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Volume 3, Edition 5 Special Edition May 2014


Photo by Kevin Madigan

Lieutenant Andrew Brohm and Firefighter Gerard Boettcher of the West Hempstead Fire Department received the Silver Medal of Valor for their actions at a fire in Hempstead in 2013 – Photo by Kevin Madigan

All of us here at FD Rant News would like to congratulate all of the award recipients. Job well done!


Owner/Editor/Publisher Jeff DiLavore

Associate Editor Dave Cook Associate Editor- Parade and Drill Kim Versheck Technical Editor Brian Welliver Graphic Editor Holly Luscher

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All news articles, photographs, images, illustrations, audio clips, video clips, trademarks, designs, graphics, logos, icons, images, user interfaces, visual interfaces and computer code (“Content”) contained in FD Rant News is either owned or used under license by Sophan Publishing, LLC with ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. The Content contained in this publication is protected by United States Copyright Law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without prior permission of Sophan Publishing, LLC or the owner of that Content.

FD Rants News - Volume 3 Special Edition - May 2014

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The #1 Publication for the Long Island Fire Service with the MOST and the BEST Coverage We would like to thank you for viewing our very special edition of the FD Rant News where we get to highlight the recipients of meritorious awards for bravery in the Nassau County Fire Service. The 2014Nassau County Fire Commission Awards Ceremony took place on a stormy and rainy night on April 30th at the Francis X. Pendl Memorial Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center located in Garden City. In the past, the location of the event had been at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive Building, but this year the committee felt that the museum would be more appropriate for the ceremony because of the significance it holds within the Nassau County Fire Service. We all know that firefighting is dangerous work. From the first day that you sign up, you realize that you will be performing in situations that will put your life at risk while you work to protect lives and properties of your neighbors. There are a few instances where the members of the fire service go above and beyond the call of duty while performing these tasks and, for their actions, they are recognized by their peers. There is no greater reward than to be honored by the men and women whom you serve side by side with in the fire service. This year, once again, we saw members of the Nassau County Fire Service make dramatic rescues. We also saw members of the fire service work together to effect rescues on land and at sea. We even saw an active Chief perform lifesaving CPR on an infant that was brought to his home. We are honored to have been given the opportunity to cover this event. As you will see, the FD Rant News had every aspect of this ceremony covered. We feel this event warrants not only a few pages of coverage; rather, we dedicate an entire edition to this event because every story should be covered and shared with all of our subscribers. The Fire Commission received numerous applications for awards that were reviewed and investigated. The result was 2 Silver Medal recipients, 7 EMS Awards, 2 Unit Citations and 2 Civilian Awards. Every story is told here and we have photos of each and every recipient. I would like to personally thank Chief Fire Marshal Scott Tusa and Assistant Chief Fire Marshal John Priest for their assistance in covering this event. We would like to hear your feedback. You can contact us as or call us at 631.766.3287. The awards ceremony was covered by FD Rant News correspondents Kim Versheck, Paul Krussmann and Kevin Madigan. As always, their work is outstanding and I thank them for their for all their hard work. Click on the following links to view more photos from the ceremony. Late Night Buff Network

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FD Rants News - Volume 3 Special Edition - May 2014

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2014 NASSAU COUNTY FIRE COMMISSION AWARDS CEREMONY The Nassau County Fire Commission Awards Ceremony began with a Pledge to the Flag led by Nassau County Fire Commission Vice Chairman Ronald Magarie and was followed by an Invocation by Reverend Kevin Smith, Nassau County Chaplain. Assistant Chief Fire Marshal John Priest, Jr. acted as Master of Ceremonies introducing all of the dignitaries and presented the awards to all of the recipients. Chief Priest started by introducing Chief Fire Marshal Scott D. Tusa who made a few remarks and congratulated all of the 2014 award recipients.

Members of the East Meadow Fire Department color guard was on hand to present the colors.

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Due to illness, Nassau County Fire Commission Chairman Walter Weltner was unable to attend the ceremony so Vice Chairman Ronald Magarie stepped in and spoke on his behalf. All of the speakers wished Chairman Weltner well before issuing their other remarks. Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano, a longtime supporter of the Nassau County Fire Service, then took the podium and, once again, congratulated all of the award recipients and thanked the entire Nassau County Fire Service for their efforts on a daily basis. As the ceremony continued, Assistant Chief Priest proceeded to call up the award recipients to the stage before reading a narrative about the events surrounding the call for which they were receiving their awards. Assistant Chief Fire Marshal Tim Placilla and Assistant Chief Fire Marshal Michael Uttaro assisted with the coordination and presentation of the awards as well as did Division Supervisor Vin McManus and Division Supervisor Frank Dubins. All awards were presented by Chief Fire Marshal Scott Tusa and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano along with Vice Chairman Ron Magarie

As the ceremony came to a close, County Executive Mangano made a few closing remarks which included congratulating all of the award recipients and thanking everyone for attending. The Benediction was then delivered by Reverend Smith. All of us here at FD Rant News would like to congratulate all of the award recipients and thank them for their unwavering dedication and professionalism. FD Rants News - Volume 3 Special Edition - May 2014

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EAST MEADOW FIRE DEPARTMENT E.M.S. AWARD - EX-CHIEF WALTER GRIFFIN On October 6, 2013 at approximately 1400 hours Chief of Department Walter Griffin of the East Meadow Fire Department was home resting when he was awoken by a frantic pounding on his front door. When he opened his front door, he was met by his neighbor who immediately handed Chief Griffin her 10 month old son. Chief Griffin quickly assessed the limp child to realize that the boy was not breathing and was pulseless. Chief Griffin immediately started CPR on his young neighbor. After his initial round of CPR, Chief Griffin moved to his Chief’s vehicle to use the radio to summon assistance. After rapidly contacting the dispatcher, Chief Griffin resumed CPR. At this time, he realized that the child was apparently suffering from a foreign body obstruction. Chief Griffin applied back blows to the child followed by three more rounds of compressions and breaths. After the third round of CPR, the child began to breath and cry on his own. It was at this time that Chief Griffin was joined by East Meadow Fire Department medical director, Dr. John Zaso and Ambulance 615. As it turned out, the child was a patient of Dr. Zaso’s private practice. The child was transported to NUMC where he was fully evaluated, and sometime later released with no lasting complications from his ordeal. Dr. Zaso commented on the situation saying: “If Chief Griffin had not been home to answer that door, I am sure that this would have had a different and tragic outcome.” For his quick thinking, and actions saving the life of another human being, the County of Nassau awards the Fire Commission’s Outstanding Emergency Medical Service Award to Ex-Chief Walter Griffin.

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COMMISSION’S SILVER MEDAL of VALOR.  NASSAU COUNTY Annual Awards Ceremony Changes Location Story and photos by Kevin Madigan / K2M Photography On Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 the Nassau County Fire Commission held its annual awards ceremony to recognize the efforts of Nassau County firefighters who have gone above and beyond what is expected of them. This was the first year that the event was held at the [Francis X. Pendl Memorial] Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center. Since the last award ceremony there were five incidents in which the individual and group efforts of firefighters helped to save the life of someone they don’t know while putting their own on the line. Of the five awards given out that night at the museum two of them were unit citations. The first of these citations went to the Bellmore Fire Department. This was for their actions which helped to prevent life and property loss on December 17th, 2013 while battling an overturned tanker that had caught fire. The second unit citation went to members of Elmont Engine Company 3. These men helped to extricate and tend to a victim who had been struck by an auto and impaled into its windshield on November 26th, 2013. Following the pair of unit citations came the EMS [based] awards. Four members of the Lawrence Cedarhurst Fire Department and two from the Long Beach Fire Department received the EMS award for an incident that transpired on August 23rd, 2013 in Reynolds Channel. This incident involved a young boy, who while enjoying a summer day on the water, had become entangled in the propeller of a boat. These firefighters helped to free the boy, apply first aid, and transport him back to land to awaiting medical personnel. The other recipient of an EMS Award was East Meadow Ex-Chief Walter Griffin. On October 6th, 2013 Ex-Chief Griffin was able to resuscitate an infant who had stopped breathing. The infant was that of his neighbor who on that day came frantically knocking at his door seeking help. The Chief was able to begin CPR and is the reason that child is alive today. The last awards handed out for the night were a pair of Silver Medals of Valor. This duo went to West Hempstead Firefighters Gerard Boettcher and Andrew Brohm. These men were able to enter, locate, and rescue a victim inside of an apartment building fire in Hempstead on the morning of February 9th, 2013. This fire took place in the midst of a large snowstorm and saw heavy fire throughout the top floors and roof of the St. Paul’s Road building this year. Thank you for your dedication and sacrifice – stay safe.

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At approximately 1800 hours on November 26, 2013, Firefighter Ken Balsdon was driving his personal vehicle southbound on Meacham Avenue in Elmont when he came upon an accident involving a pedestrian struck by auto, which looked as though it had caused serious injuries. Realizing that by himself, and with no equipment, he could be of little assistance Firefighter Balsdon responded immediately to the quarters of Engine Company 3, where he found six other members and, together, they responded back to the accident scene on Engine 703. Upon arrival, the Engine crew with very little EMS experience or equipment, found a 40 year old male who had been struck by an auto and now was impaled into the windshield of the car; up to his waist. Furthermore, the patient was only semi-conscious and had serious injuries. At this time, Engine 3’s officer, Lieutenant Chris Focazio gave the initial radio transmission to summon police and EMS assistance. Lt. Focazio and FF Stanley Quinto entered the passenger compartment of the vehicle to apply oxygen and in-line manual stabilization, and monitored the patient’s level of consciousness. Probationary FF Chris Focazio, Jr. was tasked with checking the vehicle for stability and safety and bringing up whatever first aid supplies were available. FF John Lukas positioned himself on the roof of the vehicle to stabilize the patient’s waist at the windshield; and FF Steven Verde and FF Maichael Maehoo positioned themselves at the hood of the car to stabilize the patient’s lower body. A Sawzall was brought forward and the crew began the rigorous task of cutting away the windshield without further injury to the patient. FD Rants News - Volume 3 Special Edition - May 2014

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Once the patient was freed from the windshield, the crew from Engine 3 carefully secured him to a backboard and now with the assistance of the NCPD Emergency Ambulance Bureau, delicately lowered the patient from the vehicle. The crew then assisted in the packaging and transfer of the patient to the waiting ambulance. The patient was admitted to Winthrop University Hospital where he was diagnosed with bilateralleg fractures, a shattered pelvis, broken collar bone and head trauma. The patient survived his injuries and continues to recover. In recognition of the teamwork, under extremely unusual circumstances for an Engine crew that does not routinely respond to EMS calls, and even though the crew was made up of mostly new and inexperienced members, this crew worked together in a calm and efficient manner under extreme pressure and helped ensure a positive outcome for the patient. For these reasons, the County of Nassau is proud to present a Fire Commission Unit Citation commending the officers and members of Elmont Fire Department Engine Company 3 for their outstanding work. Nassau-County-Fire-Awards-4301/ NassauCountyFireCommissionAwar/Nassau-CountyFD Rants News - Volume 3 Special Edition - May 2014

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On Friday August 23, 2013 at approximately 1400 hours, members of the Lawrence-Cedarhurst Fire Department monitored an urgent message over marine radio channel 16, asking for immediate assistance and reporting a child entrapped in the propeller of a boat. The members in quarters made contact with the vessel in need and ascertained the correct location to be within Reynolds Channel in the vicinity of the Atlantic Beach Bridge. Lawrence-Cedarhurst Dispatch [230 City of Long Beach] was notified to alert the department for a water rescue. Captain Steven Magliaro, Lieutenant and EMT Thomas Foy, Firefighter/EMT David Kocaj and Firefighter/ EMT Justin Caliguri responded from Lawrence-Cedarhurst Headquarters to the mooring location of their department’s boat, Unit 321, a 17 foot Zodiac inflatable. Meanwhile, the dispatcher at Long Beach’s 230 was aware of 2 Long Beach members; Lieutenant/EMT Justin Fitzmartin and Firefighter/EMT Ethan Edrich were conducting water rescue training in Reynolds Channel with the Long Beach Fire Department jet ski and floating rescue sled in the vicinity of Long Beach Fire Headquarters. They were alerted to respond at once to the incident. Both units; Unit 321 and the Long Beach jet ski team responded in an aggressive fashion, with little regard for their own safety. Upon almost simultaneous arrival, the members of these two departments became one team in an effort to perform a rescue. The first obstacle upon arrival was the hovering helicopter from the New York City Police Department. While the copter was attempting to lower a swimmer into the water, it was so low as to create a dangerous prop wash condition making the waters as rough as if a storm was taking place. This caused the operators of both the Zodiac and the jet ski extreme difficulty in maneuvering their crafts.With the helicopter waved off, the crews could now size up the scene where they were met by a 27 foot boat with an inboard outboard motor. FD Rants News - Volume 3 Special Edition - May 2014

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The family on the boat had been enjoying a day of tubing, and now a 10 year old male, who had jumped into the water from the rear of the boat, had indeed come in contact with the propeller and his leg was now entangled up to thigh. The crews now in the water swam to this child’s aid, disregarding the hazard of the boat, the fuel and the blood that was covering the water at the scene. This six-man team now worked feverishly to free the child who was in the water on his back and, at this point, still had a pulse and was breathing, but was also showing signs of severe shock. Using the only tool available, a simple Halligan, to attempt to bend the prop blade, and using teamwork and their bare hands, they were able top both bend and turn the propeller to free the child’s leg. Once freed they immediately placed the child on the Lawrence-Cedarhurst water craft and headed for shore to meet waiting ambulances. Enroute, it was discovered that the boy’s femoral artery had been lacerated in the accident and a tourniquet was applied to control the bleeding. It was soon after this that the victim stopped breathing and became pulseless. While on a relatively small boat, buffeted by waves, travelling at a high rate of speed, the crew performed CPR on the child all the way back to the dock, and upon arrival, the child was breathing and had a pulse. The child was transported by an awaiting ambulance to St. Joseph’s Hospital and then moved to Long Island Jewish Schneider’s Childrens Hospital. It is unfortunate to report that some days later, the child succumbed due to the seriousness of the injuries. However, that fact does not diminish the valiant efforts of this team to give this young child every chance at survival, their efforts under difficult and dangerous conditions were in the finest tradition of our calling. In recognition of their teamwork, and skill, under extraordinarily unusual circumstances, Nassau County presents the Fire Commission’s Outstanding Emergency Medical Services Award to Captain Steve Migliaro, Lieutenant Thomas Foy, Firefighter Justin Caliguri, Firefighter David Kocaj, Lieutenant Justin Fitzmartin and Firefighter Ethan Edrich.

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On December 17th at 2315 hours, temperatures had dropped to the low to mid 20s and at that time the Bellmore Fire Department was alerted for a report of an auto accident with fire. Assistant Chief Dan Holl was the first to his Chief’s car, and as he powered up the vehicle, he was greeted by the dispatcher at 650 [North Bellmore Fire Communications] calling for any Bellmore chief with an “Urgent Message”. Chief Holl answered and the dispatcher informed him by saying, “Chief be advised through multiple calls you are responding to an overturned tanker truck on fire on Sunrise Highway, with numerous additional cars on fire, unknown if people are trapped and you have a report of burning product flowing down Sunrise Highway and live wires down.” At this point, taking it all in, Chief Holl responded with the only thing he could. He said, “23”. [the code for message received]. Upon arrival, Chief Holl was met with an extremely heavy volume of fire from an overturned tractor trailer. The vehicle was facing west in the eastbound lanes, with the tractor on Sunrise Highway, one block east of Newbridge Road and the tanker extending diagonally across the side street, Brevoort Place. Chief Holl immediately realized that not only was burning product running down Sunrise Highway, but also down Brevoort Place, which led directly to a residential neighborhood; with the 1st house only some 50-65 feet from the accident sight. Chief Holl saw several vehicles involved in the original aqccident, several more parked vehicles burning from exposure to the running spill fire, the siding of at least one house beginning to off-gas in preparation for ignition and at this point, he was still unable to identify the product that was burning. Chief Holl transmitted a working fire and called for mutual aid by alerting the entire North Merrick and Merrick Fire Departments. At this time, the chief of the Bellmore Fire Department, Christopher O’Brien, arrived and met with Chief Holl for an update and briefing. Chief O’Brien then assumed responsibility as Incident Commander. True to his training, and the training of his assistants and fellow chiefs from the 6th Battalion, Chief O’Brien implemented a full scale incident command and management system with him at the IC, Chief Holl as Operations Chief at the tanker, mutual aid chiefs were assigned.

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A Staging Chief was assigned to establish a Staging Area two blocks north of the scene for the multiple incoming units, then Sector Chiefs for the auto accident sector, the Newbridge Road sector and the Brevoort Place sector. At this point, calls went out for the Nassau County Fire Marshal HazMat team, as well as trhe Hicksville and Wantagh Fire Department teams; and additional calls were sent out for a large foam response from several departments. As additional resources were responding, the members of the Bellmore Fire Department and their commanders were faced with the significant life safety hazards in the numerous private dwellings on Brevoort Place. Lines were stretched to combat the multiple car fires and, still not knowing in certainty what the burning product they were dealing with, or the potential for explosion, members of the Bellmore Fire Department began to apply water from hand lines and master streams with determined effort to cool the burning tanker. It was only some time later that Chief O’Brien was able to have contact made with the driver who had already been transported to the hospital, and learn positively that the fire he was dealing with was gasoline and the tanker was an aluminum MC-306 which now drastically reduced the probability of an explosion. With one potential disaster reduced, Chief O’Brien was now informed by the Brevoort Place sector command that while the houses in the area had been evacuated, the fire had now burned, and was threatening to cause additional fires almost 3 blocks from the original accident site. In the words of the sector commander, he was facing the very real possibility of four house fires very soon. Now with foam arriving in great quantity, Chief O’Brien and his Operations and Sector Chiefs took decisive action; foam was sent to Brevoort and Newbridge sectors along with additional fire fighting crews. Foam was applied and dikes constructed to minimize the threat to the multiple exposures along both sectors. Now, all Chief O’Brien had was the small task of fighting the fire raging in a 12,000 gallon tanker. Once again, the members of the Bellmore Fire Department along with their mutual aid partners worked with skill and professionalism, initiating a full foam operation and extinguishing the tanker fire. In all, the fire along both exposure roadways and the tanker itself were all completely extinguished within approximately 90 minutes of the original alarm. However, that is not where the story ends. The members of the Bellmore Fire Department now continued their service, braving the cold temperatures for the next seven hours, applying and re-applying protective foam blankets during the offload and righting of the damaged tanker. Faced with a worst case scenario that is usually only imagined for HazMat class exercises, the Bellmore Fire Department responded that night with bravery and professionalism. Had it not been for their leadership and their determination, the neighborhood could have been truly devastated; and while they were faced with numerous significant fires, not one home was lost, not one life lost, and only three minor injuries were suffered. In recognition of their operations at great personal risk, and performed in the highest traditions of the fire service, Nassau County is proud to present the Bellmore Fire Department with the Fire Commission’s Unit Citation for distinguished service.

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On the morning of February 9, 2013 at approximately 0630 hours, the Hempstead Fire Department was alerted for a report of an apartment fire at 17 St. Paul’s Road. Response to the fire was immediately hampered as a fresh 12 inches of snow had fallen during the previous night. Arriving on scene first was then Captain, now Assistant Chief Fred Sandas, who was out serving the Village of Hempstead as a snow plow operator. Captain Sandas reported that there was a working fire, with multiple people trapped and at least one person who had jumped from the third floor to escape the blaze. Captain Sandas sized up that the “C” apartment on the 3rd floor was completely involved as well as a fully involved cockloft with fire dropping down into multiple apartments. With Hempstead units arriving and preparing for the firefight, one of the earliest arriving units was also West Hempstead Fire Department truck company which was initially alerted as a FAST, but with all Hempstead units already involved in assignments, West Hempstead truck was notified that they would be going to work. FD Rants News - Volume 3 Special Edition - May 2014

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Upon arrival, Captain Peter Vogt of West Hempstead was ordered to take his crew to the fire floor and search the apartments to either side of the fire apartment. Upon arrival on the fire floor, floor 3, the West Hempstead crew was met with high heat and vastly reduced visibility. Captain Vogt divided his crew into two teams to simultaneously search the 2 apartments while time still allowed. Firefighters Andrew Brohm and Gerard Boettcher were assigned to apartment “F” and began to approach the apartment. They found the apartment door closed but unlocked. Firefighters Boettcher and Brohm entered and began a right hand search. At this time, smoke had banked down to approximately 12 inches off the floor in the apartment, and fire could be seen dropping from the involved cockloft and rolling along the ceiling. Undeterred by these conditions, the two firefighters continued the search deeper down the hallway into the apartment. As the search continued, the pair came across a female victim lying supine on the floor of the apartment just past the kitchen. It was also at this time that the fire conditions changed rapidly as fire was now rolling directly over the firefighters’ heads, and due to the drop down, multiple areas of the contents of the apartment were now becoming involved. Firefighters Brohm and Boettcher, knowing time was of the essence, grabbed the female victim by the arms and legs and began the arduous task of removing her down the very narrow hallway to the apartment door, all the while being overtaken by fire on the ceiling threatening to block their escape. But escape they did; now carrying the female down two and one half flights of stairs before additional manpower met them to assist in the last flight of stairs. Once outside, the group immediately assessed and began CPR on the victim. Soon after these lifesaving measures were implemented, the crew was relieved by a fully staffed EMS crew. At this point, Firefighters Boettcher and Brohm gave a report of their actions to their Captain and the Command Post and then, undaunted by their previous ordeal, and knowing the hazardous conditions on the third floor, immediately returned to the fire floor to rejoin their fellow firefighters where not only did they assist in additional searches, but also eventually ended up on hose lines to assist in suppression efforts. For their bravery and actions in removing this victim under extremely dangerous conditions, the County of Nassau is proud to present Firefighters Gerard Boettcher and Andrew Brohm with the Fire Commission’s Silver Medal of Valor.  FD Rants News - Volume 3 Special Edition - May 2014

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John Murray – Chief Instructor Alana Petrocelli – Executive Director Angelo Catalano – Museum Board Chair

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AWARDS COMMITTEE Richard Jankoski, Co-Chairman Walter Weltner, Co-Chairman Gerard O’Brien Joseph Conlon Peter S. Williams John J. Priest, Jr. Robert Bettes Robert Lincoln John Matzen Charles Lang John Van Houton William Swift, Jr. Chris Bollerman Kenneth Fairben

AWARDS CEREMONY COMMITTEE Ken Fairben, Chairman John J. Priest, Jr. Jerry Keating Frederick Senti, Jr. Donald Tortoso

Douglas Wiedmann FD Rants News - Volume 3 Special Edition - May 2014

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Class II – Great Personal Risk Firefighter Gerard Boettcher West Hempstead Fire Department Firefighter Andrew Brohm West Hempstead Fire Department


Captain Stephen Magliaro Lieutenant Thomas Foy Firefighter Justin Caliguri Firefighter David Kocaj Lieutenant Justin Fitzmartin Firefighter Ethan Edrich Ex-Chief Walter Griffin

Lawrence-Cedarhurst Fire Department Lawrence-Cedarhurst Fire Department Lawrence-Cedarhurst Fire Department Lawrence-Cedarhurst Fire Department Long Beach Fire Department Long Beach Fire Department East Meadow Fire Department


Bellmore Fire Department Elmont Fire Department Engine Company 3

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FD Rant News 2014 Nassau County Awards  

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