Tag Archive | "Sag Harbor Fire Department"

Fire Reported at Hayground School in Bridgehampton

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Photography by Michael Heller

Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor firefighters overhaul and check for hot spots at a fire that occurred on the exterior of a campus building at the Hayground School on Mitchell Lane at roughly 1:45 p.m. on Wednesday. The fire was extinguished and no injuries were reported.

Sag Harbor Fire Department Dive Team Rescue Retriever From Icy Waters

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As fire department and ambulance members render aid, member Stephen Hesler holds and comforts a dog that was rescued by the Sag Harbor Fire Department Dive Team after it had fallen through the ice off of Bayview Court in North Haven on Saturday.

By Michael Heller

Members of the Sag Harbor Fire Department Dive Team braved cold temperatures last weekend to save a two-year-old golden retriever that was struggling in the icy water of Noyac Bay off North Haven.

On Saturday, the dive team was called to Bayview Court after receiving a report that a dog had fallen through the ice. First responders found the retriever with only his head above water roughly 50 yards offshore, barking and crying as he struggled to stay afloat.

A boat was dispatched into the bay with dive team members Alex Smith and Scott Fordham aboard, with dive team member Rich Simmons swimming ahead, breaking the ice by hand so that the boat could proceed.

Mr. Simmons soon reached the canine. After loading him into the boat, the team brought him to shore and into the waiting arms of Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps personnel, who warmed the dog before turning him over to the Southampton Town Animal Control office.

The dog was taken to the East End Veterinary Emergency Center In Riverhead for further treatment.

Attending veterinarian Dr. Gal Vatash reported that the dog, Morgan, was close to death after having been in the frigid water for roughly 45 minutes, and was suffering from petechiae—a low blood platelet count—and hypothermia, with a body temperature below 90 degrees.

“He was definitely looking at the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Dr. Vatash.

After an overnight treatment of plasma and warm fluids, however, Morgan was released to his owners the following afternoon, and “…went home wagging his tail.”

Dr. Vatash credited the members of the Sag Harbor Fire Department and Ambulance Corps with saving the dog’s life, as well as simple good luck: He was spotted out on the ice when a family just happened to come down to the shoreline to take some photos and spied the animal in distress. He also credited the use of a microchip embedded in Morgan’s skin for enabling his office to locate and reunite him with his owner.

Dr. Vatash said he would encourage all pet owners to microchip their animals as a protective measure.

Updated: Queens Man Drowns at Trout Pond in Noyac

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Last Friday, as Sag Harbor Fire Department Chief Pete Garypie drove down Noyac Road he noticed about 50 swimmers cooling off in Trout Pond.

“I thought to myself, it is just a matter of time before we are going to get a call,” said Chief Garypie.

The next day, at 5:11 p.m. the Sag Harbor Fire Department, its dive team, the Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps. and the Southampton
Bay Constable were directed to Trout Pond by Southampton Town Police responding to reports of a possible drowning.

According to Chief Garypie, he quickly requested the presence of the East Hampton and North Sea dive teams in an effort to have all hands
on deck for what he hoped would be a rescue, but ultimately was a recovery.

According to Southampton Town Police, Tyreef Benston, 26, of Queens drowned at Trout Pond Saturday evening. Benston’s body was ultimately
located by the Sag Harbor Fire Department Dive Team, said Chief Garypie.

Trout Pond, located on Noyac Road, is a popular swimming spot, although a handful of people have drowned there in the last decade. There are no lifeguards stationed at Trout Pond and the area is heavily signed with warnings to that affect.

When Chief Garypie and the department responded to the scene he said there were about 15 people at Trout Pond, not all of them part of the
group swimming with Benston. Several people at the scene had attempted rescue Benston, said Chief Garypie. According to Chief Garypie it was through information provided by one female that led the dive team to Benston’s body, which was submerged in 11 feet of water. He was discovered around 6:07 p.m. and Chief Garypie said there were conflicting reports about how long Benston had struggled in the water before police were called.

Chief Garypie can recall three people drowning at Trout Pond since 2007 and said the combination of people unaccustomed to fresh water
swimming and the conditions of Trout Pond make it a dangerous place to cool off, particularly for those who are not strong swimmers.

“People do not realize fresh water is not as easy to swim in as salt water,” said Chief Garypie. “It is an unprotected pond and the depth
goes from very shallow to very deep rapidly off the side. It is also has a soft, muddy, weedy bottom and it is very hard to get good
footing even when you can reach the bottom.”

“In my opinion, no one should be swimming there, experienced or not,” continued Chief Garypie.

Photography by Michael Heller

Truck 714 – Where Are You?

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Jonathan Bezrutczyk was returning to his office at 3 Park Avenue in Manhattan late last Tuesday afternoon when he says he watched as a fire truck pulled up to a stoplight and proceeded to blast its horn as pedestrians crossed in front of the vehicle. Apparently laughing, according to Bezrutczyk, the driver continued down 34th Street and approached a bus stop full of people, again blasting the truck’s horn.

Upset by what he witnessed, Bezrutczyk fired off a letter about the driver, who he believed showed no regard for public safety, to the fire department whose name was painted in gold on the side of the truck — the Sag Harbor Fire Department.

Except the driver was not a member of the Sag Harbor Fire Department and the truck was technically not a part of the department’s fleet. Rather, it was a new fire truck being delivered to a Jericho, Long Island dealership where fire department officials hoped to pick it up some time next week.

For the chief of a department over 200 years old, and one that has prided itself on its decorum, despite the fact the Sag Harbor Fire Department had nothing to do with the situation Chief Pete Garypie took the situation very seriously. In the last week the department received a personal apology from the President of Apparatus Movers — the firm hired to bring the fire truck to Long Island by Spartan Motors.

In that letter, Apparatus Movers President Mark Johannsen apologized for the incident, but also said what occurred was an innocent mistake — a statement backed up by Russell Chick, the director of communications for Spartan Motors.

According to Chick, the driver said he was stretching when he accidentally hit the horn pedal, which is located at a driver’s feet in a fire truck. The driver denies a second blasting, and according to Chick has profusely apologized for the incident and the fact that it has garnered so much attention.

“Nothing malicious was involved based on our investigation,” said Chick, adding Apparatus Movers has delivered fire trucks throughout the nation without incident. “We are all about safety. We build trucks to protect both firefighters and citizens so this would be counter to everything we believe and do. We cannot imagine any scenario where something like this would have been done in a malicious way.”

Chick stressed that both the Sag Harbor Fire Department and Hendrickson Truck Center in Jericho — which was given the contact by the fire department for the truck — did not have any involvement with the delivery of the truck.

Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride, a member of the fire department and former chief, said he practically sprinted to the fire department last week after learning about the situation, relieved to see truck 714 — about to be retired to an upstate fire department — sitting in its bay. It was only then he learned that its replacement was en route to Long Island and could have been the truck in question in Manhattan.

“Obviously, this is not something we are happy about,” he said.

Despite conflicting reports and the lack of his department’s involvement, Chief Garypie said the situation was “unacceptable” and apologized for anyone who felt aggrieved by the alleged incident.

“We are professionals and no one should take this as a reflection about how we operate,” he said. “Our reputation speaks for itself, but we are in contact with the manufacturer and the dealership to make sure this is dealt with.”


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.

Piece of History

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web 2 WTC Steel at SHFD_0009

by Michael Heller

On Wednesday, November 16, Sag Harbor received a special piece of American history when a small section of steel from the World Trade Center was brought to its new home at the Sag Harbor Fire Department headquarters building on Brick Kiln Road. The triangular-shaped artifact, which measures roughly 30 inches by 12 inches by 8 inches and weighs approximately 140 pounds, was transported from New York City by the fire department’s aerial ladder truck. Similar shards of steel from the Trade Center have already been delivered to communities across the country where they have been incorporated into memorials commemorating the 9/11 attacks.

The arrival of the steel here marks the culmination of a year-long project by writer and photographer Barbara Lang, Soldier Ride organizer Reggie Cornelia and JoAnn Lyles, mother of fallen Marine Jordan Haerter. Lang, who has extensively documented the World Trade Center disaster, knew Cornelia from being involved in the Soldier Ride project. Together, Lang and Cornelia approached Lyles and told her about their idea to bring a piece of the towers to Sag Harbor, suggesting that it would be a good thing for the Sag Harbor Fire Department and the community in general.

During the ensuing year Lyles filled out and submitted and sifted through “mountains of paperwork and red tape” as part of the application process. During that time, Sag Harbor’s Doris Gronlund, mother of Linda Gronlund who perished on United Airlines Flight 93 on 9/11, donated an American flag to the fire department that bears the names of all who were killed on that day. As the project gained momentum, the Sag Harbor Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary then joined the effort by presenting a plan to build a September 11th memorial garden within which to display the steel.

With the application approved, the aerial ladder truck, accompanied by Doris Gronlund and Sag Harbor Fire Department Chiefs Pete Garypie and John Anderson, was driven to Kennedy Airport to pick up the artifact early on Wednesday morning, arriving back in Sag Harbor at roughly 10:30 a.m., where a small installation ceremony took place.

According to Chief Garypie, the plans for the memorial garden have not been finalized, although he said that at this time, the thinking is that it will be located next to the firehouse near the corner of Columbia Street and Brick Kiln Road, and will be paved with bricks that can be purchased by the public in memory of deceased firefighters. The steel will remain on display in the main hallway at the fire department until the completion of the garden, which he hopes will be sometime in the spring.

9-11 Five K Draws Sag Squad

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Members of the Sag Harbor Fire Department who participated in the Tunnel to Towers Run Saturday.

Members of the Sag Harbor Fire Department who participated in the Tunnel to Towers Run Saturday.



By Andrew Rudansky


Running out of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, onto the streets of Manhattan, the 23 members of the Sag Harbor Volunteer Fire Department were greeted by rows of American flags and banners. Cheering onlookers urged them on to finish the last leg of the race.

The Sag Harbor firefighters were just a small part of the 30,000 participants that took part in the 10th Anniversary Firefighter Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5K Run last Sunday, September 25.

The run retraced the steps of firefighter Steven Siller; who on the morning of September 11, 2001 ran in full gear from the tunnel to the site of the World Trade Center. Siller along with 342 other firefighters perished in the disaster.

“It was all pretty amazing when you first come out of the tunnel and see these lines of firefighters holding flags and banners commemorating the 343 firefighters who perished,” said Sag Harbor firefighter Jeff Martin. “As you are getting a little tired, a little winded, you get a real emotional boost from all of the faces of the people on those banners.”

After taking part in the event alone last year Martin, with the help of Kelly Bailey and Tom Gardella, was determined to share the experience with their fellow firefighters.

“One of the coolest things about this event is how many people come out every year…every year it has gotten bigger and bigger,” said Bailey, who ran for the first time this year.

The race starts in Brooklyn, goes through the tunnel into Manhattan and ends near the site of the new Freedom Tower. Besides the 23 Sag Harbor firefighters who ran in the event, five Sag Harbor firefighters participated as members of the color guard.

Ted Stafford, Warren Bramoff, Ray Card, Paul Bailey and John Meighan all lined the path of the Manhattan leg of the race dressed in their Class A uniforms. Some were holding American flags, others were holding banners with the names and pictures of the “343” that perished on 9/11.

“At the finish line, when I saw all of the color guard carrying the banners of those who perished. The enormity of the loss, that’s when it hit me,” said Francis Schiavoni, 53, the oldest Sag Harbor firefighter to run.

“It was emotional what those people did that day, and what the people did ten years later to commemorate it,” said Meighan. “Especially at the end when the color guard paraded to the finish line, it was all tremendous.”

The event raised money for a number of different charitable organizations that help wounded veterans, burn victims and the children of deceased armed forces members.

“The thing I took away from it, with all the bickering and politics in this country, it was us. It was us who got together and tried to make a difference,” said Gardella.

The Sag Harbor firefighters plan on going again next year, hopefully with even more members participating.

“The run is very inspiring, if there is ever anything you think that we can’t do, just go there and you’ll see,” said Bailey.