Local Firefighters Recount Brush Fire; Head Home

After 22 hours, fire departments start pulling out.

Of the 50 volunteer fire departments called to fight the in Brookhaven Town, four departments were some of Westhampton-Hampton Bays bravest.

At 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, area departments helped make a final sweep of the area and started to pack up and head home after 22 hours of firefighting.

On Monday, 15 members of the Hampton Bays department were dispatched to Manorville. On Tuesday, nine, according to Hampton Bays Fire Chief John Tedesco.

Tedesco reported that department's brush truck - a truck that typically carries 1,000 gallons of water - took a beating Tuesday morning, and after one broke down on Monday, the department doesn't want to run too ragged. 

"We're a little thin on brush trucks on the East End right now," he said, adding that during the mid-morning hours of Tuesday his firefighters were working to overhaul and mop-up.

"There are just some hotspots. Some small pockets of fire," he said.

Westhampton Beach Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Bill Dalton, remembered back to fires of 1995 when firefighters flocked to Westhampton to help, Dalton said his department was glad to be able to do the same Monday.

"Everybody and their brother was here," he said.

Dalton reported that while firefighters battling Monday's blaze faced intense heat,  it wasn't like the "dead of August," when he fought the 1995 wildfires.

The Westhampton Beach Fire Department sent several trucks on Monday night and battled the blaze from Gruman Blvd. just south of the Gruman airport.

"We felt a responsibility to send many people as we could," Dalton said. "We welcome doing what we can for anyone - back in 1995, everyone was here for us in a very real way."

However, Dalton reported that two of the brush trucks mired in swamp areas were lost.

"The hope is that the remaining four can be extricated without much damage. "It's very tough terrain," Dalton said.

Chief John "Chip" Bancroft, who was headed home from the fire at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, said he is very proud of his department.

"Working in the woods is never easy to begin with, especially with the pine trees falling down and mature oaks falling above your head. It was extremely dangerous, but the guys did a great job."

Bancroft said a total of 25 firefighters and fire police from his department responded over the past two days. 

Quogue Fire Chief Tim Shea said his department sent and engine and a brush truck along with 20 firefighters on Monday night and based themselves near Wading River Road and Line Avenue. They were back again on Tuesday morning.

"We are good, but tired," said Shea, who praised the efforts of the firefighters in his department and others.

"I am extremely proud of our department along with the other departments involved.  These men and women did a phenomenal job with a very hostile fire.  All our thoughts and prayers go out to our brothers and sisters that were injured."

The East Quogue Fire Department reports that it worked closely with all of the 7th division, including Westhampton Beach, Quogue, East Quogue and Hampton Bays, Westhampton Beach, East Quogue and Hampton Bays.

At one point East Quogue firemen helped on a Hampton Bays Brush Truck after East Quogue's Brush Truck developed a radiator leak.

East Quogue Chief Greg Celi, Jr, said that the Incident commander of the fire, Chief Ellio Chief Zapparata of the Manorville Fire Dept. along with his command staff "were diligent with the operations and contained this fire saving an enormous area of forest and homes."   



claudia April 10, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Thanks to our Fire Departments!!!!!!!


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