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

12/16/13 11:27am
12/16/2013 11:27 AM
TIM GANNON PHOTO | Firefighters at the scene of Monday's house fire on Priscilla Avenue in Flanders.

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Firefighters at the scene of Monday’s house fire on Priscilla Avenue.

An elderly Flanders man was rescued from his burning home by a neighbor Monday morning.

 

Joe Marshall said he was driving along Priscilla Avenue to his mother’s house Monday morning when he saw smoke rising from a house at 91 Priscilla Avenue.

“It didn’t look right,” Mr. Marshall told the News-Review.

“So I stopped and I was going to knock on the door, and when I got up to the door, I could hear the crackling in the window,” he said of the blaze, which started about 9:30 a.m. “I started pounding on the door to get his attention. I said ‘you have to get out!”

Mr. Marshall said the overhead electrical wires leading into the home were beginning to explode at this point.

The elderly man, who had already suffered burns on his back from things falling on him, and who uses a walker, came to the door and Mr. Marshall got him out of the building. He then gave the man his coat.

A Southampton Town Police officer at the scene confirmed that Mr. Marshall rescued the man, whose name was not released by authorities. The fire victim was the only occupant in the home, police said.

Smoke from the fire, which at its peak was scene pouring out of the sides of home, spread throughout Flanders Road.

Mr. Marshall, who lives just east of the fire victim’s property, said the man told him he had just had a heart operation and that his [homeowner’s] insurance had been canceled recently.

The man was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation by Flanders Northampton Volunteer Ambulance and transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center.

“I was getting ready to leave and my wife peered out the door and yelled “Smoke! Smoke!,” said another neighbor, Kevin Fleming, who lives across the street. “The flames were coming out the side and also out the front bedroom window. It was all orange. It was aglow.”

Additional information on the victim’s condition was not immediately available.

The Flanders and Riverhead fire departments responded to the scene to extinguish the flames.

Southampton Town and New York State police also responded.

The cause of the blaze was not immediately clear. Southampton Town fire marshals are investigating.

tgannon@timesreview.com