Tag Archive | "Pete Garypie"

Fire Hits Home in Bay Point

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By Claire Walla

When reports of a house fire on Bay Point in Sag Harbor hit the radio waves on Monday, May 21, firefighters from Sag Harbor, East Hampton and North Sea were quickly on the scene. And according to Sag Harbor Fire Chief Pete Garypie, they distinguished the blaze in a matter of minutes.

However, by the time the fire was reported, some significant damage had already been done.

“The bedroom — where the fire was mostly contained — was gutted,” Garypie explained. “And the rest of the house was severely smoke damaged.”

Garypie said crews arrived at 21 Harbor Drive at 10:33 a.m. to find smoke billowing out of the single-story, waterfront home at the eastern edge of the Bay Point peninsula. He added that the fire was already visible at the back of the house when crews first arrived.

One team of volunteer firefighters quickly entered through the front door of the home with a hose to extinguish the flames. Firefighters ultimately made their way to the rear of the building where a bedroom in the western corner of the home was ablaze.

“There was high heat and lots of smoke,” Garypie said of the conditions firefighters faced. “The guys did a great job.”

He also noted that one of the windows in the back of the property had “let go.” It sent wind inside, which Garypie said possibly stoked the flames.

At this time, however, the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

One fireman was treated on the scene for smoke inhalation, which means he was given oxygen and water and told to rest for at least 45 minutes. Garypie said he is now doing fine. Other than that, the fire chief added, there are no reported injuri

Man Pinned Under Car in Sag Harbor

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Pinned Under Car II

By Claire Walla

Some still say they are mystified as to how it happened, but Sag Harbor Village Police confirmed on Wednesday that Christopher Rolf, 59, of Bridgehampton was pinned under his own vehicle, a black Porsche Cayenne, outside Chopping Charlie’s on Long Island Avenue last Tuesday, February 28.

Jodi Cesta, 22, was in the area when she heard the accident, and was one of the first to arrive on the scene after it happened.

“I looked left and then I looked right, and all of a sudden he was underneath [the car],” she said.

Cesta went over to Rolf and said she and about five other people tried to extricate his pant leg from under the car’s left front tire.

“We all tried lifting the car up, but it wouldn’t lift off the guy,” she said. The group also attempted to use a jack, found in the man’s car, to lift the front bumper, but that proved fruitless, as well.

“He was just looking at me in the eyes, I’ll never forget that look,” she continued. “Like, please, you have to help me.”

Sag Harbor Fire Department, Sag Harbor Ambulance crews and Sag Harbor Village Police arrived on the scene and ultimately, Cesta said, EMS crews ended up borrowing her knife to cut the Rolf’s pant leg and free him from beneath the vehicle.

“It was weird, nobody else had a knife except me,” said Cesta, a landscaper, who added that she carries the lime-green knife with her at all times. “I just hope he’s ok.”

According to Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Tom Fabiano, who spoke to Rolf at the scene of the accident, Rolf was trying to see whether or not a store was open at the time the incident occurred.

“He had gotten out of the car and apparently the car was not in park, it was probably in reverse,” said Fabiano.

At that point, Fabiano noted, the car began to move and “he went back to try to stop it.” However, one of Rolf’s legs became caught beneath the front left tire of the vehicle, leaving him trapped beneath the wheel of his car.

According to Sag Harbor Fire Chief Pete Garypie, after part of Rolf’s pant leg was cut away and his leg was successfully removed from beneath the front left tire of the vehicle, Rolf was airlifted to Stony Brook Hospital.

Officials say Rolf remained fully conscious throughout the ordeal, but suffered damage to his pelvis.

Firefighters See Future in Next Generation

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web Junior Dept. A

In recent years, volunteer fire departments across Long Island have struggled to maintain their active membership roles. As longtime firefighters retire from service, departments traditionally look to the next generation to fill the void. But finding young volunteers can be a challenge, particularly in places like the East End, where jobs are limited and cost of living is high. Young people who might otherwise fill the fire department’s ranks often can’t afford to stay in the area after high school or college.

Compared to other districts on Long Island, Sag Harbor’s fire department is very fortunate — participation has always been strong. But still, Sag Harbor volunteer firefighter and former chief Pete Garypie has seen districts where retention is a problem.

“We have a strong department, there’s not a problem with membership,” said Garypie. “But it’s still tough. In Nassau and western Suffolk they’re [volunteer firefighters] all going to the city to work and don’t have the help they need.”

Garypie joined the department when he turned 18, and has long envisioned a juniors program for Sag Harbor – one that encourages teens to get involved with the fire department before they can officially join as volunteers.

“The idea had been tossed about for years, including when I was chief a couple years ago,” said Garypie. “The objective is to give the kids something to do rather than hang on the street or get in trouble. It’s a way to give back to the community.”

Last November, 10 Pierson High School students (nine boys, one girl) signed on as the first members of Sag Harbor Fire Department’s Junior Department for teens between age 14 and 18. The juniors gather monthly for a meeting and training night and as they learn about firefighting, the hope is they will be encouraged to join the department when they turn 18.

“The biggest thing for us is recouping through retention,” says Garypie, lead advisor of the junior department. “They join the juniors and have a great idea of what is expected of them as firefighters. Obviously we can’t have them take our position at a real alarm, for safety reasons, but we will do department drills in the future and try to incorporate some of those.”

This Friday, August 28, the juniors host an outdoor family movie night screening of “Shrek” at Havens Beach as their first fundraiser. Proceeds will be used to purchase uniforms and equipment for the members.

The juniors have already taken part in a simulation at the fire training facility in East Hampton. The drill involved donning respiratory gear and going into a house filled with artificial smoke to locate a victim (a doll) and bring it to safety.

“It’s a real house inside a warehouse,” explained junior department member Frank Romeo, 16. “At first, it’s nerve wracking, then you get over it.”

“I accidentally hit the baby under the bed with an ax,” admitted 15 year old Ricky Grigonis with a grin.

Though the drills simulate real life, Garypie explains that the juniors program is not just about giving teens a taste of what it’s like to be a firefigther — it’s also a practical way to get much of the curriculum under their belt before they’re old enough to officially fight fires.

“When you join, you have about 20 classroom and 10 hands-on classes,” explained Garypie. “It’s a big commitment to make with a family and work. What they offer now to juniors is the classroom part. As long as they pass the courses, once they’re 18, they join and just have their hands-on training to do.”

Most of the teens in the program are related to someone in the department. But Garypie is hopeful that once school starts again, more students will learn about the program through school guidance counselors or friends and sign up.

“I was always into firefighting since I was a kid,” said Romeo, one of the few juniors who does not have a relative in the fire department. He likes the fact he can get the classroom training out of the way before turning 18. Like Romeo, most of the juniors expressed an interest in joining the department, perhaps after college. In the meantime, the teens are learning about the camaraderie and the teamwork that is vital for a fire department.

“They showed us the trucks like we were one of them,” said Romeo. “They treat us really good. Participation here is unbelievable – all of them are great.”

 “It’s a lot of fun,” said 15 year old Melanie Stafford. “And I’m learning a lot.”

 “Shrek” at Haven’s Beach in Sag Harbor begins at dusk on Friday, August 28. Gates open at 7 p.m. Admission is $10 adults/$5 children under 10. Call 725-0252 for information. Proceeds benefit the Sag Harbor Fire Department’s Junior Department.