Long Island, US, firehouse ravaged in Christmas morning fire
Much of a Long Island firehouse was destroyed after going up in flames on Christmas morning, leaving the chief in tears as he described the loss of two pumpers, a ladder truck, an ambulance and the volunteer department’s fire fighting equipment. A passing state trooper noticed the blaze at the unoccupied North Massapequa fire headquarters just after 6h00 and called it in, Fire Chief Joe Pesale said. “The first arrival was myself and my first lieutenant. Smoke was coming from the truck room,” Pesale said. “The immediate response was to transmit our signal 10, which is for a working fire, alerting everybody as well as multiple departments coming with mutual aid, especially being that this is our firehouse and our apparatus is on fire,” the chief continued. “We made an attempt to get the trucks out of the building. There were three small explosions which prevented us to,” he said.
A firewall prevented the flames from spreading to the main part of the building but the engine bay was ravaged in the conflagration and all the equipment was lost.
Fire officials said about 150 fire fighters from 13 departments battled the blaze. One fire fighter suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene.
The cause of the fire is believed to be “non-suspicious,” officials said.
“I can’t thank them enough as well as my own members, for doing such a great job on Christmas morning,” Pesale said after about 120 smoke-eaters fought to snuff out the flames. The volunteer department has 90 members and three companies. No fire fighters ever sleep inside the building, which only houses their equipment.
The 2020 budget for the North Massapequa Fire District, which oversees the department, is $3 million. “Right now the cause is still under investigation so everything will remain intact in the firehouse until we can further determine the cause,” Pascale said.
When asked about reports that the fire was sparked by an inverter, a device that takes incoming AC power to recharge a vehicle’s battery, the chief said he didn’t think so. “The problem that we had with an inverter was on another truck which was not involved,” he said.
Fire fighters managed to pull the ambulance from the flames but not before it was badly damaged as flames spread across its roof.
The chief became emotional when asked about the Christmas Day misfortune. “It’s tremendous. This is something we do on a daily basis to help everybody and it happened to us, tremendous, on Christmas. They came from their families and they’re here,” he said as he broke up.
“There is already a plan in place to protect our residents, for the remainder of the day and weeks to come,” he said. “We should have a handle on everything in the next 24 to 48 hours. But until then, we already have procedures in place to make sure the residents of North Massapequa are going to be protected,” Pesale continued.
“I have been in contact with all the surrounding departments and the outreach from the entire county as well as Suffolk has been overwhelming with support. People are willing to give us equipment, firehouses, whatever we need. So we will come back from this and we will come back better,” he said.
Source: New York Post