07/17/12 11:00am
07/17/2012 11:00 AM

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Firefighters made quick work of a car fire south of Pulaski Street in Polish Town early Tuesday morning.

Riverhead firefighters quickly put out a small blaze that engulfed a sedan behind a Polish Town home early Tuesday morning.

No one was was hurt during the fire, officials said.

The fire department received the call for a vehicle fire on Hamilton Avenue at 3:32 a.m. The first fire chiefs arrived on the scene two minutes later.

A fire department volunteer at the scene said the car, which was parked behind a residence south of Pulaski Street was “flaming up pretty good” when firefighters first got to the scene. Firefighters had the fire under control by 4 a.m. while Riverhead police officers blocked off the road between Pulaski and Lincoln Streets.

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Riverhead Fire Department chief Anthony White said the car was unoccupied when the fire started, adding that the cause of the fire has yet to be determined.


04/18/12 3:55pm
04/18/2012 3:55 PM

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The inside of a burnt out 2001 Ford Focus that caught fire Wednesday afternoon in Calverton.

A Mattituck man and his passenger escaped from a car fire Wednesday afternoon in Calverton.

The driver, Atif Bashir, said he was heading home from Medford when his 2001 Ford Focus “started dying” after he smelled antifreeze.

“A friend of mine popped the hood and it was in flames,” Mr. Bashir said. “It was like one, two, three and it was gone.”

Riverhead Fire Department officials said the car fire occurred at about 2:16 p.m. on Edwards Avenue, just north of Riley Avenue, in Calverton.

No injuries were reported.

The Riverhead Fire Department responded to the car fire and extinguished the blaze by 2:45 p.m. Edwards Avenue was re-opened 15 minutes later.

Fire officials said the fire doesn’t appear to be suspicious.


03/21/12 2:32pm
03/21/2012 2:32 PM

COURTESY PHOTO | Jamesport Fire Department volunteers extinguish a fire at the Bayview Inn Tuesday night.

Jamesport firefighters quickly put out a small kitchen fire at an empty South Jamesport restaurant Tuesday night, preventing significant damage to the building, according to fire officials.

The fire department received an alert about an automatic fire alarm at the Bayview Inn at about 10:34 p.m., according to a statement from the department. Fire crews arrived on the scene and found smoke coming from the kitchen area of the closed building.

Firefighters entered the kitchen and put out the small fire. The fire was caused by rags and cleaning supplies that had “self-combusted,” fire officials said.

Chief Duffy Griffiths credited the firefighters’ quick response with preventing the fire from doing damage to the premises.


02/27/12 4:22pm
02/27/2012 4:22 PM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | Live in Riverhead but serve a fire department outside of town, if you hurry now you could be eligible for a tax exemption.

Fire department or ambulance corps volunteers who live in Riverhead Town but have served in a Suffolk County department that is outside the town will soon be able to quality for a 10 percent town tax exemption, if they’ve been in that department for more than 20 years.

But they better hurry.

The Riverhead Town Board is expected to approve that measure at a special meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday. In order to qualify, volunteers must file for the exemption by the end of the business day on March 1, which is this Thursday.  Town Hall closes at 4:30 p.m. that day.

Town Assessor Mason Haas said prior to this, the exemption was available to these volunteers only from their county tax, and the county tax in Riverhead isn’t that big to begin with. Volunteers who live in Riverhead and serve in a department in town are already eligible for the exemption. The state created the exemption several years ago and gives town, counties and school districts the option of enacting it.

“There are some people who live in the town but work outside the town and have joined a fire department or ambulance where they work,” Mr. Haas said. “Those people had not been eligible for the tax exemption that other volunteers receive.”

He said the move comes at the suggestion of Councilman John Dunleavy.

Mr. Haas said there are 15 volunteers who qualify for the exemption, and the total amount of the exemption, for all 15 combined, is $2,978.

The Town Board held a public hearing on the proposal on Feb. 7.


01/23/12 11:24am
01/23/2012 11:24 AM

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Emergency officials tend to the scene of a crash on Sound Avenue in Mattituck Monday morning.

The driver of a caravan looking to turn into a Sound Avenue driveway Monday morning was struck by a Mercury Cougar heading eastbound near Kirkup Lane in Mattituck, emergency officials said.

The van had been headed westbound before turning south toward the driveway about 9:40 a.m., officials said.

Both drivers were transported to local hospitals, according to Mattituck second assistant fire chief Erick Haas, though neither was believed to be seriously injured. The driver of the Cougar, who was aided by a pair of airbags that deployed in the crash, was transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center. The driver of the caravan was taken to Eastern Long Island Hospital, authorities said.

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01/07/12 11:50am
01/07/2012 11:50 AM

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Emergency responders at the scene Friday night.

A 63-year-old blind man died from injuries caused by a fire inside a home on Redbird Place in the R&R Mobile Home Park late Friday night, according to police and a friend of the man.

The name of the man has not been released while police attempt to contact his next of kin.

The man was a friend of homeowner Anthony Latasso, 58, who lives at 18 Redbird Place with his 28-year-old son, John.

John Latasso said Saturday that he didn’t know the exact cause of the fire, but he said the man liked to smoke a pipe in bed, which he lit with wooden matches.

The younger Latasso said he woke up to his father yelling at around midnight after entering the victim’s bedroom and finding his friend on fire and standing in the doorway.

“My father tore his clothes off,” John Latasso said. The father and son then took the victim outside of the trailer, where they waited for emergency services to arrive.

Anthony Latasso was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center and treated for third-degree burns that he received on his hands, his son said.

John Latasso said that while his father was outside with the victim, he filled the bath tub with water and used a small garbage can to transport water over to the bedroom to put out the flames. He said the victim’s bedroom was the only section of the trailer damaged.

John Latasso said his father lived with the victim for about 11 years and they were lifelong friends.

“I considered him as my uncle,” John Latasso said. “He’s known me since I was born.”

Riverhead Police said in a press release issued Saturday morning that the fire was contained to the man’s bedding. They said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The fire was called in at 11:46 p.m. Friday night and a Suffolk County Medevac Helicopter landing zone was set up by Riverhead Fire Department at the nearby Department of Motor Vehicles parking. The man was flown to Stony Brook University Medical Center, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

Tim Gannon contributed reporting.


01/07/12 11:06am

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Third assistant chief Kevin Brooks (second from left) and first assistant chief Tony White on the porch of the home.

A 54-year-old woman was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment of smoke inhalation after a fire broke out in her home on Maple Avenue in Riverhead Saturday morning.

Riverhead Fire Department Third Assistant Chief Kevin Brooks said the blaze sparked after Chiwana Leggon’s toaster caught fire shortly after 10:30 a.m. Mr. Brooks said he was the first on the scene and he found thick smoke seeping out the front door.

The kitchen cabinets were destroyed in the fire, he said.

Riverhead FD and Riverhead Police are all still on the scene.

The fire was the third in the past 12 hours in Riverhead and the second on Maple Avenue.