am
01/29/2013 11:32 AM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead firefighters made quick work of a fryer fire Tuesday morning.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead firefighters made quick work of a fryer fire Tuesday morning.

Riverhead firefighters doused a fryer fire at a Tanger Outlet fast food restaurant Tuesday morning, fire officials said.

The fire started about 10:30 a.m. at the McDonald’s in the Tanger 2 food court. Riverhead police got the call about an “active fire” at the restaurant and alerted the Riverhead Fire Department.

Firefighters arrived on the scene and quickly put out the fire burning in one of the restaurant’s deep fryers, said second assistant chief Kevin Brooks.

While other fire units returned to headquarters, Riverhead Fire Chief Anthony White and the Riverhead Fire Marshals remained on the scene to investigate what caused the fire.

psquire@timesreview.com

01/27/13 9:36pm
01/27/2013 9:36 PM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead authorities investigate the latest dumpster fire in Riverhead Sunday evening.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead authorities investigate the latest dumpster fire in Riverhead Sunday evening.

Update 1/29: Riverhead firefighters were called to the scene of two dumpster fires on Commerce Drive early Tuesday morning, bringing the total up to eight over the past four days, police said.

A man called Riverhead police about 4:30 a.m. to report the latest fires burning in two dumpsters behind the Harley Davidson property on east and north side of building, police said. Riverhead firefighters arrived on the scene and put out the fires, police said.

The two dumpster fires Tuesday marked the eight dumpster fire in the past four days. Fire officials and police said they have opened an investigation into the fires.

GOOGLE MAPS | Eight fires have been set in local dumpsters over the past four days, according to police.

GOOGLE MAPS | Eight fires have been set in local dumpsters over the past four days, according to police.

The first dumpster fire occurred about 3 p.m. Saturday at the  behind the Fairfield Apartment complex just north of Route 58 in a dumpster in the southwest corner of the property, authorities said.

The second fire was in a dumpster near TJ Maxx on Route 58  about 7:30 p.m. Saturday, with the third fire occurring at 11 a.m. Sunday in a dumpster near the Toy R Us on Route 58, police said.

The fourth dumpster fire occurred about 5:30 p.m. Sunday at a dumpster just a few hundred feet from the site of the first fire behind the same apartment complex on Roanoke Avenue, authorities said.

Firefighters were on the scene of a fifth dumpster fire about 7 a.m. Monday morning at the Fairfield apartment complex. Later that day another dumpster behind the TJ Maxx on Route 58 was set on fire about 4 p.m.

Over the weekend, five dumpster fires were reported in Southampton Town. It is not clear if the incidents are related.

Officials said the fires are being intentionally set and are putting lives at risk by diverting firefighters’ attention from other emergencies.

“Anytime you put fire personnel on the road, that’s when the danger goes up for someone getting hurt,” said second assistant fire chief Kevin Brooks.

The arsons are also forcing firefighters to focus their attention on the blazes instead of preparing themselves or being available for larger emergencies if they occur, he said.

“We’re utilizing resources for an arson, and we have plenty of resources, but if we’re responding to this we can’t respond to a house fire or if someone is trapped in a real emergency,” Mr. Brooks said.

Tuesday morning’s fire is the eighth garbage container fire in the past two days within a half mile of each other, police said.

Riverhead Fire Marshal David Andruszkiewicz said the fires are under investigation.

He agreed with Mr. Brooks, saying the incidents across town are costing time and money as firefighters are called to the scenes to put out the blazes.

More importantly, the fires would stress volunteers if other more serious fires or emergencies occurred while they were putting out the dumpster fire.

“Lives are at risk,” Mr. Andruszkiewicz said Sunday.

Anyone with information about the fires is encouraged to call the Riverhead Fire Marshal’s office at 727-3200 x601.

psquire@timesreview.com 

01/27/13 4:25pm

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO

After fighting two dumpster fires this weekend, Riverhead firefighters were called to an empty Riverside building Sunday morning after water began leaking from the roof, fire officials said.

The fire department got a call for an automatic water flow alarm at the commercial building at 226 Riverleigh Ave. near the Flanders traffic circle about 2:20 p.m.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | By 3 p.m., the water had stopped leaking from the building.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | By 3 p.m., the water had stopped leaking from the building.

Riverhead fire officials found water streaming from the attic and leaking from the second floor onto the first floor and into the basement when they arrived on the scene, said third assistant chief Pete Jackman.

“Water was coming out from all over the place,” he said.

Mr. Jackman said fire officials suspected the water may have been coming from activated sprinkler systems in the building, so they called for backup.

Three fire engines came to the scene and traffic was closed in both directions on Riverleigh Avenue. By 3 p.m., the water had stopped leaking from the building.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | FIrefighters wait for a LIPA crew to arrive before entering the flooded building.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | FIrefighters wait for a LIPA crew to arrive before entering the flooded building.

Firefighters couldn’t enter the flooded building until a LIPA engineer arrived on the scene to turn off the power. Once inside, fire crews found no active fire and were dismissed.

Southampton Fire Marshals are investigating the incident. The cause of the water flow has not yet been determined.

The call was the latest in a busy weekend for the fire department, which battled a compactor fire near the T.J. Maxx on Route 58 Saturday night, Mr. Jackson said. Sunday morning, the firefighters put out a dumpster fire at Toys R Us on Route 58, he added.

The Riverhead Fire Marshal is investigating both incidents to determine the cause of the fires.

psquire@timesreview.com

01/20/13 8:11pm
01/20/2013 8:11 PM
COURTESY PHOTO | Four fire departments battled this fire on Twomey Avenue late Sunday afternoon.

RIVERHEAD FIRE DEPARTMENT PHOTO | Four fire departments battled this fire on Twomey Avenue late Sunday afternoon.

A house on Twomey Avenue was almost completely destroyed by a fire that raged for nearly an hour Sunday evening, sending two people to the hospital for treatment, authorities said.

Riverhead firefighters received a report about the fire in Calverton about 4:30 p.m., fire officials said. When they arrived on the scene, the two-story house was fully engulfed in flames, said Riverhead Fire Department press officer Bill Sanok. Fire officials reported a large column of black smoke rising from the house.

“It was flames up from the ground to the roof,” Mr. Sanok said.

Two people were in the house at when the fire started, but were able to escape, police said. They were taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment, police said. An update on their condition was not immediately available.

Firefighters from Jamesport, Flanders, and Wading River Fire Departments were called in to help battle the blaze, Mr. Sanok said.

After about 45 minutes, the fire was under control, and firefighters were “mopping up” the smoldering remains of the house, he said.

Riverhead Fire Marshals were on the scene late Sunday night, but had not yet determined the cause of the fire.

Neighbors who live near the house said the family that lived there was new to the neighborhood and had just moved in two years ago.

“It’s a shame,” a neighbor said of the destruction. “A real shame.”

psquire@timesreview.com

RIVERHEAD FIRE DEPARTMENT PHOTO

RIVERHEAD FIRE DEPARTMENT PHOTO

 

RIVERHEAD FIRE DEPARTMENT PHOTO

RIVERHEAD FIRE DEPARTMENT PHOTO

 

RIVERHEAD FIRE DEPARTMENT PHOTO

RIVERHEAD FIRE DEPARTMENT PHOTO

 

12/30/12 8:00am
12/30/2012 8:00 AM

PAUL SQUIRE FILE PHOTO | Governor Andrew Cuomo shakes hands with a Ridge firefighter in Calverton April 10.

The largest Long Island wildfire in over a decade burned more than 1,000 acres of forest and property from Ridge to Calverton — with other, smaller fires breaking out in Flanders, Yaphank and elsewhere — during a prolonged dry spell in April.

The larger “Wildfire of 2012” damaged dozens of structures and forced evacuations in neighborhoods along Wading River Manor Road in Manorville. At its peak, a plume of smoke could be seen from much of Suffolk County and Connecticut.

Manorville firefighter Andrew Preli said the fire was like nothing he’s ever seen in his three years of volunteer service.

“I’ve been on a bunch of brush fires,” he said. “Nothing this crazy, nothing this big. It sounded like a train coming through.

“Everywhere I looked something was on fire.”

Firefighters from more than 100 departments across Suffolk and Nassau counties spent over two days bringing the flames under control. One Manorville volunteer, William Hille, 35, suffered severe burns to his face after he and two colleagues had to abandon a brush truck that caught fire in the woods.

The truck was destroyed.

All responders were later honored with a “firefighter appreciation festival” at the Brookhaven Amphitheater, which featured free concerts for volunteers and their families.

Investigators later determined the fire was intentionally set on undeveloped property at the Brookhaven National Laboratory site.

Suffolk County police are offering a $10,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest.

mwhite@timesreview.com

12/24/12 4:04pm
12/24/2012 4:04 PM

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Riverhead Fire Department volunteers quickly extinguished a dryer fire Monday afternoon.

Marjorie Andrews said she was just about to head out at about 3:10 p.m. Monday when she decided to first see if the clothes she had in the dryer were ready.

Instead, she discovered that the dryer, in the basement of the Millbrook Lane home, was on fire. She immediately called the Riverhead Fire Department.

“They were here in less than three minutes,” she said. The fire was under control minutes later, she added. “They are really quick out here,” the Philadelphia native said. “They don’t get there this quick in Philadelphia.”

The dryer was new, she said, and she had checked the lint trap beforehand, so she believes the fire was electrical.

“I’m glad I didn’t leave,” Ms. Andrews said.

The Riverhead Town fire marshal was called to investigate the cause of the fire, and volunteers from the Riverhead Fire Department stayed on scene to ensure that the fire was out, before returned to the station at about 3:50 p.m.

tgannon@timesreview.com

12/24/12 2:26pm

WHAM COURTESY PHOTO | The scene of a the fire Monday morning in Webster, N.Y., where two fire fighters were shot and killed and three other emergency responders were injured.

Reports that two firefighters were killed and two more were injured along with a police officer after a gunman shot them at the scene of a fire in upstate Webster came as particularly troubling news to local first responders this Christmas Eve.

“It’s especially bizarre because of this time of year,” said Southold police chief Martin Flatley. “There’s usually a lot of anger directed toward police officers because they make arrests and write tickets, but firefighters’ dealings with the public are usually to save lives, so that’s very unfortunate. ”

The shooting, which occurred after the fire was reported at 5:45 a.m., comes just 10 days after a gunman in Connecticut left 20 children and six adults dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It marks the fourth mass shooting in the U.S. this month.

Police in Webster, which is more than 400 miles from here in Rochester, say they believe the fire was intentionally set by the shooter.

“Volunteer firefighters and police officers were injured and two were taken from us as they once again answered the call of duty,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Monday.

The news hit close to home for volunteer firefighters like Dennis Hamill  an ex-chief in Riverhead, who said the shooting puts local volunteers on high alert.

“We in Riverhead very rarely ever have had any trouble with people threatening our lives or any kind of violence,” said Mr. Hammill, chairman of Riverhead’s Board of Fire Commissioners. “But you just have to be very, very aware.

“You always have to keep it in the back of your mind. We have no answers for Connecticut. We can’t see in people’s heads. You just have to be aware of your circumstances.”

Chief Flatley said it was once common for NYPD officers to be dispatched to fire scenes specifically to protect firefighters at the scene in the rougher neighborhoods of New York City, but that’s not something done on the North Fork.

“There used to be random violence against firefighters in bad neighborhoods [in NYC],” he said. “But we’ve never had anything like that happen out here.”

Jim Lessard, an ex-chief in Mattituck, said Monday’s shooting strengthens the argument for stricter gun laws in America.

“At this point after what happened in Connecticut, as the president has indicated, something needs to be done,” Mr. Lessard said Monday. “I don’t care what the NRA says about the constitution. Slavery used to be in the constitution.”

On Friday, National Rifle Association president Wayne LaPierre called for more guns in the wake of last week’s shooting, proposing to put an armed guard in all schools to protect students and staff.

“To hell with the NRA, let’s fix these laws and enforce them,” Mr. Lessard said.

gparpan@timesreview.com