Shortly before 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 26, Wantagh Fire Department Dispatcher Denis McCann received several calls reporting a house fire at 3980 Wolkow Ave. in Seaford, with the possibility of occupants inside.
This prompted him to alert all Wantagh Stations to respond. A heavy column of smoke was visible from a distance and Second Assistant Chief Bill Stevens transmitted a “Signal 10,” Working Fire, upon his arrival. First Assistant Chief Leonard Mathewson arrived moments later and assumed command, reporting heavy fire throughout the two-story house. Engine 7, led by Ex-Captain Tom Brandon, was first to arrive and began to stretch a hose line to attack the flames, which was completely engulfing the front porch and rooms in the front of the house and was traveling rapidly to the second floor. Ladder 1, led by Captain Errico, arrived around the same time and commenced search operations. Engine 4, with Captain Tom Melendez in charge, arrived and provided a water supply from a nearby hydrant to Engine 7 and stretched a second hose line and went to work extinguishing flames on the second floor. Captain Steve Burke directed a crew from Engine 1, stretching a third hose line from Engine 7 and began to attack other pockets of fire. Ladder 2, led by Lieutenant Fratello, arrived and assisted with search, ventilation and overhaul operations. Interior operations were coordinated by Second Assistant Chief Bill Stevens and Third Assistant Chief Bill Van Leer.
Medical Command was established by EMS Captain Lincke with Rescues 2 and 5 as well as the Rehab Unit on scene. There were no injuries to fire department personnel reported.
The occupants of the home were assisted from the home by police officers who had responded and were taken to an area hospital by a Nassau County Police Ambulance to be treated for burns and smoke inhalation.
The fire, which caused extensive damage to the home, was brought under control in about 45 minutes, however extensive overhaul was required to ensure that there were no hidden hot spots and units remained on scene for just over two hours. Approximately 75 Firefighters/EMS personnel responded. Mutual aid assistance was provided by the Bethpage, Levittown, Seaford, Massapequa, East Meadow, North Bellmore and Merrick Fire Departments who provided additional apparatus, manpower or standby coverage for the duration of the fire. There were two additional alarms in the Wantagh Fire District during the fire, which were handled by standby units. Detectives from the Nassau County Police arson/Bomb Squad and Investigators from the Nassau County Fire Marshal’s Office were on scene to determine the cause and origin of the fire, although it does not appear suspicious.
—Submitted by Wantagh Fire Department PIO Kevin Regan