Written by Matthew A. Piacentini Friday, 13 May 2011 00:00
Mayor Ralph V. Suozzi and the Glen Cove City Council honored the emergency workers who risked their lives to save the life of a 19-year-old woman this winter, braving freezing temperatures and ice and snow to pull her from a burning house at daybreak.
The mayor recounted the story to the standing room only crowd at City Hall Tuesday night: The fire was reported to the Glen Cove Police Department at 5:10 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 15, when it was 26 to 32 degrees, with snow on the ground. The report was then called into the Glen Cove Fire Department who in turn notified its members. “Ex-Chief Pat Peet lives across the street from the location of the fire and immediately jumps into action,” he continued. “Pat meets the homeowner at the front door who told him that there was a female occupant still inside the burning house. Ex-Chief Pat tries to go into the house by the front door, but was pushed out by the heat and smoke from the fire. Pat meets Police Officer Ed Linares on the front porch and Officer Linares breaks the front bedroom window with his baton. This enables Ex-Chief Peet to be able to enter the bedroom. Pat started to search the room for the victim and was confronted with no visibility and extreme heat and smoke.
“Officer Linares realizes that the bedroom window that Pat went into was partially blocked by the headboard of the bed, so he went to the side of the house to find another window. At the side of the house he is met by Officer Frank Pallone. Together they found the bedroom window and pushed an air conditioner into the window to give Pat better access.
“Pat continued to search for the victim. He found victim at the foot of the bed unconscious. He attempted to lift her onto the bed, but was unable to due to the heat and smoke.
“At this point Lt. Justin Valeo who lives up the street came to Pat’s assistance. He entered through the front door and found the bedroom door. He met Pat in the bedroom by the victim, and Pat had to go for air.
“Pat came back to the victim and tried to assist Justin in lifting the victim up onto the bed, but was pushed out again by the extreme heat and smoke. All this time Pat Peet had no turnout gear or breathing pack on to protect him from the heat and smoke. Pat made it out of the window as the 1st engine was pulling up to the scene. He was met by Ex-Captain Al Shakal and told Al that Justin was still in the bedroom as well as the victim. Al was lifted into the window by the police officers and found Justin and the victim.
“Al assisted Justin lifting the victim onto the bed and to the window. She was pulled out of the window by Officers Linares, Pallone, Ex-Chief Vinnie Martinez and Chief Tony Tripp.
“The victim went into cardiac arrest and was turned over to the Glen Cove EMS Asst. Chiefs Tom Kenary and Matt Venturino who immediately started to perform CPR. EMTs Jake Jacobosen and Capt Jim Jones assisted in the care of the victim and transported her to Glen Cove Hospital. She was later transported to Nassau University Medical Center and placed in the burn unit. “
Mayor Suozzi said that this entire event happened within the first 10 minutes of the police getting the call and without any hose lines in place to protect the rescuers from the extreme heat and thick smoke. He said that two of the occupants in the rear of the building were with their father – “two beautiful little girls.”
He concluded, “It takes a certain kind of individual who places duty to others above self. It takes a certain kind of individual with the characteristics exemplified by these honorees. We can point to their training, their education, their individual and collective experiences working as a team, but there is something more. Call it courage. Call it guts. Call it the right stuff. These honorees were able to call on all of these tangible and intangible elements on this day and put it all together individually and as a team in a heroic effort that saved a human life.”
The mayor then honored nine people with the first ever Glen Cove Service Medallion, which reads, “In Special Recognition of your efforts for going above and beyond in service to our community.”
He told the nine brave emergency workers: “You did not just save a young woman’s life on the day of the fire, but you have given her every day since.”
Ex-Chief Patrick Peet – Engine & Hose Co. #4
2nd Lt. Justin Valeo – Chemical Engine Co. #1
Ex-Captain Alexander Shakal – Engine & Hose Co. # 4
Police Officer Eddy Linares
Police Officer Francis Pallone
2nd Assistant Chief - Matt Venturino
Ex-Chief Tom Kenary, EMT – Not attending
Captain James Jones, Paramedic
Jake Jacobson, EMT
Also called up and honored:
The mayor then presented to citations to members of the Glen Cove Police Department, Fire Department and EMS, as well as the mutual aid responders who don’t always get recognition:
Chief Anthony Tripp – Chemical Engine Co. # 1
1st Assistant Chief Rodni Leftwich – Hook & Ladder Co.# 1
2nd Assistant Chief Joseph Solomito – Pacific Engine & Hose Co. # 1
3rd Assistant Chief Philip Grella – Engine & Hose Co. # 4
Deputy Chief Robert MacDonald
Glenwood H&L, E&H Company – 2nd Assistant Chief Paul Ditrano
Sea Cliff Fire Department – Chief Andy Davis and Ex- Chief Michael Hallquest
Locust Valley Fire Department – 1st Assistant Chief Brian Nolan
Jericho Fire Department – Chief David Ginzburg and Lt. Kerry Ketsoglou
CW Post Public Safety – Lt. James Contarino and Paul Rappes Dominick Martone