Written by Daniel Offner Wednesday, 08 January 2014 00:00
While many enjoyed a relaxing sabbatical, this holiday season, the Farmingdale Fire Department was hard at work. On Dec. 28, firefighters were called to a blaze at 11 Vernon Street that emerged from inside the basement of the house.
Deputy Fire Chief Patrick Tortoso was the first to arrive. Storming into the first floor of the house, Chief Tortoso secured the building, making sure nobody was trapped inside.
At the scene, Fire Squad 924 Captain Ryan Tortoso led his crew to stretch a hose line to the back of the house, where the bilco doors were left open in order to vent out the smoke.
Capt. Tortoso said the nozzle team made an aggressive attack towards the basement to locate, confine and extinguish the flames.
Because of the think clouds of smoke billowing out from inside the basement, Capt. Tortoso—equipped with a thermal imaging camera—noticed the basement had been subdivided into an apartment.
Based on this, firefighters with Ladder Company 926 were able to open up the walls to check for any fire extension in the basement to the first floor.
“It got warm inside the basement, but we knew we had to make an aggressive attack to save the rest of the house and whatever we could in the basement,” Tortoso said.
Farmingdale Firefighters, along with mutual aid assistance from East Farmingdale, South Farmingdale, Bethpage, Plainview, Massapequa and North Massapequa Fire Departments, successfully put out the fire and prevented it from spreading any further.
“All companies did a great job at this fire,” Capt. Tortoso added.
Investigators with the Nassau County Fire Marshall’s office later determined that the fire originated from an electrical surge, after power was restored from a local outage.
Strapped with a helmet-cam, 19-year-old volunteer fireman John Senia was able to capture the nozzle team’s attack on film.
The next day, Senia posted the 23-minute video onto YouTube, and in just over a week’s time the video garnered over 11,000 views.
“I think it’s great the amount of views it’s getting,” said Capt. Tortoso. “The views and comments we have been getting nationwide have been very positive and show how training reflects upon our daily operations.”
Tortoso also said that it is the responsibility of a firefighter to protect themself, their fellow firemen, civilian life, and property when in the face of a fire.
“We’re getting a lot of credit for it,” said Senia, about the rising popularity of his YouTube video. “I’m happy to be around such a great group of guys and that the whole operation ran as smoothly as it did.”
According to Senia, the video shows people just how much the department’s weekly training exercises have paid off and captures the type of outcome that every firefighter strives for.
“Saving the house, like we did... that is the outcome we should be having,” he said.
Senia currently attends Nassau Community College, where he studies fire science with the hope of one day joining the ranks of the New York City Fire Department.