11/16/13 4:43pm
11/16/2013 4:43 PM
CARRIE MILLER PHOTO |  Ambulance officials declined to comment on the nature of the victim's injuries.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Ambulance officials declined to comment on the nature of the victim’s injuries.

A man was airlifted to an area hospital after a one-car accident on Flanders Road Saturday afternoon, officials said.

A green sedan traveling westbound crossed into the oncoming lane and crashed into a utility pole near Whitebrook Drive just after 2:30 p.m., said Riverhead Volunteer Fire Department chief Joseph Raynor.

Flanders-Northampton Ambulance officials declined to comment on the nature of the man’s injuries, saying only that he was being airlifted to Stony Brook University Medical Center.

Southampton Town police diverted eastbound traffic down Whitebrook Drive for about a half hour following the crash.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | A green sedan crashed into a utility pole on Flanders Road Saturday afternoon.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | A green sedan crashed into a utility pole on Flanders Road Saturday afternoon.

10/06/13 6:00pm
10/06/2013 6:00 PM

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | Riverhead Fire Department firefighters demonstrate a response to a car fire.

The Riverhead Fire Department hosted its 15th annual open house Sunday. The event featured a heavy rescue demonstration, fire trucks on display and tours of the Roanoke Avenue firehouse.

Check out scenes from the event below:

09/22/13 2:30pm
09/22/2013 2:30 PM
TIM GANNON PHOTO | Bikers arrive at The Maples in Manorville, the second stop of a charity poker run to defray medical costs of Tom Jasinski, a longtime Riverhead Firefighter who recently died.

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Bikers arrive at The Maples in Manorville, the second stop of a charity poker run to defray medical costs of Tom Jasinski, a longtime Riverhead Firefighter who recently died.

Saturday’s “Fighting 4 TJ” Poker Biker Run at the Elks Club in Riverhead was originally supposed to be a fundraiser to help Flanders resident and former Riverhead Fire Department volunteer Tom Jasinski offset the costs associated with his battle against stage 4 metastatic lung cancer.

Instead it became a memorial for Mr. Jasinski who died Sept. 3, a day before the event received approvals from Riverhead Town.

Marianne Katusha, Mr. Jasinski’s fiance, organized the event and she says the money will still be used to pay Mr. Jasinski’s $25,000 in medical bills.

Mr. Jasinski was only diagnosed with cancer in May, and his condition worsened quickly, she said.

“This was supposed to be a surprise,” she said of the fundraiser. “But at the end, I told him, because I wanted to see if I could give him some more incentive to live, but the cancer just ate him up.”

Mr. Jasinski was a 22-year member of the Riverhead Fire Department and a retired Riverhead Central School District security guard. Members of the security department were on hand Saturday to help set up at the fundraiser.

“He was the most courageous man I’ve ever met,” Ms. Katusha said of Mr. Jasinski. “He was my hero. He was the love of my life and the only man I’ve ever loved. This man, knowing he had terminal stage 4 metastatic lung cancer, drove 1,000 miles twice to take all of our belongings to Tennessee, which was the new home I had bought for us.”

“He was a former  Riverhead fireman for 22 years and he was at the 1995 wildfires,” Ms. Katusha said. “He was there every single day until those fires were put out. He was ready to roll out for 9/11  (2001) but his company got called back at the last minute.”

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Marianne Katusha, left, signs up bikers at a charity Poker Run to offset medical costs of her late fiance, Tom Jasinski, Saturday, at the Riverhead Elks Lodge. With her are Mr. Jasinski's daughter, Jackie Guastella, and granddaughter, Kailie Guastella.

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Marianne Katusha, left, signs up bikers at a charity Poker Run to offset medical costs of her late fiance, Tom Jasinski, Saturday, at the Riverhead Elks Lodge. With her are Mr. Jasinski’s daughter, Jackie Guastella, and granddaughter, Kailie Guastella.

Mr. Jasinski was a father of four and grandfather of six. His daughter Jackie Guastella and granddaughter, Kailie Guastella, were on hand Saturday to help with the fundraiser.

The Poker Run started at the Elks Club on East Main Street in Riverhead where motorcycle riders (or car drivers, which was allowed) picked up the first of six cards they would collect. The other cards were at check-in posts at the Boardy Barn in Hampton Bays, The Maples in Manorville, Cliff’s Elbow Room in Jamesport, Meetinghouse Creek Inn in Aquebogue and Diggers in Riverhead. Whoever had the best hand at the end won.

About 40 riders participated, Mr. Katusha said.

In addition to the poker run, where participants paid a $20 entry fee, there also was a 50-50 raffle and a Chinese Auction. More than 50 raffle items and 50 gift cards were donated to the event, Ms. Katusha said.

She said she was disappointed with the turnout for the fundraiser, but acknowledged that it took place at the same time as a number of other big events, including the Maritime Festival in Greenport and a 100th Anniversary Parade for the Eastport Fire Department. She said Saturday was the only day available for the event.

People interested in helping defray Mr. Jasinski’s medical costs can still do so by going to www.giveforward.com/fighting4tjmemorial or by sending donations by mail to Fighting for TJ, at PO Box 562, Riverhead, NY 11901, according to Ms. Katusha.

tgannon@timesreview.com

09/19/13 7:52pm
09/19/2013 7:52 PM
TIM GANNON PHOTO | Firefighters extinguish a mulch fire in Calverton Thursday evening.

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Firefighters extinguish a mulch fire in Calverton Thursday evening.

Volunteers from several local fire departments were called to help the Riverhead Fire Department battle a mulch fire on the southeast portion of the Calverton Shooting Range property off Nugent Drive  Thursday evening.

The call came in at about 6 p.m. and the fire was located deep into the property off a dirt road.

Riverhead called for help from pumper trucks from the Flanders, Eastport and Manorville fire departments and a truck from the Jamesport Fire Department was called to be on standby at the Riverhead firehouse. The fire was under control and the mutual aid trucks were released from the scene by 7:40 p.m.

The Brookhaven Town fire marshal,and Manorville Ambulance were also on the scene, as was a brush truck from the Flanders Fire Department.

Firefighters were on the scene for more than an hour and a half. Mulch fires are often difficult to extinguish because the internal heat within the mulch can often combust, officials say.

This was the second mulch fire firefighters responded to this week, after a large mulch fire broke out on a property on the east side of Horton Avenue in Riverhead early Wednesday morning.

tgannon@timesreview.com

09/18/13 12:11pm
09/18/2013 12:11 PM

About 100 fire department volunteers from six different departments were called out to extinguish an early morning mulch blaze by the intersection of Horton Avenue and Osborne Avenue in Riverhead, according to Riverhead fire officials.

Upon arrival to the 6 a.m. alarm, officials “immediately” called for mutual aid, said spokesman Bill Sanok.

The mulch fire covered an “extensive area,” consisting of several mulch piles between 18 and 20 feet high, Mr. Sanok said.

“In the mulch process, the internal heat can cause the material to spontaneously combust, and because the piles were so large there was tremendous heat,” he said.

The compost piles were made up of wood chippings, leaves and grass clippings, and piles needed to be broken apart to get at the base of the heat, Mr. Sanok said.

“They hooked up to hydrants and some of the departments brought their [water] tankers in,” he said.

It took about two hours to extinguish, ending about 8:30 a.m., officials said.

Volunteers from Riverhead, Manorville, Eastport, Westhampton, Flanders and Jamesport departments arrived at the scene, while East Quogue volunteers waited on stand-by at the Riverhead Fire Department.

No one was hurt in the blaze.

cmiller@timesreview.com

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.

psquire@timesreview.com

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.

07/21/13 9:00am
07/21/2013 9:00 AM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead firefighters compete in the 3-man ladder event Saturday afternoon.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead firefighters compete in the “Ladder Class B” event Saturday afternoon.

Down the track, the souped-up Riverhead Fire Department fire truck revved its engines, jerking forward like a racehorse ready to buck out of the starting gate.

With a roar, the engine took off at full speed, then slammed on the brakes a few hundred feet down the track. Firefighters clinging to the rear of the truck leaped off the back, latching onto the nearby hydrant and attaching a hose within seconds.

By then, the fire truck was more than halfway down the track. As the brakes squealed, two more firefighters jumped off, rolling onto the ground and grabbing the hose trailing out of the back of the truck. One firefighter quickly unhooked the hose, while another attached a nozzle and aimed as the water reached the end of the hose.

From the starting line to the cheering crowd, it took less than 11 seconds.

Teams of firefighters from across Long Island braved the heat to compete in the 27th Annual Invitational Motorized Drill hosted by the Riverhead Fire Department Saturday afternoon.

The competition, which began at noon and lasted nearly seven hours, was a series of events that tested the firefighters’ ability to scale ladders, hook up hoses and spray down targets as fast as they could.

Hundreds of people attended the competition held at the fire department’s training ground near the Armory on Route 58. Central Islip Fire Department came out on top during the drill, taking home several first place trophies and coming within a second of besting the state record for the “buckets” event.

See below for a slideshow of the day’s events: