New York News

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

FDNY Investigates Cause of Cypress Hills House Fire

Investigators are trying to figure out what caused a fire in Brooklyn that injured seven people Monday night. The flames quickly tore through the private home located at 13 Schenck Avenue in Cypress Hills. More than 150 firefighters responded to the fire that began around 6:30 p.m. The fire spread to the building that was semi-attached and it eventually spread to both buildings," said FDNY Assistant Chief Tom Richardson. "I was informed that there was a fire next door. So I was basically panicking and then the fire started to get worse. So we basically had to grab our stuff and just evacuate. It smelled like burnt an then I saw smoke outside. It was bad," said one witness. Six firefighters and one civilian were hurt. Fire officials say 13 people in the two buildings were displaced.
TWC News - All Boroughs NY

Buffalo firefighter injured fighting house fire in Riverside neighborhood

A Buffalo firefigter was injured fighting a weekend fire in the Riverside neighborhood. Firefighters responded to the fire on Royal Street Saturday afternoon. Three adults and one child made it out safely. They are being assisted by the Red Cross. City officials said the firefighter suffered wrist injuries. Who the firefighter is, how exactly he or she was injured, or what condition he or she is in was not disclosed. The fire department estimated that the fire caused more than $100,000 in damage. Its cause remains under investigation.
WKBW-TV ABC 7 Buffalo

Fire Chief: Shutting bedroom door saved Manlius family’s home

Firefighters in Manlius say a family saved their home – and possibly their lives – from a fire over the weekend by doing one simple thing: closing the bedroom door. The home on Prestwick Drive caught fire Sunday morning. Chief Brad Pinsky told CNYCentral the family closed the door to the room where the fire started, and then got out of the home.When firefighters arrived, Chief Pinsky says the second floor was filled with smoke, and they found heavy fire in the kids’ bedroom, sparked by an electrical cord under a carpet. “This is the lesson. This lesson did prove right,” Chief Pinsky said. “It saved the house. These people would have no home to go to most likely if the bedroom door had been opened.” Firefighters were able to get the fire under control quickly and minimize damage to the home.

Officials: Woman rescued from house fire in Mount Vernon

Officials say a woman had to be rescued from a house fire in Mount Vernon Monday afternoon. They say the fire was reported at 3:15 p.m. on East 5th Street. First responders helped the woman escape the house during the fire. She was taken to a hospital. Nearby fire departments were called in to assist Mount Vernon's fire department due to the subfreezing temperatures and high winds. Firefighters had to rotate out every 20 to 30 minutes so they could warm up. Officials say the water used to extinguish the flames almost froze on contact. Icicles also hung from the equipment. No other injuries were reported. The city says they put salt and sand on the ground to help with the ice. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
News 12 Hudson Valley

At a frigid crash on I-90, firefighters use industrial heater to help save driver’s life

The wind chill was -30 degrees Monday morning when a rental box truck crashed into the back of a tractor trailer on the Thruway in Henrietta. The driver's life was saved, in part, because the firefighters who got there kept him warm. They used an industrial heater to pump hot air into the cab of the truck when they were trying to pull him out. But the warm-up continued when he got into the ambulance.Henrietta Fire District Assistant Chief Mark Cholach showed News10NBC pictures of the scene on the Thruway between LeRoy and Henrietta. Then, he showed News10NBC what they used to help save the driver. The fire department has an industrial heater with 30 feet of hose. Cholach: "The air coming out of the hose is about 80 degrees. So we set this up while we're doing the extrication."
WHEC-TV NBC 10 Rochester

Firefighters battle fire, freezing temperatures in College Point, Queens

A three-alarm fire at a Queens commercial building injured three firefighters and one civilian Monday morning, FDNY Assistant Chief Tom Richardson said. The blaze broke out at 128-20 14th Ave., near 129th Street in College Point, around 7:40 a.m. and quickly grew to three alarms as the flames spread from the basement to the first floor, according to Richardson. One person was seriously hurt and three firefighters suffered minor injuries, the FDNY said. More than 100 firefighters responded to the blaze and crews remained at the scene to extinguish hot spots throughout the afternoon, according to Richardson. The frigid weather — the high temperature Monday was 14 degrees — posed an additional danger to firefighters. Richardson said the department used two ambulances and an MTA bus to help firefighters and emergency personnel keep warm.
AM New York

Friday, January 18, 2019

Fred Kuhne, founding member of Dix Hills Fire Department, dies at 88

Laura Walker fondly remembers her father regaling her with stories about fighting fires in Dix Hills. “I always grew up with him going to a fire or a rescue call. He loved the fire department. That was his absolute love,” said Walker, daughter of Fred Kuhne, a founding member of the Dix Hills Fire Department. Kuhne died Dec. 20 at the age of 88 after years of battling health complications. He was the last surviving charter member of the original 40 residents who founded the volunteer fire department in Dix Hills in 1947. Walker, 62 of Orlando, Fla., said through tears, her dad’s dedication to fighting fires propelled her to a profession that also helps people. “When we were kids, he would come home from a fire call, a rescue call, and he would tell us stuff about it. And I would think, ‘That’s really cool, he saved someone’s life.’ I want to do that and that’s why I became a nurse,” she said.

Peekskill man sentenced for lighting his business on fire

A Peekskill man is going to prison for intentionally setting his Newburgh business on fire while someone else was in living in apartment above. Jesus Cruz, 44, was sentenced to 17 years in state prison in Orange County Court on Tuesday. The incident dates back to Sept. 22, 2017, when prosecutors said Cruz lit his bodega on fire while there was a tenant living in an apartment above the business. “This defendant intentionally placed at grave risk the tenant of that building, the brave firefighters who responded to the fire, as well as others in the vicinity, and clearly deserved a severe prison sentence,” Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler said in a statement. “Arson, particularly when it occurs in a densely populated urban area, is an incredibly dangerous crime. To endanger the lives of others, whether for spite or for financial reward, is something that cannot be tolerated.
NY Journal News (

Monsey firefighter charged with Medicaid, Workers’ comp fraud

A 41-year-old Monsey volunteer firefighter who became a respected Rockland voice on fire prevention faces multiple fraud charges for working several jobs while out on disability and accepting more than $100,000 in state benefits. Raphael Ziegler, the Monsey Fire Department president and a former New Hempstead fire inspector, took state worker's compensation payments while out on disability and working other jobs, authorities said Thursday. He also accepted Medicaid payments for his transportation business after not providing his employees with required workers compensation, state Inspector General Leahy Scott said Thursday in a joint news release with acting Rockland District Attorney Kevin Gilleece. “These charges lay out this defendant’s myriad schemes to conceal and defraud his way to six-figures in ill-gotten gains,” Scott said. “The Workers’ Compensation and Medicaid systems are both critical safety nets in our state, and any theft from or abuse of those programs will not be tolerated.”
NY Journal News (

Update: Gas heater caused fire, explosion in Albion basement; Couple upgraded to guarded in ICU

A gas heater in the basement caused the fire and explosion at a house on Elmwood Avenue Wednesday night, village police said. Chief Roland Nenni said the owner of the house, Vincenzo Spampanato, 81, was performing maintenance on the heater when it exploded, resulting in a fire that destroyed the house. Spampanato and his wife, Felicia Spampanato, 72, suffered severe burns to their upper bodies. He was taken by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. His wife was taken by ambulance to Strong, where both were originally in critical condition. On Thursday, they were listed in guarded condition in intensive care, a hospital spokeswoman said. The fire was reported at 6:21 p.m. Police arrived minutes later and found both Spampanatos on the front yard.
Batavia Daily News

FDNY firefighter competes in The Rock’s ‘Titan Games’ on NBC

On Thursday night, New York Fire Department firefighter Frank Sansonetti is set to debut on NBC’s “Titan Games,” hosted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The series is a sports competition consisting of 10 episodes, with each episode crowning two Titans – one male and one female. Each week, the reigning Titans will take on new competitors, producing, at the end of the series, an ultimate male and female “Titan.” At 40, Sansonetti is the oldest male competitor on the show, in a group of elite athletes. He hasn’t honed his athletic build solely for television competitions, however. For more than 15 years, Sansonetti has served as a member of the FDNY, and previously served as a police officer with the NYPD. On Sept. 11, 2001, Sansonetti was attending the New York Police Academy when terrorists struck the World Trade Center towers. Sansonetti and his fellow cadets rushed to the scene to assist their future fellow officers.
FireRescue 1

Homeowner identified as victim in fatal Auburn fire

The person killed in an Auburn house fire early Tuesday morning was the property's owner. Valerie Usowski, 42, was the owner of the home destroyed in the blaze at 47 Pulsifer Drive, the Auburn Police Department said Thursday afternoon upon receiving identification confirmation from the Onondaga County Medical Examiner's Office. The Auburn Fire Department was at the home within a minute of being dispatched around 12:45 a.m. Tuesday, but the house was fully engulfed in flames at the time. A rescue operation could not be attempted, and after the fire was under control, responders discovered a deceased person who was believed to be the home's lone occupant. The fire's cause remains under investigation, with the Auburn Police Department, Auburn Fire Department and State Office of Fire Prevention involved.
Olean Times Herald

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