Written by Owen Magee Friday, 12 August 2011 00:00
Hicksville firefighters were dispatched to a reported house fire on Friday, Aug. 5 at 9:21 p.m. Upon arrival, they found two homes side-by-side ablaze on Heitz Place off Park Avenue.
A total of five alarms were transmitted for firefighters and equipment to control the fast moving flames. Units from seven neighboring departments for manpower were called in. Twenty-one occupants were displaced by the blaze. The Red Cross was called to the scene to assist the residents. The fire started in the rear portion of house #79 and quickly spread to the house next door at #81. The Nassau County fire marshal was on scene to determine a cause along with the Town of Oyster Bay Building Department inspector. Hicksville Assistant Chief Richard Diaz, the incident commander, reported the cause was believed to be an air conditioner plugged into an outlet strip. There also was evidence of an extension cord running under a rug that may have contributed to the fire as well.
Local fire officials pointed out that overloaded outlet strips are the cause of many fires. A few years ago a Hicksville man died in a house fire that was attributed to an overloaded outlet strip. Unless you have a special heavy-duty strip, it is dangerous to overload or plug any appliance into an outlet strip. The appliance should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Running any extension cord under a rug, where over time it can become worn and frayed and short out can also cause a fire.
Two firefighters were injured from heat exhaustion and were treated at the scene by Hicksville medics and the Jericho F.D. Rehab unit and released. Another was transported to a local hospital for high blood pressure. Fire departments assisting Hicksville’s eight companies were Jericho, Syosset, Plainview, Bethpage, Levittown, East Meadow and Westbury. Nassau County Police Department units and a police ambulance were also assisting at the scene. All visible fire was reported knocked down at 9:58 p.m., under control at 10:31 p.m. and all operations terminated at 12:40 a.m.