07/14/15 12:49pm
07/14/2015 12:49 PM
John Pavacic, the Pine Barrens executive director, gave a presentation Monday night. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

John Pavacic, the executive director of the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission, gave a presentation Monday night. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

A proposal to scale back underbrush and tree branches, which threaten wildfires to grow even wilder, is scheduled to begin later this year in areas west of Pleasure Drive in Flanders.  (more…)

04/14/15 10:50am
04/14/2015 10:50 AM
Firefighters on the scene of Saturday’s brush fire in Flanders. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Firefighters on the scene of Saturday’s brush fire in Flanders. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

 

Firefighters in Flanders have been growing increasingly frustrated over the current condition of the woods there, which they say makes it difficult — and dangerous — to respond to and contain wildfires.

That frustration came to a boiling point during a fire in the Flanders woodlands Saturday that led to three brush trucks’ being damaged. Local fire chiefs then aired their grievances to RiverheadLocal.com, which published a story about the situation Sunday.

The biggest complaint concerns felled or dying oak trees, the result of a massive die-out that happened around 2008.

News-Review report from October 2009. (more…)

04/11/15 5:13pm
04/11/2015 5:13 PM
A Hampton Bays firetruck on the scene of Saturday's brush fire. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

A Hampton Bays firetruck on the scene of Saturday’s brush fire. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Firefighters battled a brush fire approximately nine acres wide for nearly two hours Saturday afternoon in Flanders, according to Flanders Fire Chief Joe Joe Pettit.

No injuries were reported and firefighters had the fire under control by around 4:45 p.m. (more…)

10/24/14 12:00pm
10/24/2014 12:00 PM
Michael DeNicolo is Flanders Fire Department's first 50-year member. Mr. DeNicolo thanks Commissioner Rob Merker (left) last week while Chief Joe Petit looks on.

Michael DeNicolo is Flanders Fire Department’s first 50-year member. Mr. DeNicolo thanks Commissioner Rob Merker (left) last week while Chief Joe Petit looks on.

Hundreds of firefighters have served the Flanders Fire Department since it was incorporated in 1948. But in all those decades, not a single one has served as long as ex-chief Michael DeNicolo.

As a teenager, Mr. DeNicolo, now 84, helped build the firehouse — literally brick by brick — when his father became one of the department’s founding members. While serving as chief in 1964, he helped fight back flames across swaths of land from Hampton Bays to East Quogue as the Pine Barrens burned. (more…)

10/11/14 3:00pm
10/11/2014 3:00 PM

A state audit of the Flanders Fire Districts finances found no discrepancies in the money paid out by the district, but warned that district procedures and records weren’t “adequate” to prevent errors or irregularities.

The district says they have already changed their policies to comply with all of the state’s suggestions.

(more…)

12/19/13 8:00am
12/19/2013 8:00 AM

TIM GANNON PHOTO | A coiled extension cord plugged into a space heater caused this Flanders home to be destroyed by fire Monday.

The fire that destroyed an elderly man’s home in Flanders Monday morning was caused by a 100-foot long extension cord that was plugged into a space heater and coiled in cardboard box with clothes piled on top of it, according to Southampton Town Fire Marshal John Rankin.

The 73-year-old sole occupant of the Pricilla Avenue home was rescued by a neighbor who pounded on his door and pulled him out of the burning house shortly before the fire intensified.

ORIGINAL STORY: Neighbor rescues man from burning house

“Extension cords are meant for temporary use, and you should extend them out to their full length, because that will dissipate the heat,” Mr. Rankin said.

The coiled extension cord heated in the box and eventually set both the cardboard box and the clothing on fire, said Mr. Rankin, who said a nearby mattress then went up in flames, too.

Joe Marshall, who lives just a few doors down, was driving past the house on the way to his mother’s house when he saw smoke coming out the window.

“As soon as he got him out, the whole house lit up, which indicates that the entirety of the house probably flashed over,” Mr. Rankin said. “Basically, this means that everything in the house catches fire at the same time, almost like an explosion.”

Mr. Marshall reported seeing overhead electrical wires leading into the house begin to explode.

The homeowner, Richard Morrison, was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment of smoke inhalation and second-degree burns on his back, caused by burning debris from the house falling on him, Mr. Rankin said.

Mr. Morrison was recently hospitalized with congestive heart failure, Mr. Marshall said.

Mr. Rankin said the home was gutted.

“He lost everything,” he said. “We couldn’t even find his car keys for him.”

tgannon@timesreview.com