Glen Street in Glen Cove was ablaze on Tuesday night as a fire raged through 99 and 103 Glen Street, bringing mutual aid from fire and EMS departments ranging from neighboring Glenwood Landing and Locust Valley to Jericho and Port Washington.
The fire on Glen Street sent massive flames and billowing smoke through the area. Photo by Rick Smith.
According to Glen Cove Fire Chief Dave Spy who, despite working for five hours at the blaze and being taken at one point to Glen Cove Hospital, returned this reporter's call first thing Wednesday morning before heading off to work, a call came in to the fire station from the Glen Cove police reporting the fire at about 6:15 p.m. "The police arrived on the scene first," said the chief, "and told our dispatcher to 'send everybody.'" And everybody came.
Chief Spy called the fire "fully involved" in the two buildings, separated by a narrow alley. He called conditions "extreme" and said firefighters became overheated very quickly and were continually being relieved. In addition to fighting flames and smoke, he said, the sprinkler system in one of the buildings went off, so firefighters were barraged by water, which caused them more trouble without reducing the blaze.
The alley presented a logistic nightmare, but, said Chief Spy, Sea Cliff's firefighters were able to maneuver their ladder truck into the alley, which greatly facilitated the work.
The Mineola Fire Department was on the scene with its cascade system, which the chief described as a portable air system that allowed the firefighters to refill their air bottles on site, as opposed to the traditional method which necessitates firefighters returning to the station to refill. This, too, said the chief, made for more efficient performance.
The chief also acknowledged the work of the roof team, which cut a trench in the top of the building next to the Subaru Dealership which served to push the fire back to its source, and not extend to another structure, which in this case housed cars, which house gasoline.
The staff at Avalon North, directly across the street from the fire, offered their garage for EMS to set up its rehab unit and were on hand to help in any way they could, said the chief.
Keyspan had to cut the gas lines, and LIPA workers had difficulty getting to the electric lines in one of the buildings, which is why they shut down an entire grid, the chief explained, leaving a large portion of the area without electricity until the firefighters could make access for them to the electric source in the building.
Chief Spy said he has heard different accounts of the number of firefighters taken to the hospital, but feels that "about a dozen" is correct. Many more were treated at the scene. Most suffered from smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion and all who were hospitalized were treated and released. "They took me to the hospital, and when the mayor and his wife came over, they couldn't find me," he said. "I was already back at the fire, heading inside again."
Speaking for the Glen Cove Fire Department, Chief Spy said he would like to thank all their comrades for their immeasurable assistance in fighting the fire, keeping the men strong, caring for the injured and for being part of an amazing team. Long Island's Bravest, indeed.