FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 30, 2015
CONTACT: Jill Lewis, Deputy Supervisor (631) 727-3200 x655
SUPERVISOR URGES RESIDENTS TO CLEAR FIRE HYDRANTS NEAR THEIR HOMES
Riverhead, NY - Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean M. Walter is urging residents and business owners to protect themselves and their neighbors by making sure that hydrants near their properties are free of ice and snow, after efforts to save a man and put out a fire by the Riverhead Fire Department personnel were made significantly more difficult due to a snow covered hydrant.
Riverhead Firefighters made a dramatic save last night at Middle Road residence rescuing an unconscious male resident from a devastating fire. The 30-year-old resident was airlifted by Suffolk County Police Medi-Vac to University of Stony Brook Hospital for treatment of his burns and smoke inhalation. Riverhead Fire Department extinguished the fire. Three other residents of a second-floor apartment, a woman and two children escaped from the blaze without injury and were waiting outside for the Riverhead Town Police and the Riverhead Fire Department.
Their heroic actions were praised by Supervisor Walter, however, the firefighters’ job could have been easier had a hydrant not been buried by snow. Firefighters were forced to utilize another nearby hydrant. “The Riverhead Fire Department saved a man’s life last night by their quick thinking and actions,” he said. “We were lucky, however, that the additional time to locate another hydrant did not prove costly. As we all know, fires spread extremely quickly. Just a few seconds can mean the difference between life and death.”
Assistant Riverhead Fire Department Chief Kevin Brooks said the firefighters utilize a map that indicates all nearby fire hydrants. “We had a choice of two hydrants and were forced to not use the closest one because it was buried in snow.” He said that while in this case, the firefighters did not really lose time in utilizing the further hydrant but had there not been another hydrant nearby or had that hydrant been faulty, the department would have quickly used up its water supply on board the fire trucks and may have had to call in a water tanker to the scene. “Residents should absolutely clear their hydrants of snow to make them easily visible to the fire department.”
“The men and women of the Riverhead Fire Department risk lives every day,” Walter said. “They truly are volunteer heroes.” He said that shoveling and clearing snow around hydrants near homes and businesses will greatly aide firefighters in case of emergency. “Doing your part by removing snow from hydrants near your property could very well save your life, the life of your neighbor or the life of one of our volunteer firefighters.”