Glen Cove residents Tony Lagos, owner of Burger Boys Bar and Grill, and longtime friend Kevin Losee were sitting outside the restaurant on Aug. 31 enjoying a warm evening summer breeze. Typically, the street is silent during evening hours, but the quiet was shattered by broken glass and desperate cries for help just before 11p.m. Lagos and Losse sprang from their seats realizing they had to answer the urgent pleas.
When they arrived at 1 Alvin St., owned by the Charles Evans Center of Glen Cove, they saw the two-unit residence engulfed in flames. Lagos and Losse risked their lives to save residents from the blaze.
After forcing his way inside, Lagos ran into the smoke-filled home and up fight of stairs. He carried a deaf man, who didn’t know about the fire, downstairs to safety. The pair worked together to vacate all four residents from the home, who were rescued within minutes of Lagos and Losse’s heroic efforts.
Lagos grabbed a hose to battle some of the flames on the porch, a pile of nearby newspapers, grass and the side of the building. But he was unsuccessful.
The Glen Cove, Sea Cliff, Roslyn and Glenwood Landing fire departments arrived just moments after the residents were evacuated. The fire continued until 1 a.m., completely destroying the home. Residents lost everything, but Glen Cove Police report that nobody was seriously injured. As a precaution, one woman was transported to Glen Cove Hospital.
Lagos brought the residents back to his restaurant where he offered his neighbors food, drinks, and whatever clothing he could find.
The cause of the fire hasn’t been released, but common, everyday tasks that typically go unnoticed can ultimately be the cause of any house fire. Nearly 60 percent of home fires occur because of a lack of smoke alarms or smoke alarms in disrepair. Eighty percent are caused by space heaters and wood stoves, and of every five home fires, two begin in the kitchen.
Even though the residents were taken to nearby towns or were able to stay with family, Lagos’ generosity didn’t come to an end after the fire was extinguished. That evening he made numerous posts to Facebook advertising a clothing drive to help the victims rebuild their lives, and also held a fundraiser on Sept. 12 at Burger Boys Bar and Grill to benefit the now displaced victims.
Lagos’ fundraiser raised roughly $1,400 of which $1,100 was a donation from Glen Cove’s Church of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin and St. Sergius on Alvin Street. Those who came to the fundraiser enjoyed a number of rounds of bingo, with prizes ranging from diffusers to home appliances including cordless drills.
Patrons like John Ferrara said he came because he wanted to support the neighborhood in any way he could and playing bingo was a great way to help while having fun. Although he lives within walking distance to the fire, he wasn’t there the evening of the blaze. When Ferrara first heard about his neighbors devastating loss, he immediately donated clothes and other essentials.
Like many others, Mayor Pamela Panzenbeck and Councilwoman Barbara Peebles said they were touched by the selfless nature behind Lagos and Losse’s acts.