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.


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.”


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.


09/28/13 6:27pm
09/28/2013 6:27 PM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Grand Marshal Michael DeNicolo, left, during Saturday’s parade.

Flanders Fire Department commemorated its 65th anniversary with a parade and party Saturday afternoon.

Dozens of fire departments from as far away as New Jersey joined in the celebratory parade, which made its way up Flanders Road from Longneck Boulevard to the Big Duck Ranch.

Two longtime members of the Flanders Fire Department were honored at the parade. Michael DeNicolo, who has 65 years with the department, and David Fox, who has been with the department for 48 years, both acted as Grand Marshals.

09/27/13 5:00pm
09/27/2013 5:00 PM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO  |  Artist Richard Anderson was commissioned to carve this tribute to Flanders' bravest in a tree in Sue Mastelli's front yard. Mr. Anderson also sculpted the works that line the boardwalk along the Peconic River in downtown Riverhead.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Artist Richard Anderson was commissioned to carve this tribute to Flanders’ bravest in a tree in Sue Mastelli’s front yard. The Flanders Fire Department will have a parade and party Saturday for its 65th anniversary.

Flanders Road will be closed to traffic for two hours Saturday afternoon while the Flanders Fire Department commemorates its 65th Anniversary with a parade and party.

The parade will start at 3 p.m. on Longneck Boulevard and will go west to the Big Duck Ranch, and the public is invited to a party immediately afterwards at the adjacent Flanders Men Club, said Flanders Fire District Commissioner Mike Spano.

“We’ll be honoring two longtime members and former chiefs, Michael DeNicolo and David Fox,” he said. The two will serve as grand marshals of the parade.

Mr. DeNicolo, with the department for 65 years, joined during the department’s first year of operation, when he was 18. His father was a founding member. Mr. Fox has 48 years with the department.

Flanders Road will be closed to traffic between Red Creek Road and Huntington Lane from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, and residents in the area have been given notice of the closure in advance, Mr. Spano said.

About 20 other fire departments will be in the parade from as far away as New Jersey and upstate New York.

The celebration party after the parade at the Flanders Men Club will feature free hot dogs, soda, music, a cash bar and a 50/50 raffle.


09/11/13 10:00am
09/11/2013 10:00 AM

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Artist Richard Anderson was commissioned to carve this tribute to Flanders’ bravest in a tree in Sue Mastelli’s front yard. Mr. Anderson also sculpted the works that line the boardwalk along the Peconic River in downtown Riverhead.

Flanders resident Sue Mastelli watched superstorm Sandy speed through her Fern Avenue neighborhood last fall, she thought of something positive that could come out of such a disaster.

“Trees are coming down all over the place and limbs and the whole bit,” she said this week. “So I’m just sitting here like ‘Wow. I’m gonna carve another tree!’ ”

Just a month before, Ms. Mastelli had hired Wading River artist Richard Anderson to carve a bird sculpture from a tree in her backyard. But this time, she decided, the sculpture would be different. This one would honor her neighborhood’s and the country’s bravest, specifically the heroes of the 9/11 terror attacks.

So three weeks ago, with his schedule cleared up, Mr. Anderson returned to Ms. Mastelli’s yard and took a chain saw to the bare 10-foot-high tree trunk left standing in her front yard, carving out the tribute that will sit on front of her home for a long time.

And it came just in time for the coming anniversary.

“With 9/11 coming up and our fire department parade coming up, what better thing is there to do than put up that, something good?” she said.

Mr. Anderson also sculpted the works that line the boardwalk along the Peconic riverfront in downtown Riverhead.

The Flanders resident of nearly 38 years, who also belongs to the Flanders Fire Department’s parade committee, said she commissioned the memorial to also to show the positive side of the neighborhood she loves. Her son, Keith Zambzryski is a captain in the department, she said.

“We always hear bad things in the newspaper [about Flanders] so let’s do something good,” she said.