East Meadow firefighters were alerted to a reported "House Fire" on Old Westbury Road near Melanie Drive at 3:53 pm on February 18.
Within minutes, all four East Meadow chiefs were en-route led by Chief of Department Philip Fertitta.
First on the scene, Third Assistant Chief Paul Kosiba had heavy smoke coming from the attic. He immediately transmitted a Signal 98. (Work . . . First engine in connect to a hydrant and stretch in).
Chief Fertitta arriving on the scene moments later took no chances and transmitted a Signal 10. (Reinforce the General Alarm assignment, adding Rescue 5, a Rapid Intervention Team, and a planned mutual aid response to cover East Meadow Fire Stations)
Moments after the Chiefs arrival "first due" Engine 614 arrived on the scene, connected to the hydrant and stretched two attack hose lines to the front door, as crews from Engine 3 assisted, and Ladder 2 checked for occupants, while making their way to the area of fire.
Assistant chiefs Eric Becker, and James Walsh, fully equipped, joined with Assistant Chief Kosiba, for their fire ground attack roles, as Chief Fertitta engaged East Meadow's Incident Command Post.
Moments later, the street filled with more equipment as Ladder 617, Engine 611, Engine 612, Heavy Rescue 616, and Rescue 615 arrived on the scene to back up the first in companies.
With the fire running inside a wall and already up into the attic, interior ladder company crews worked quickly to pull ceilings for the engine crews to extinguish the flames.
At the rear, inspections found fire running the soffit, which was quickly opened up and extinguished with a call for a third attack hose.
Within 15 minutes of arrival, all visible fire had been knocked down, as firefighters continued to poke for hidden pockets of fire. At one point, the fire had burned through a small area the roof. It was held without further horizontal extension.
Although nearly all rooms of the home were spared from the fire, damage from smoke, water, and fallen "blown in" insulation will require an extensive cleanup.
Firefighters worked to cover furnishing from the water, and soon located two surviving pet birds, returning them to the homeowner.
The Nassau County Fire Marshal responded to the scene to investigate the cause of the fire. The East Meadow FD Ladies Auxiliary responded with energy drinks for spent firefighters.
John J. O'Brien is an active Ex Chief of the East Meadow Fire Department. He is the District Supervisor of the Jericho Fire District and has over 30 years of Dispatch and Supervisory experience.