A Riverhead firefighter suffered burns battling the house fire in Calverton yesterday and was taken by Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps to the burn center at Stony Brook University Hospital. He was treated and released last night, Riverhead Fire Chief Kevin Brooks said this morning.
Brooks did not identify the injured volunteer “out of respect for his privacy.”
The firefighter was among a group attempting to make their way to the second floor of the home.
“They were making a push to the second floor, going up the stairs. When they got to the top of the stairs, it got extremely hot and he got burnt,” Brooks said.
“That was the hardest call I’ve ever had to make, calling a mother to tell her that her son is in the burn center,” the chief said.
The injured firefighter has been a member of the department for about five years, he said. “He’s a young firefighter and a very good firefighter,” Brooks said.
Yesterday’s fire at 90 Alfred Avenue appears to have started in the attached garage of the two-story home, the chief said.
“We had two cars involved in the garage upon arrival,” Brooks said, “and there was a heavy fire load” on that corner of the house. “It was blowing out the front windows.”
The flames rapidly consumed the wood frame dwelling built in 2007 and owned since April 2008 by Marlando and Sandra Williams.
“There was fire rolling up the side of the house and the center of the house in the back,” Brooks said. “When that happens it compromises the roof. We had guys on the roof because you’ve got to vent that in order to fight the fire,” he said.
Wading River, Manorville and Ridge fire department responded to the scene on a mutual aid request from Riverhead.
Flanders Fire Department stood by at Riverhead’s headquarters and helped Riverhead handle additional alarms while Riverhead firefighters battled the blaze in Calverton. Those included a fire at the Suffolk County jail, an oven fire at a home in Calverton Hills, an elevator rescue in the Suffolk County Criminal Court building, and two automatic alarms — all while firefighting operations were active in Calverton.
“Yesterday felt a little like Armageddon,” Brooks said this morning. Riverhead Fire Department had nine calls over the course of the afternoon, he said. There were three active fires and a gas leak at Tanger Outlets.
“Everybody did a great job,” Brooks said.
Firefighters were called back to the scene last night when rubble in the garage began to smolder, Brooks said.
“When you have a fire that you believe is going to be investigated by the fire marshal and arson squad, scene preservation is key,” Brooks explained. “You have to walk a fine line between putting the fire out and being very methodical in your overhaul so the arson guys can investigate,” he said.
The Riverhead fire marshal called in the Suffolk County Arson Squad to investigate the fire on Alfred Avenue. The investigation is ongoing, Riverhead Town Police said.
RiverheadLOCAL photos by Peter Blasl except as indicated