01/01/14 1:38pm
01/01/2014 1:38 PM
TOM LAMBUI PHOTO/LIHOTSHOTS.COM | Firefighters battle a Riverside Drive house fire from the roof Wednesday.

T.J. LAMBUI PHOTO/LI HOTSHOTS | Firefighters battle a Riverside Drive fire from the roof.

A Riverside Drive home owned by a local artist was gutted by fire Wednesday, sending one man to a hospital with burns to his face and requiring 80 volunteer firefighters from five nearby fire departments.

The fire broke out in the back of the two-story home shortly after 11 a.m., said Riverhead Fire Department spokesman Bill Sanok.

“When we arrived, there was heavy smoke coming from the back,” Mr. Sanok said. “The whole back of the building is torched.”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by Riverhead Fire Marshals.

MICHAEL WHITE PHOTO | Firefighters douse the remnants of a Riverside Drive fire on Wednesday.

MICHAEL WHITE PHOTO | Firefighters douse the remnants of Wednesday’s fire on Riverside Drive.

Riverhead police arrived on scene first, followed by the Riverhead Fire Department and shortly after, the Flanders Fire Department’s rapid intervention team.

Jamesport and Eastport Fire Departments followed suit, and a Wading River Fire Department ambulance reported on scene as well.

The home is owned by artist Rani Carson, whom a neighbor described as retired. Ms. Carson had taught art classes at Suffolk County Community College.

Mr. Sanok said three people were able to escape from the home safely, including the injured man.

The injured man was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment of second-degree burns, said Lisa Corwin, assistant chief with the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

Fire squads had to take to the roof to cut holes in the roof and a second floor wall to allow the fire to ventilate as they fought it, Mr. Sanok said.

The fire was under control in about an hour and volunteers were still on scene as of 1 p.m.

Neighbor A.J. Lacombe, who lives across the street from the damaged home, said he was alerted of the fire by his barking dog and saw quite the surprise upon looking across the street.

“I went out to see the police were here, then came the firefighters,” he said. “I saw the flames over the fence, about six feet tall.

“It was a matter of minutes and it went right up.”


09/08/13 8:17am
09/08/2013 8:17 AM
RACHEL YOUNG FIRE | Town authorities at the scene of Sunday morning's fire at 70 Segal Avenue.

RACHEL YOUNG FIRE | Town authorities at the scene of Sunday morning’s fire at 70 Segal Avenue.

Town fire marshals are investigating a fire that sparked in a vacant Riverhead house Sunday morning and burned through a couch inside before firefighters were able to respond and extinguish it.

The fire started about 7 a.m. at 70 Segal Avenue in the Milbrook Gables neighborhood off East Main Street, where someone had called 911 after seeing smoke rising from the building.

RACHEL YOUNG | Riverhead and Flanders firefighters responded.

RACHEL YOUNG | Riverhead and Flanders firefighters responded to the Segal Avenue property.

Riverhead and Flanders firefighters responded to what was described as an active fire and quickly brought the blaze under control.

Firefighters were wrapping up the scene by 8 a.m.

No arrests or injuries were reported by police or volunteers.

“It’s a vacant house,” said Riverhead Fire Department spokesman Bill Sanok. “The police thought someone was in there so we called Flanders’ rapid intervention team.

“If people were in there, they could have gotten them out in a hurry.”

Riverhead fire marshal Dave Andruszkiewicz said only that “an investigation is ongoing.”

This was the same house at which members of the district attorney’s East End Drug Task Force raided in February and arrested a 41-year-old man, Michael James, on drug charges.

Mr. James is due back in court on Sept. 18.

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09/03/13 5:00pm
09/03/2013 5:00 PM

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead firefighters responded to a small kitchen fire at Riverhead Landing Tuesday afternoon.

Two people, including a Riverhead Town police officer, were treated for minor smoke inhalation after a fire broke out in the kitchen of a Riverhead apartment building Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

An automatic alarm call at about 3:45 p.m. alerted Riverhead firefighters to the fire at Building 3 at Riverhead Landing. Fire Chief Joseph Raynor was the first chief on scene and he found smoke coming from the building, said first assistant chief Kevin Brooks. The building was quickly evacuated.

Riverhead firefighters arrived on scene and doused the fire, which started in a pot of “chicken wings” on the stove, Mr. Brooks said.

By 4:10 pm the fire was extinguished. The fire was contained to the kitchen, but Mr. Brooks said other parts of the building suffered smoke damage.

One person inside the building and a police officer assisting at the scene were both treated for minor smoke inhalation, authorities said. The resident was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center.


PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead firefighters responded to a small kitchen fire at Riverhead Landing Tuesday afternoon.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead firefighters responded to a small kitchen fire at Riverhead Landing Tuesday afternoon.

04/20/13 12:00pm
04/20/2013 12:00 PM

Fire department volunteers had to remove the doors to this Pulaski Street industrial building to get at the flames early Saturday Morning.

An early morning fire caused extensive damage to the western side of a Pulaski Street industrial building, fire officials said.

About 45 Riverhead and Flanders Fire Department volunteers responded to the building at 817 Pulaski Street, which is also home to the Long Ireland Beer Company, said Bill Sanok, press officer for the Riverhead Fire Department. Jamesport volunteers remained on standby.

“The call came in as a fire at Long Ireland Brewery, but it was in a section at the west end of the building,” Mr. Sanok said. “They were co-tenants.

“It was pretty extensive damage. The structure was OK but all of the insulation was burned off,” he said. “They had to take rip down the door to respond to the flames.”

MATTHEW FORREST COURTESY PHOTO | A fire broke out early Saturday morning in Polish Town.

Fire volunteers spent about two hours on the call, extinguishing the fire just before 4 a.m. Volunteers used truck ladders to cut venting holes on the north and south sides of the building’s roof, Mr. Sanok said.

Long Ireland Beer Company, located on the eastern side of the building, was filled with smoke as a result of the fire, but did not sustain any damages, said Greg Martin, the company’s co-owner.

“Nothing serious happened to us,” Mr. Martin said. “We were very fortunate.”

Mr. Martin said a part-time woodworking company uses the west side of the building.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the Riverhead Fire Marshall, Mr. Sanok said.


04/19/13 11:32pm
04/19/2013 11:32 PM

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Firefighters put out a house fire in Jamesport Friday night.

Jamesport Fire Department volunteers quickly put out house fire on Lockitt Drive that started while the occupants of the home were away Friday night.

“We had gone out and when we got back home, we heard the fire alarms and saw the smoke,” said Dieter Schwarz, who lives at the home with his wife, Laurie, and step-daughter Amanda.

“We called 911 and then we started getting our animals out,” he said.

The animals rescued were a dog, three cats, three birds and four turtles.

Mr. Schwarz said the home was filled with smoke when they opened the doors. They noticed the fire at about 8:45 p.m, he said.

Jamesport fire chief Duffy Griffiths said about 50 volunteer firefighters responded with help from the Mattituck Fire Department, which was on standby at the scene. The Riverhead Fire Department sent a rapid response team of veteran firefighters trained to rescue firefighters who may run into difficulty fighting the flames.

“We knocked it down real quick,” chief Griffiths said.

The Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance also was on the scene, although no one was injured and all of the animals were accounted for.

Mr. Schwarz said they breathed in smoke while looking for the animals but were OK.

The fire started in the back wall of the building, although the cause had yet to be determined, chief Griffiths said.

Mr. Schwarz said it appears to have started near a basement dryer, although he said the dryer wasn’t on while they were away.

Riverhead fire marshal Dave Andruszkiewicz is investigating the fire’s cause.


TIM GANNON PHOTO | Firefighters put out a house fire in Jamesport Friday night.

02/11/13 1:00pm
02/11/2013 1:00 PM

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | A Wading River Fire Department heavy rescue crew works at the scene of a car accident last year.

Like their neighbors in Riverhead, the Wading River Fire Department and EMS teams reported their busiest year yet in 2012, officials said.

But while last year’s wildfires in Manorville and Hurricane Sandy likely played a role in keeping firefighters busy, Fire Chief Jim Evans said the shift in numbers represents a new normal for Wading River.

“It’s just a sign of the times,” Mr. Evans said. “We’re always being pulled in another direction.”

The Wading River Fire Department responded to 271 calls in 2012, according to department records, up from 262 in 2011. The department had another 35 miscellaneous calls that weren’t reported on the year-end statistics since those were mutual aid calls, mostly related to the wildfires and other some emergencies, Mr. Evans said.

Automatic alarms, electrical and wire emergencies and smoke investigations all rose in 2012, though vehicle fires and outdoor fire calls dropped slightly, the report states.

Structure fire calls were nearly halved from 43 in 2011 to 27 in 2012, yet overall alarms were still up.

The Wading River EMS teams also reported a spike in calls last year, up by about 7 percent from 735 calls in 2011 to 784 calls in 2012, according to the report.

Mr. Evans said 2013 is currently on track to beat last year’s totals.

“We had our busiest January ever, so we’re still going,” he said last week, before the Friday into Saturday nor’easter hit.

Mr. Evans later said the fire department responded about 20 emergencies during the blizzard, and dug a half dozen stranded people from their cars on local roads the night of the storm.

Firefighters used brush trucks to get through the snow drifts as they checked on the abandoned cars to make sure no one was trapped inside, Mr. Evans said, but even those trucks were becoming stuck in the snow.

“This is pretty much unprecedented in terms of the roads,” he said. “We all need a break now.”

Those looking to join the Wading River Fire Department can fill out an application at the department’s headquarters on North Country Road.

For a detailed breakdown of last year’s fire department and ambulance calls, see the infographic below:

01/21/13 11:50am
01/21/2013 11:50 AM
Calverton, Fire, Riverhead Fire Department, Wading River

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The burned house was already boarded up Monday morning.

Chris was outside with his mother near their Twomey Avenue home Sunday afternoon when he first smelled smoke. He went inside to rest for a minute or two, then smelled smoke again.

He soon found out his front porch was on fire.

Calverton House fire, Riverhead Fire Department

RIVERHEAD FD COURTESY PHOTO | The Twomey Avenue house when it was fully engulfed.

“I opened up [the door to] the porch and it was up in flames,” said Chris, who did not want his last name published.

He and his mother escaped the ensuing blaze unharmed, but the fire spread quickly and the house nearly burned to the ground.

“It’s just devastating,” Chris said quietly while standing outside the ruins Monday morning. “You don’t think it’ll happen to you, but then it does.”

Riverhead Fire Department officials said they arrived on scene about 4:30 p.m. and found the two-story house fully engulfed. Firefighters from Riverhead, Jamesport, Flanders, and Wading River Fire Departments fought the blaze for about 45 minutes until it was brought under control, officials said.

Riverhead firefighters then returned to the scene Monday morning after warm embers in the burned house began to burn again. They quickly doused the sparking fire, fire officials said.

Chris said he’s lived at the house with his partner, Steven, and his mother since 2009 when they moved to Calverton from western Suffolk County.

They managed to escape with some of their pets, but the family lost pet birds in the fire. A black cat is still missing.

Chris said he and his partner had recently renovated the interior of the house and put a lot of “time, energy, and money” into several projects. But now the house and everything that was inside are lost.

Chris and his partner are now staying at a nearby hotel, while Chris’s mother is staying with friends while neighbors care for the family’s dogs.

An online fundraiser was set up this week by a family member to help raise money for the victims.

The victims said they are thankful for the offers of support from many in the community, but for the moment are just focusing on getting their affairs in order.

They need to get new cell phones, replace drivers licenses that were lost in the blaze, and talk to their insurance company to see if they can rebuild the house, Chris said.

“Hopefully, they cover this,” he said, glancing at the remains of his house.

The cause of the initial fire is still under investigation, according to the Riverhead Fire Marshal’s office.











09/19/12 3:19pm
09/19/2012 3:19 PM

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Residents of the apartment complex look on as fire officials and police investigate an attic fire Wednesday afternoon.

Riverhead firefighters put out an apartment fire that spread from a bathroom into the attic of an apartment building on Doctor’s Path Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.

Firefighters received the call about the fire around 2 p.m., after a relative of the tenant discovered smoke pouring out of the roof vents, the tenant said. The tenant, who did not give her name, said she was working at East End Cardiology when she heard about the fire. No one was in the apartment when the fire started, she said.

The fire began in the bathroom, and spread into the attic of the building, which houses several apartments, said Riverhead Fire Chief Anthony White. Pale smoke could be seen blowing out of the vents near the roof as firefighters doused the attic.

The cause of the fire had not officially been determined, though the tenant and authorities said the fire appears to have been started when the ceiling fan in the bathroom caught fire and ignited the insulation above. No one was injured in the incident.

The Riverhead Fire Marshall arrived on the scene to investigate later in the afternoon. It was not immediately clear if the tenant would be able to return to her apartment.