06/21/13 5:00pm
06/21/2013 5:00 PM
GOOGLE MAPS | Two people were rescued by a Good Samaritan in a kayak and Wading River firefighters Thursday evening.

GOOGLE MAPS | Two people were rescued by a Good Samaritan in a kayak and Wading River firefighters Thursday evening.

A kayaker helped Wading River firefighters rescue a father and his young daughter from Long Island Sound after their boat capsized Thursday evening, Wading River fire officials said.

A 36-year-old Shirley man and his 10-year-old daughter were in a canoe off Wading River beach on Creek Road when the boat flipped over about 6 p.m. and began taking on water, said Wading River Fire Chief Jim Evans.

“Luckily they had life jackets and a whistle,” Chief Evans said.

The kayaker, a Shoreham woman who was in the area, heard the two stranded boaters using a whistle and came to their aid while fishermen on the beach called 911, Chief Evans said.

The Good Samaritan then paddled next to the flipped canoe and let the girl into her kayak, while the father clung to the side of the boat until rescue arrived.

Wading River firefighters got to the scene about 6:10 p.m. and used a department rescue boat to bring the kayaker and the father and daughter back to shore.

All three were evaluated by Wading River ambulance volunteers, but were not injured, police said. Chief Evans said the kayaker’s quick thinking helped to get the boater back to shore safely.

“She was key,” he said. ”[She got] to them in minutes so they could stay afloat, and kept them visible in the water until our boat arrived and got them out.”


06/02/13 6:20pm
06/02/2013 6:20 PM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Wading River ambulance volunteers assist a couple that was stranded more than a mile off Wading River Town Beach Sunday.

A Ronkonkoma couple spent two hours stranded in the Long Island Sound Sunday after they had to abandon their inflatable rubber motor boat more than a mile off Wading River Town Beach, Riverhead Town Police said.

The husband and wife said they attempted to swim to shore after the boat’s motor died about 3 p.m., police said. Both of them were wearing life jackets and they were brought to shore shortly after 5 p.m. by a civilian with a raft.

Wading River Fire Department and Riverhead Police officials rushed to the town beach, where they evaluated the couple and treated them with oxygen.

The couple told police they had launched the boat from near Hulse Landing Beach and were about a mile and a half off the shore when the motor died.


02/11/13 1:00pm
02/11/2013 1:00 PM

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | A Wading River Fire Department heavy rescue crew works at the scene of a car accident last year.

Like their neighbors in Riverhead, the Wading River Fire Department and EMS teams reported their busiest year yet in 2012, officials said.

But while last year’s wildfires in Manorville and Hurricane Sandy likely played a role in keeping firefighters busy, Fire Chief Jim Evans said the shift in numbers represents a new normal for Wading River.

“It’s just a sign of the times,” Mr. Evans said. “We’re always being pulled in another direction.”

The Wading River Fire Department responded to 271 calls in 2012, according to department records, up from 262 in 2011. The department had another 35 miscellaneous calls that weren’t reported on the year-end statistics since those were mutual aid calls, mostly related to the wildfires and other some emergencies, Mr. Evans said.

Automatic alarms, electrical and wire emergencies and smoke investigations all rose in 2012, though vehicle fires and outdoor fire calls dropped slightly, the report states.

Structure fire calls were nearly halved from 43 in 2011 to 27 in 2012, yet overall alarms were still up.

The Wading River EMS teams also reported a spike in calls last year, up by about 7 percent from 735 calls in 2011 to 784 calls in 2012, according to the report.

Mr. Evans said 2013 is currently on track to beat last year’s totals.

“We had our busiest January ever, so we’re still going,” he said last week, before the Friday into Saturday nor’easter hit.

Mr. Evans later said the fire department responded about 20 emergencies during the blizzard, and dug a half dozen stranded people from their cars on local roads the night of the storm.

Firefighters used brush trucks to get through the snow drifts as they checked on the abandoned cars to make sure no one was trapped inside, Mr. Evans said, but even those trucks were becoming stuck in the snow.

“This is pretty much unprecedented in terms of the roads,” he said. ”We all need a break now.”

Those looking to join the Wading River Fire Department can fill out an application at the department’s headquarters on North Country Road.

For a detailed breakdown of last year’s fire department and ambulance calls, see the infographic below:

02/03/13 1:27pm
02/03/2013 1:27 PM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | A woman was injured when she rolled out of this Saturn Ion after it was hit by a Jeep.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | A woman was injured when she rolled out of this Saturn Ion after it was hit by a Jeep.

Two women were sent to the hospital Sunday afternoon following a two-car crash in Calverton, which knocked one passenger out of her vehicle, Wading River fire officials said.

A gray Saturn Ion was turning left into the Bean and Bagel Cafe parking lot when it was struck by a Jeep Cherokee driving west on Route 25, police at the scene said. A passenger in the Saturn rolled out of the vehicle when the force of the collision broke the door handle to the rear passenger door, authorities said.

Wading River firefighters were called to the scene with a heavy rescue truck, but it was not needed. The woman who was ejected from the Saturn and a woman in the Jeep were both hospitalized, said Wading River fire chief Jim Evans.

The woman in the Saturn was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center, while the passenger from the Jeep was taken to Stony Brook University hospital, fire officials said.


01/29/13 12:16am
01/29/2013 12:16 AM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Wading River firefighters cut a man out of a crashed car late Monday night.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Wading River firefighters cut a man out of a crashed car late Monday night.

A man and a woman were hospitalized late Monday night after the car they were driving in crashed into a utility pole on Route 25A while trying to avoid a deer in the road, authorities said.

The pair was driving west on Route 25A in a late model Buick sedan when a deer jumped in front of the car arbout 10:45 p.m., police said. The woman driving the car swerved out of the way of the animal but struck a nearby pole on the eastbound side of the road, police said.

Wading River Fire Department chiefs were at headquarters when the accident occurred and were the first ones on the scene, said Fire Chief Jim Evans. The driver of the car was able to get out of the vehicle on her own, but her passenger was pinned inside, he said.

Firefighters cut away the roof of the car to extract the man and had him out of the car after about 15 minutes, Mr. Evans said.

Both were transported to Stony Brook University hospital. While the woman suffered minor injuries in the crash, fire officials did not know the extend of the man’s injuries.

Fire police closed Route 25A between Hulse Landing Road and Route 25 asWading River firefighters got the victims out of the car and transported them to the hospital.


01/21/13 11:50am
01/21/2013 11:50 AM
Calverton, Fire, Riverhead Fire Department, Wading River

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The burned house was already boarded up Monday morning.

Chris was outside with his mother near their Twomey Avenue home Sunday afternoon when he first smelled smoke. He went inside to rest for a minute or two, then smelled smoke again.

He soon found out his front porch was on fire.

Calverton House fire, Riverhead Fire Department

RIVERHEAD FD COURTESY PHOTO | The Twomey Avenue house when it was fully engulfed.

“I opened up [the door to] the porch and it was up in flames,” said Chris, who did not want his last name published.

He and his mother escaped the ensuing blaze unharmed, but the fire spread quickly and the house nearly burned to the ground.

“It’s just devastating,” Chris said quietly while standing outside the ruins Monday morning. “You don’t think it’ll happen to you, but then it does.”

Riverhead Fire Department officials said they arrived on scene about 4:30 p.m. and found the two-story house fully engulfed. Firefighters from Riverhead, Jamesport, Flanders, and Wading River Fire Departments fought the blaze for about 45 minutes until it was brought under control, officials said.

Riverhead firefighters then returned to the scene Monday morning after warm embers in the burned house began to burn again. They quickly doused the sparking fire, fire officials said.

Chris said he’s lived at the house with his partner, Steven, and his mother since 2009 when they moved to Calverton from western Suffolk County.

They managed to escape with some of their pets, but the family lost pet birds in the fire. A black cat is still missing.

Chris said he and his partner had recently renovated the interior of the house and put a lot of “time, energy, and money” into several projects. But now the house and everything that was inside are lost.

Chris and his partner are now staying at a nearby hotel, while Chris’s mother is staying with friends while neighbors care for the family’s dogs.

An online fundraiser was set up this week by a family member to help raise money for the victims.

The victims said they are thankful for the offers of support from many in the community, but for the moment are just focusing on getting their affairs in order.

They need to get new cell phones, replace drivers licenses that were lost in the blaze, and talk to their insurance company to see if they can rebuild the house, Chris said.

“Hopefully, they cover this,” he said, glancing at the remains of his house.

The cause of the initial fire is still under investigation, according to the Riverhead Fire Marshal’s office.











12/11/12 10:27pm
12/11/2012 10:27 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Firetrucks parked in the existing fire station on Hulse Landing Road.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Trucks parked in the existing fire station on Hulse Landing Road.

Voters in the Wading River Fire District on Tuesday rejected a proposal to borrow $4.75 million toward building a new fire station on Hulse Landing Road.

The vote was 126 votes in favor of the new building and 198 opposed.

The district planned to replace the existing 5,100-square-foot fire station , which was built in 1982, with a new 11,500 square-foot structure.

In addition to the $4.75 million bond, the district also planned to use $1 million from its reserve fund, bringing the total cost of the project to $5.75 million.

The existing building has a leaky roof, heating and cooling systems that need to be replaced and problems with the underground LIPA lines, according to fire district manager Greg Michalakopoulos.

And volunteers’ gear is stored right up against the engine, which is now against OSHA regulations, he said.

Commissioner Tim Deveny said his taxes would have gone up $55 if the bond was approved.

“Over 365 days, it would cost me and my family 15 cents a day to have that new firehouse,” he said.

For most people in Riverhead Town, the estimated cost of the firehouse was $35 to $40, he said

“You can’t go out to a diner for that,” he said, adding that the commissioners will have to meet again and decide what steps to take next.

“You can’t keep putting good money into repairing that building,” he said.

Meanwhile, all of the area fire commissioner elections were unopposed in their bids for five-year terms Tuesday night, and all were re-elected, as there were no surprise write-in candidacies.

In Wading River, incumbent Tom Lateulere was re-elected with 276 of the 280 votes cast.

In the Riverhead Fire District, incumbent Mark Conklin was reelected with 67 votes, to two write-ins.

In Jamesport, Robert Sikora, running for the seat being vacated by longtime commissioner Jim Kane, who opted not to seek reelection, got 31 votes, to 3 write-ins, two of which were for Mr. Kane.

Jamesport also had an uncontested election for treasurer, with incumbent Paul Epperlein receiving 34 votes.

In Manorville, Thomas Costello, running for the seat being vacated by incumbent Robert McCluskey, got all 67 votes.

And in Flanders, incumbent David Scaffauer received all 13 votes cast in winning reelection.


12/11/12 9:00am

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO |  The Wading River firehouse outlived its life expectancy by nearly 10 years.

All of the fire departments in the Riverhead area will have uncontested elections for fire commissioner posts on Tuesday, but the Wading River Fire Department has a referendum on a proposal to build a new firehouse on Hulse Landing Road to replace the one currently there.

The Wading River proposal calls for demolition of the existing 5,132-square-foot firehouse, which was built in 1982, and replacing it with an 11,485-square-foot firehouse.

The total cost of the job is estimated at $5.75 million, but the district plans to use $1 million from reserve fund monies, bringing the amount of the bond to be voted on to $4.75 million.

The three-decade old fire station has outlived its life expectancy by nearly 10 years, according to district manager Greg Michalakopoulos.

The 5,000-square-foot, two-bay building houses five vehicles, one engine, ambulance, tanker and two fire police support vehicles, which need to be jockeyed around when they are used, he said.

The building has a leaky roof, the heating and cooling systems need to be replaced and there are problems with the underground LIPA lines, and the 25 member volunteers’ gear is stored right up against the engine, which is now against OSHA regulations, he said.

The new building will have an expected lifespan of 30 years, but the district plans to pay off the bond in 25 years, or less if possible, according to Mr. Michalakopoulos.

The tax impact is expected to add an average of $35 to $40 more in tax per year per household for 25 years in the Riverhead Town portion of the district, and an additional $50 to $60 per year per household in the Brookhaven Town side, officials said.

Voting will take place at the main fire headquarters on 1503 North Country Road in Wading River from 1 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

In addition to the vote on the firehouse, incumbent Wading River fire commissioner Tom Lateulere is running unopposed for a new five-year term.

Mr. Lateulere currently is the chairman of the commissioners.

In other districts, everything is unopposed on the ballot for fire commissioners, although a write-in vote is always possible.

In the Riverhead Fire District, incumbent Mark Conklin is unopposed for another five-year term. Voting is from 3-9 p.m. at the fire headquarters on 540 Roanoke Avenue in Riverhead.

In the Jamesport Fire District, longtime commissioner Jim Kane is not seeking reelection, and Robert Sikora is running unopposed for the five-year term.

Incumbent Jamesport treasurer Paul Epperlein is also running unopposed for a three-year term as treasurer.

Voting in Jamesport is from 3-9 p.m. at the fire house on 25 Manor Road in Jamesport.

In the Flanders fire district, incumbent David Schaffauer is running unopposed for a five-year term as commissioner. Voting is from 6-9 p.m. at the Firehouse on 19 Firehouse Lane in Flanders, which is off Flanders Road.

In the Manorville Fire District, which covers a portion of Riverhead Town, including EPCAL, incumbent commissioner Robert McCluskey is not seeking reelection, and Thomas Costello will run unopposed for a five-year term as commissioner.

Voting in Manorville is from 3-9 p.m. at the firehouse on 14 Silas Carter Road in Manorville.